Using Sibelius’s advanced scale settings to adjust text size


In Sibelius there are a great deal of options in choosing the fonts used in your scores, thanks especially to the text improvements first introduced in Sibelius 7.

Not all fonts are created equally, though. Depending on which font you use, you may have to make adjustments to your house style to achieve the optimal appearance you desire. In this post we’ll learn how to change the size of expressive text in Sibelius without affecting the size of music text used for dynamics.

A favorite text font for me is Century Schoolbook, shown here in partnership with the Norfolk music font:

Century Schoolbook holds up well at smaller staff sizes, and, to my eye, is sized properly at Sibelius’s default sizes of 12 pt. for the score and 11 pt. for the parts, relative to a 7mm staff (see this blog post about the relationship of text sizes to the default staff size in Sibelius and Finale).

Coincidentally (or perhaps not), a very similar pairing is used by default in Dorico, where the open source Academico text font created by Daniel Spreadbury at Steinberg is a re-creation of Century Schoolbook, and of course the music font used is Dorico’s own Bravura, of which Norfolk is the Sibelius derivative.

Of course, as an engraver, sometimes you have freedom of choice, and sometimes a publisher’s or client’s house style will require the use of other fonts. Recently, I was in the latter situation, where a publisher required the use of the Adobe Caslon font.

I swapped in Adobe Caslon for Century Schoolbook, at the same size:

Caslon is indeed a fine-looking font. In fact, it’s almost too fine, with a more delicate appearance that doesn’t quite hold up to the more robust Bravura at their respective default sizes.

No problem, you think — just increase the point size a bit. So I tried that, in Text > Styles > Edit Text Styles by bumping up the Technique and Expression styles Size in score each about 13% to 13.5 pt. for the score and 12.5 pt. for the parts:

I was happier with the size of the text, but now the dynamics seemed too large, both relative to the music and to the expression text. In Sibelius, changing the point size of the Expression text controls both the size of the text font and the music font used for dynamics (in this case, Norfolk Text).

How, then, to enlarge the expressive text without increasing the size of the dynamics?

The answer was found in the Advanced Formats area of the Text Style dialog. I changed both Horizontal scale and Vertical scale to 113%. I then changed the Size in score back to the original 12 pt. for score and 11 pt. for parts.

Because the Horizontal scale and Vertical scale settings do not affect music text, this gave me the result I had hoped for — increasing the size of the expressive text while keeping the size of the dynamic text the same:

Did you find this useful? Do you have ways of using Sibelius’s advanced text settings to achieve a particular result? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Bob Zawalich

    Thanks for the great tip, Philip.

    How did you know that the scale factors would not affect music text? It is a useful thing to know, but I don’t remember ever encountering this fact. Is it documented?

    I see from poking around that you can adjust scaling factors on individual Text objects in the Inspector, if it happens that you only want to mess with some of the text.

    Your solution is cleaner than what I usually do, which would be to clone the Expression text style and use it for expressions but not music text. That is probably the only good way to accomplish this effect prior to Sib 7.

    Fun stuff!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Bob. Trial and error! I figured I would document it before I forgot what I did :-)

  2. Jeremy Hughes


    I was just the other day messing with this area for a client who wants a specific sans serif font for Expression and Technique text. It (the sans serif font) has a very large x-height and so looks too big next to the music text font at the same point size.

    I discovered that one can set the ‘Music text’ Character Style – which governs the appearance of the fmpsz dynamic glyphs in Expression text – to be a different point size from the Expression Text Style itself, and the two co-exist quite happily together.

    So for my case, I set Expression and Technique text styles to be a little smaller. and edited the Music text Character Style, ticking the boxes for Size in score and Size in part, and then setting the font size so it would be that little bit larger than the new point size in use for Expression.

    This has, I think, the same outcome as your method: once set, everything works without any further tweaking being necessary. I think it would be slightly quicker to implement your method, but both are quick enough to do.

    1. Philip Rothman

      That’s a great tip, Jeremy – thank you!

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