Stick to it with sticky tuplets, slurs and lines


Whether you’re a Sibelius veteran or you’re a new user, here are a few tips that are sure to stick around. The concept of “sticky” items was introduced in Sibelius 7 and it works in Sibelius 7.5 as well.

Sticky tuplets

You probably already know the shortcut for creating a tuplet: Command-(the number) on Mac or Ctrl+(the number) on PC. For instance, to create a triplet, enter your first note, type Command (or Ctrl)-3, and continue entering the rest of the tuplet.

You may have noticed that, at the end of the tuplet, you have to repeat the process for a new tuplet: enter the note, enter the tuplet shortcut, and continue inputting the rest of the tuplet.

Or do you?

Try this: Enter the tuplet as described above. Then, with the cursor still active, type the shortcut Option-Shift-K on Mac or Shift+Alt+K on PC. You should see a hovering blue “3”:


Now you can automatically create similar triplets by simply entering the notes without having to re-create the tuplet on each beat:


When you’re through inputting tuplets, just type Option-Shift-K on Mac or Shift+Alt+K on PC again, to turn off the sticky feature.

Sticky slurs and lines

Try entering a note, then typing S to add a slur. Sibelius will add a slur that snaps to the next note, and it will continue to advance the slur to each new note until you enter a rest, or type the shortcut Shift-S to tell Sibelius to stop advancing the slur.

The same thing works for lines. For example, enter a note and then type H to add a crescendo hairpin. Sibelius advances the hairpin to each new note until you enter a rest, or type the shortcut — in this case, Shift-L — to tell Sibelius to stop advancing the hairpin.

Sibelius even keeps track of the order in which you added lines. For fun:

  • Enter a note
  • Type H to input a crescendo hairpin
  • Type L and select the 8va line from the gallery
  • Type L again and select the Pedal line from the gallery
  • Input some more notes; Sibelius will advance all three lines
  • Type Shift-L
  • Input some more notes; Sibelius will stop advancing the most recently added line (the Pedal) but continue advancing the other two lines
  • Type Shift-L
  • Input some more notes; Sibelius will stop advancing the second-most recently added line (the 8va) but continue advancing the hairpin
  • Type Shift-L
  • Sibelius will stop advancing the hairpin

Care to share your own tips or tales of stick-to-itiveness? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Ron Puente


    Thanks, again, for all of your tips.



  2. Derek Williams

    Nice one Philip, thank you! I knew about ‘sticky tuplets’, but I had been unaware you could advance all these other bits and bobs at the same time on progressive note entry.

    Sharing now….

  3. Rex Thomas


    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, everyone. I’m glad you’re enjoying the tips.

  4. Andrei

    Fantastic time-saver…
    Thank you, Mr. Rothman!

  5. Neil Sands

    For me, where sticky tuplets come into their own is if for example you’re trying to put in a passage of triplets which aren’t all the same 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 rhythm all the way through. If that’s what your passage is it’s not actually much hassle to keep pressing ctrl-3, so long as you remember to do it, or to copy loads of triplets in first and then change their pitches.

    But if the rhythms within the triplets are more varied, especially if the first note isn’t a quaver, it’s always been very fiddly to put that tuplet in just once, let alone over and over again. First you have to put the first note in as a quaver, knowing that that’s wrong, then turn the beat into a triplet with ctrl-3, and then go back and change the first note to a crotchet or whatever it is, coming right out of note editing mode in the process, and then arrow forward, go back into note editing mode and carry on. With sticky tuplets at least you now only have to do that once, for the first triplet, and then you can just whack all the subsequent tuplets in, whether they’re textbook 1-2-3 triplets or not, without having to think about it again.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Neil: Well said. Excellent tip!

  6. hotel17

    it’s shift+alt+K on mac. not command

  7. Liam

    Very nice to know about the sticky tuplets, but I’ve actually been finding the sticky slurs feature counterproductive–I use one-note-to-one-note slurs much more often than multi-note slurs, and so I’d rather have the default option, requiring only a single keystroke rather than two and a half, be the non-sticky slur. Is there any way to disable sticky slurs? Thanks!

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