Create a centered group name in Sibelius


groups-rightIn Sibelius it’s technically impossible to center a group name between two staves and also individually name each staff. You can read all about it in the Reference, as well as see various workarounds there that partially address the problem.

But what I’ll show you today is one method not mentioned in the Reference. The idea came to me from composer Dimitris Marinakis. It also comes with its limitations, but depending on your score, you may find it useful.

We’ll assume we want to transform the Flute staves shown here into a group, with two flutes on the top staff and the third flute on the second staff.

First go to the Home > Instruments > Edit Instruments dialog. We’ll be creating a new instrument specifically for grouped instruments. Do this by selecting No instrument (barline shown). Rename it something logical, like No instrument (for instrument groups).

Then click Edit Staff Type… Switch on the Used for Ossias checkbox. This will prevent the time signature from displaying in our special staff. Switch off Initial clef to prevent the clef from showing.

Close out of the dialog boxes and return to your score. Add the new instrument to your score by typing I and then select the newly created instrument. Position it in between the two flutes, in this case.

Adjust the brackets, sub-brackets and barlines by dragging them. You may need to create a new sub-bracket by selecting the staves and choosing Notations > Bracket or Brace > Sub-bracket. Modify the new “instrument” name by double-clicking in the blank space, and then modify the single-staff names. I didn’t show this here, but you’ll want to do this for both the first system and the second system of your score, so that Full and Short names are properly changed.

Finally, drag your staves into place. The major limitations of this method are that you’ll potentially have lots of extra staves in your score, and you’ll have to do a fair amount of dragging. But if the distance between your staves varies a lot from system to system, and you want fine control over where the group name is positioned, this might be the solution for you.


  1. Alberto

    that’s a nice way to organize instrument groups. is it possible to have the right part name then, in the upper left corner of the single parts?
    thank you

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Alberto, yes, this shouldn’t have any effect on how the instrument name appears on the top left of a page in a part. As a side note, you will probably want to go to Parts > Setup > Delete Part to delete any extra parts created by the blank instruments.

      1. Alberto

        Hi Philip, thanks for your fast reply.
        I’ve found out the partname of the instrument staff (obviously?) shows just the number. It has to be changed manually for each part in the information window.
        This sunday afternoon (here in Italy) is good to set up a new orchestral template :)
        Have a nice weekend.

        1. Philip Rothman

          Hi Alberto, yes, that’s right. You may find the Edit Part Instrument Names plug-in useful for changing many part names at once.

  2. Robert

    Hey Phil,

    Thanks for showing this awesome way of naming stave groups in scores. Is it possible to have the staff with the instrument group name be left aligned and then instrument staff numbers be right aligned (so they are against the staff). I think this looks much cleaner. Thanks!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Robert, that would be nice, but unfortunately, I don’t think that’s possible in Sibelius.

  3. Sebastien

    Very useful, except repeat barline dots will be shown floating in the air ;)

  4. Evan

    Hi Phil,

    Nice workaround. How does this work when working with copyists? I’m an orchestrator and looking for a way to do this cleanly while still being clear to copyists when I send my score off to them. I imagine seeing “1, 2” or something as the Flute instrument name could be time-consuming to sort out?


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