Set a shortcut to export PDFs in Sibelius


How often do you access the guitar fretboard in Sibelius?

That’s what I thought. Now, how often do you export PDFs from Sibelius?

More often than you access the fretboard? Yet the fretboard has a default shortcut, and Export PDF doesn’t.

Let’s fix that.

Head over to File > Preferences (or, since we’re all about shortcuts today, Command-comma on Mac or Ctrl+comma on Windows) and head to the Keyboard Shortcuts window. In Tab or category choose the File tab, and in Feature, scroll down until you find Export PDF.

Click Add… and let’s reassign the Fretboard shortcut, Command-Alt-E on Mac or Ctrl+Alt+E on Windows, for Export PDF instead.

You’ll get a warning message:

Click Yes, and click OK to exit the dialog. Now, exporting PDFs from Sibelius will be right at your fingertips.

Of course, there’s nothing very special about setting a shortcut to this feature — you can set custom shortcuts for lots of Sibelius features. But in my particular instance, the number of times I have exported a PDF from Sibelius compared to using the fretboard is literally incalculable, because I’ve not once used the fretboard. Yet it was taking up a precious and easy-to-remember shortcut.

Exporting PDFs is a built-in Sibelius feature. But if you want to take it to the next level, check out Bob Zawalich’s Save and Export plug-in, from which you can not only export a PDF, but optionally export files as earlier Sibelius versions and in MusicXML format, too.

I should say that if you do use the fretboard a lot, but never use some other feature, the same concept applies. No disrespect intended to our fretboard-loving friends! Just choose a different unused or underused feature you wish to replace.

And if you are shortcut-averse, but like the idea of speeding up Sibelius anyway, there’s always our Notation Express profile for Stream Deck and Stream Deck Mobile, which has hundreds of default and custom shortcuts pre-programmed in — although I must admit, I hadn’t thought to add Export PDF to Notation Express until just now. So if you’re a Notation Express user, you won’t find it there — yet. Something to look forward to in a future update!


  1. David Kempers

    That poor, poor fretboard. So lonely. No love. :)

    1. Philip Rothman

      Haha Dave :-D

  2. Tim W

    Is there a way to use the shortcut to invoke the “Save and Export” plugin?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Absolutely. Install the plug-in first, and then find it in File > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts > Plug-ins, and assign the shortcut to it.

  3. Tim W

    Wow! Many thanks for your prompt reply! Much appreciated.

  4. Bob Zawalich

    This is a great thing to teach. You can often repurpose shortcuts that you will never use; there is no moral imperative for keeping them the way Sibelius decided they should be set up.

    I have an issue the Export PDF dialog itself.It is still complicated to do what I usually want to do, which is to save a copy of the score I am working on in PDF format in the same folder. I will have to change the file name to get rid of %p, and then need to scroll to get to the save button. It is great if I want to use the various options, but mostly I don’t.

    I discuss writing your own plugin to do this in the document There are a few more details and illustrations in the document, but this is basically all you need to do:

    Go to File>Plug-ins>Edit Plug-ins and click on New. This will create a plugin file that you can immediately edit. If you edit the method Run(), and replace the contents of that method with the line of code:


    then OK your way out the the plugin editor, you can then assign a shortcut to your new plugin.

    Open a score, hit the shortcut, and boom. There’s your PDF. Worth a shortcut any day. Even ctrl_alt+e…

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