In Sibelius, you can import and use graphics directly in your score, a feature first introduced in Sibelius 7. These graphics can be placed anywhere in the music as benign objects, for which the color, rotation, size and even drawing order can be adjusted from right within Sibelius. This alone is terrific, but you can even make a graphic more powerful by importing it into your score as a symbol, and then making that symbol into an articulation, with all the benefits that entails, such as mass placement, automatic positioning, definition in playback, and more.
First, I encourage you to read this excellent blog post by our colleague Robert Puff to get acquainted with these features, especially the section “Using graphics and symbols.” I also recommend Daniel Spreadbury’s video tutorial on creating composite symbols (which was available in Sibelius 6 as well).
Now that you’re an expert from reading Robert’s blog and watching Daniel’s video, you can take these ideas even further and make your new custom symbol into an articulation.
There are three unused spaces on the fourth Keypad layout:
Articulations will stack in order from left to right as shown in the symbols dialog: staccato at the bottom, the pauses at the top. So you should consider where you want your new articulation to be relative to staccatos, bowings, pauses etc., and choose the location (1, 2 or 3) accordingly.
To get here, access the Edit Symbols dialog by clicking dialog launcher button in the Notations > Symbols group on the Ribbon.
Then, scroll to the Articulations rows and click in the “above” space for Custom Articulation 1 (it will highlight in light blue, as above).
Click Edit… to bring up this dialog:
From here, you can either import a new graphic symbol as Robert has described, or, if you wish to use an existing symbol (whether it is one already included in Sibelius, or one that you have created using a graphic or the composite method), click Add…
From there, you can choose any existing symbol in the document, including ones you have created yourself. Click OK and then set its default position using the arrows. Click OK again. You will also want to create a corresponding “below” articulation, though in most cases these are actually the same symbol instead of inverted versions.
Finally, define automatic positioning parameters for your new articulation by going to Appearance > Engraving Rules and clicking Articulation on the left-hand menu. You will notice that your new articulation actually appears in the Engraving Rules dialog (although the Keypad does not update).
You can even define playback properties for your custom articulations by going to Play > Dictionary and clicking the Articulations tab. You will see options for your Custom Articulations 1, 2 and 3 in the left-hand menu.