Text plug-ins for Sibelius: Add Fingering to Notes in Sibelius 7+, and ReInput Text


There are two plug-ins for Sibelius that could help you speed up some tedious text entry tasks. Add Fingering To Notes for Sibelius 7+ is a rewrite of an earlier plug-in to help add fingering numbers to notes more quickly. ReInput Text is a new plug-in that filters text of a specified text style and then lets you replace each piece of text by typing in an edit box, and typing Enter. The plug-in then moves to the next piece of text to edit.

An instructional word about these plug-ins: You must make a selection before running either plug-in. Both of these plug-ins (as well as the original Add Fingering To Notes) will only process notes or text that were present in the selection when the plug-in was run. When the plug-in gets to the last selected object, or backs up to the first object, it will stop and put up a warning. You can go back or forward within the limit of the selection, but not outside of it.

Add Fingering To Notes In Sibelius 7+

First, a bit of history. The plug-in Add Fingering To Notes, when originally written in Sibelius 6, was a great way to enter fingering numbers to notes, especially for guitar notation. There is a nice writeup of the plug-in from Daniel Spreadbury on this blog.

As of Sibelius 7, the ability to type into the plug-in’s keypad was severely hampered. The plug-in uses a hidden list box to capture typed keystrokes, and changes in the implementation of list boxes in Sibelius 7 and later made it impossible for the plugin to separate numbers that were typed quickly. You could still use the mouse as fast as you want, but to use keystrokes you needed to wait about a full second between numbers, or the list box combined and discarded them.

There are not a lot of options available to a plug-in to capture keystrokes. One obvious one is to use an edit box (sometimes called text field, text entry box, or edit control), but edit boxes do not tell a plug-in when their content changes, so that means you typically have to click on a button to tell Sibelius that some text is ready to process.

I have rewritten the dialog of Add Fingering To Notes to use an edit box and a button instead of a keypad/listbox, and created the new downloadable Add Fingering To Notes for Sibelius 7+ plugin. Although it now takes two keystrokes to enter each now number, I have tried to make the numeric entry as efficient as I could. Other than the dialog, the plug-in works the same way it used to.

Here is the original dialog:

And here is the new dialog:

When the plug-in starts, the focus will be in the edit box. You can immediately type a number.

Now hit Enter or click Apply, and the fingering text will be positioned on the note, the next note will be selected, and the focus will return to the edit box, ready for another number.

You will need to get a rhythm for typing number, Enter, [number], Enter…You should be able to use either the keypad or keyboard numbers and Enter/Return key.

You can type the special characters /, , + or =, . (period), and , (comma) to activate the other buttons. Again, either the numeric keypad or the keyboard characters will work.

Reposition is new to this version of the plug-in. When you type and come to where the selection would move off screen, the plugin will move the score enough so that the selection remains visible. Reposition is a more significant movement, equivalent to using Go To Bar, and it gives you a bit more space to work with.

A few things to note:

  • The text style is now available on the main dialog instead of in Options.
  • There is no keypad for clicking on with the mouse. If you want to use that, the shipping plug-in Add Fingering To Notes is still available and it has the keypad.
  • Text sets have been eliminated, since you can now type in anything you want. Again, if you really have a need for that feature, it is still available in the shipping version, but you will need to type slowly or use the mouse to make effective use of it.

The Options dialog is simpler than it was in the old plugin, now mostly Help information:

ReInput Text

This process started when Wim Hoogewerf was describing a way he was entering guitar fingering by positioning the text using the same number, and then going back to replace the previously entered numbers, and was looking for a faster way to replace the text. This seemed to me to be the same basic idea as Re-input Pitches for text rather than notes.

I considered making a plug-in like Add Fingering To Notes, because it could easily move from note to note, but the problems with typing in the keypad would kill that. I then started working on a dialog that would use an edit box and keep the focus in the edit box with the text selected, so that while you would need two keystrokes per number, you would rarely need to do anything else.

