How to make plug-ins appear in any ribbon tab in Sibelius 7

A plug, yesterday (courtesy Samuel Livingstone on Flickr)

In this guest post, plug-ins maven Bob Zawalich shares his tips on how to make plug-ins in Sibelius appear on any ribbon tab. Bob has written more than 300 plug-ins for Sibelius, and nearly all of his creations are either included in Sibelius by default or available for download from the Sibelius web site.

In Sibelius 7, plug-ins are distributed among different tabs on the ribbon. Thus, playback-related plug-ins are on the Play tab, text-related plug-ins on the Text tab, and so on. Most downloadable plug-ins install into folders that are on the Home tab, but you can set things up so that a plug-in can reside on any tab, even those (such as Parts) that usually have no plug-in menu. Read on to find out how.

Choosing where plug-ins appear

The simplest way to get a plug-in onto a tab other than Home is to install the plug-in into a folder that is on a different tab. (The one exception to this rule is that you cannot put user plug-ins into the existing Transformations folder. If you put user plug-ins into the Transformations folder they will not show up at all, so be sure to choose a different folder name).

If you have never created any plug-in subfolders, this is the tab assignment for the default folders:

Accidentals – Note Input
Analysis – Review
Batch Processing – Home
Chord Symbols – Text
Composing Tools – Note Input
Notes and rests – Note Input
Other – Home
Playback – Play
Proof-reading – Review
Simplify Notation – Note Input
Text – Text
Transformations – Omit from ribbon
Tuplets – Note Input

(I found this out by going to File > Plug-ins > Edit Plug-ins, and looking at the folders and their Location on ribbon).

If you go to File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins and install, for example, Respell Uncommon Accidentals from the download page Accidentals category, its location is by default in the Accidentals category, which lives on the Note Input tab.

So after you install the plug-in, go to the Note Input tab and in the plug-ins menu you will find Respell Uncommon Accidentals under Accidentals.

What is also very cool is that you can redefine the tab where a plug-in folder resides. If you wanted to put all the plug-ins on a single tab – for example, to emulate the single Plug-ins menu from Sibelius 6 and earlier – you can go to File > Plug-ins > Edit Plug-ins, and for each category, click on the Location on ribbon field, which turns into a drop down list box, and you can change all the locations to be Home. You will then have a huge Home list (but see Finding plug-ins, below).

What is also cool is that you can add plug-ins to a tab that does not even have a plug-ins menu, like Parts. This is a little bit more complicated, but not all that bad.

What you need to do is:

1. Create a new plug-ins folder when you install a plug-in, and install into that folder.
2. Change the location of the new folder to the desired tab.

Say that we wanted to have the Open Selected Parts plug-in appear on the Parts tab. Go to File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins and find and click on Open Selected Parts in the Other category. This plug-in will, by default, install into the Other category; instead, click on the Other checkbox below the Location list, and type in a new folder name. In my example, I called it Parts plug-ins. Click Install, and then Close.

You will find the Parts plug-ins folder and the plug-in on the Home tab Plug-ins gallery, which is where new folders go by default.

Now go to File > Plug-ins > Edit Plug-ins and find Parts plug-ins in the list of folders. Click on the Location in Ribbon entry and change it from Home to Parts. Now if you go to the Parts tab, it will have a Plug-ins menu, and it will include the Parts plug-ins folder and its contents. Is that cool or what?

Finding plug-ins

In a way, it is harder to find where a plug-in is in Sibelius 7 compared to Sibelius 6, because they are not in a single menu any more. There are a few ways to make it easier:

1. If you know the tab the plug-in is in, and there are a lot of plug-in folders on that tab, click on the first entry in the menu and it will give you a list of categories (folders). You can choose the one category you know is home to the plug-in, and it is a smaller list to search.

2. Generally, you can use Find in Ribbon to locate a plug-ins and it is very fast. Type in the name (you may have to keep typing until you have typed in almost the whole name if there are several similarly-named plug-ins), and then hit Enter and you will be led to the menu where the plug-in lives.

3. I tend to use many different plug-ins for a short amount of time. If I will be using one often, I might assign a keyboard shortcut to it (File > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts, then choose from the Plug-ins category). But I mostly use the Run Plug-ins By Name plug-in (install from category Other). I have a keyboard shortcut set up to Run Plug-ins by Name, and when I run it, I get a list of plug-ins sorted by name, and the plug-ins I have most recently invoked with Run Plug-ins by Name are at the top of the list. I find the plug-in I want in the list, then hit OK to run it. That plug-in will be at the top of the list next time, and will be easy to find.

That’s all, folks!


  1. Bill Holab

    I will add to this that my favorite plug-in is one that calls OTHER plug-ins, FIXED SHORTCUTS. I assign a shortcut to this plug-in, ALT + P in my case. When I run it, I get a menu of up to 26 plug-ins (that I can assign), each with a one letter shortcut that I can type to run instantly. So ALT + P, L runs “line between notes” for me. ALT + P, N runs “number bars” and so on. These 1 letter shortcuts are independent of the other 1-letter shortcuts in Sibelius, so it is an ingenious way to create a menu of 26 of your favorite plug-ins and to call them up whenever you need them. This is one of the most useful shortcuts I use in my daily work, and I recommend it to everyone.

  2. Joe Keefe

    Great tip; I will check that out.

  3. Deborah

    Is there any way that I can install all of the available plug-ins for Sibelius 7 without doing it one by one? It’s tedious and my ancient “mouse” hand thumb joints hurt after a short while…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *