Discover a Sibelius “minus world”


Recently I needed to place a graphic on the bottom of the first page of music in every part of my Sibelius file. I soon discovered that there is no official way of doing this.

Luckily, Jeremy Hughes came to the rescue, as he often does, with an ingenious “hack” solution. He has graciously allowed me to share his discovery, provided that I mention that this is unsupported and undocumented, so use at your own risk!

The full walkthrough is available in this brief video tutorial:


Upon learning of this solution, I couldn’t help but be reminded of discovering the “minus worlds” of Super Mario Bros. many years ago:


A rough transcript of the video follows.

Hi everyone it’s Philip at NYC Music Services, back with another tutorial.

This one’s for Sibelius and it will show you how to place a graphic so that it appears in the same position on the first page of all of the parts and the score. This is actually a bit of a hack and not officially documented or supported, but I have used it several times without incident so far.

This might be useful, say, if you have a logo that you would like to appear on the bottom of your music near the copyright notice, and not have it be affected by the layout of the music at all.

First, I’ll briefly review how to place a graphic in the usual way.

Select where you’d like the graphic to appear, then go to Notations > Graphic, and choose the graphic from your computer.

You can re-size and move it. Notice, though, that the graphic will only be attached to that instrument. If I cycle through different parts, the graphic only appears on the part to which it is attached, and no other part. There is no way in Sibelius to place a graphic as a system item, the way there is for symbols and text. Even if you import the graphic as a symbol, it will behave like a symbol and will ultimately be affected by your layout.

So I’m going to go ahead and delete that graphic. Here’s how to get it to appear on all the parts.

First, create a title page by going to Layout > Title Page. Don’t worry, you can delete the title page later, but we need it for these interim steps. Make sure that there is at least one piece of text on the title page.

Then, without anything selected, place the graphic on the title page, but in the position where you’d like it to appear on the first page of music.

Then, cut the graphic to delete it but so that it is copied to the clipboard.

Now, select any piece of text on the title page, and paste the graphic. Somewhat strangely, the graphic appears not on the title page, but on the first page of music, in the position where it was previously on the title page.

You can go ahead and delete the title page by selecting the icon in the upper left hand corner of the first page of music, and pressing delete on your keyboard.

You’ll notice that the behavior of the graphic is a little strange, and keep in mind that this is a hack, and probably technically a bug, so you might have to experiment a little to get it to work. You can do some normal things like hiding it in the score, or in a particular part, and I’ve noticed that if you re-size the graphic in one part, it does not seem to affect any other part.

Anyway, that’s how to place a graphic in Sibelius so that it appears in the same position on the first page of all of the parts and the score. I want to acknowledge and thank Jeremy Hughes who discovered this unusual hack. Perhaps there are more of them waiting to be discovered!

Thanks for watching.


  1. Bob Zawalich

    Cool, but very weird. It kind of reminds me of a wizard’s incantation. Create a title page! (what????) Insert a graphic (ok) Cut the graphic (huh???) Paste the graphic onto a piece of text (what?????). It appears on a different page as a system object? Wow.

    I would have liked to have been there when Jeremy first figured it out!

  2. Peter Roos

    Excellent … and very funny. ;-)

  3. Wim Hoogewerf

    Dirty, funny, but finally not so efficient! You can simply attach the graphic to a single staff, set to ‘Show in Parts’ and Copy. Next make a System selection of any bar on any page and Paste. Done! (And this is steady, no unexpected behavior.)

    1. Philip Rothman

      Wim, your method creates a copy of the graphic on every staff, and because it is staff-attached, it is affected by the position of the first staff.

      The method I showed creates only one instance of the graphic, and its position on the page is unaffected by the staff, although, as I mentioned, it does take a little effort to get it just the way you want.

      It is perhaps most useful for people needing to place, say, a publisher’s logo on the bottom of the first page of every part.

      1. Wim Hoogewerf

        You’re right. Jeremy’s ‘dirty’ method provides the graphic as a system object.

  4. Jeremy Hughes

    Nice video, Philip.

    (In answer to Bob’s question): it’s quite a few years since I came across this, but I think this was what happened, and it’s not as totally weird as you might think.

    Background: when working in the music (i.e. not on a blank page) if I have copied a staff object, I can select any existing staff object (text, line etc.) and invoke paste: the pasted object is attached to the same position as the selected object.

    [Aside: This is useful for pasting something mid-tuplet, and I was using it in this way to paste messa di voce hairpins ( attached to a single note) to middle notes of triplets.]

    Having got into the habit of selecting a (text) object and pasting, I automatically used the same procedure on the title page, when copying objects from another file (I was working on the latest piece in a series with common title page material).

    The pasted object turned up on the first page of music. I backed out of it, spent a couple of minutes working out what had gone wrong (and how to replicate it) and then filed it under ‘Interesting But Useless’. It remained there until someone was asking about pasting logo graphics in parts.

    When it got moved to ‘Interesting And Occasionally Useful’.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Jeremy, if you have anything else in those files, please feel free to share anytime. You never know when they might come in handy!

  5. Persio

    Brilliant! You saved my day!

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