This became the plug-in ReInput Text.

It starts by asking you for a text style for the style to replace, and it effectively filters that text in the selection.

You then see a pretty minimalist dialog with the edit box and Apply button plus some navigation buttons. As with Add Fingering To Notes for Sibelius 7+, you will type number, Enter, [number], Enter until all the selected text has been processed. The Help button is there to explain what you need to do.

You may even find it convenient to adjust lyrics using this plug-in, as it avoids the problem of typing over existing lyrics without replacing them.

Add Fingering To Notes for Sibelius 7+ and ReInput Text may be downloaded directly through Sibelius 7 and higher at File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins > Text. Users may also install it manually in Sibelius 6 or higher by visiting the plug-in download page and following the usual manual installation procedure, or by using the Install New Plug-in plug-in.


  1. André

    It doesn’t seem to work as expected, at least not in Sibelius Ultimate. Hitting Enter adds the fingering, but then everything is just stuck on that same note. The next note is not being selected, I get this instead:
    “Add Fingering To Notes For Sibelius 7+: All the selected notes have already been processed. No action will be taken.”

    It also crashed 2 times.

  2. Bob Zawalich

    Both plugins work only on the original selection. Once you advance to the first or last selected note or text object, the plugin will stop and tell you that you have reached the limit. I will try to make that more clear. The dialog title says “add text to selected notes”, but In the original Add Fingering To Text, the plugin left the original notes selected, and that did give a better sense of the limits. I was trying to make it more obvious which note was going to be processed next, but I might make the old model of keeping the selection available at least as an option.

    I never crashed in my testing. If you could send me a reproducible case of when it crashes, I can take a look at it.

    1. André

      Everything works fine now I understand how it works. I didn’t save the crashlog and it didn’t crash anymore after that. Maybe it was because I added too any fingerings to the same note at my first try?

      This is a great plugin, Bob, thanks so much for creating this. Is there a way to avoid the fingerings from being placed inside the staff but still following the ups and downs of the notes? That’s how the publisher I work for wants to have it.


  3. André Van haren

    I didn’t realize I need to make a selection first, makes sense that it’s stuck on the first note I selected. I’ll try it later when I’m at the computer. Thanks!

  4. John Hinchey

    Brilliant Bob! I’m sure as usual a will find a use for this that speeds things up!

  5. Derek Williams

    Ingenious Bob! You just gave me something I didn’t know I needed! Will be using Reinput often.

  6. Bob Zawalich

    To André: the point of the plugin is to position the fingering next to the notes, which is a fairly common style for guitar fingering. If you just create Fingering text (not using the plugin) it will stay out of the staff, based on the default Y position of the text style. It works reasonably well to follow the curve for single notes, but things tend to get jumbly with chords. In the Options page you can turn off Position Text relative to Noteheads to get the same positioning that Create text gives you.

    You can also try the relative to notehead positioning with a fairly large positive vertical offset, which can move the text out of the staff, which still definitely following the shape of the notes. Turning off the Magnetic Layout option can also help.

    But really, it is meant for text beside the notes.

  7. Bob Zawalich

    Also, I have updated Add Fingering To Notes for Sib 7+ so that it keeps the original selection visible while the plugin is running, as the original Add Fingering To Notes plugin did. Hopefully it will make it more obvious that the plugin only applies to the selected notes.

  8. CDV

    with the old plugin I did not have to type enter after each Number input, with the new one I do.
    I don’t see the benefit of using the new plugin. The old one works best

  9. Bob Zawalich

    I also preferred the way the plugin worked in Sibelius 6, but it depended on specific behavior of list boxes. In Sib 7, they changed how list boxes worked and the way the plugin captured keystrokes no longer worked. The only way left i know for a plugin to capture keystrokes is to collect them in an edit box and then use a button to tell the plugin to process the keystrokes. I tried to make the process as easy as I could.

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