Making 2-up PDFs in Sibelius 7


One of the nice features in Sibelius releases prior to Sibelius 7 was the ability to not only print “2-ups” (2 images per sheet, side by side), but to make PDFs of them directly from the Sibelius Print dialog. By selecting this in Sibelius 6:

Sib 6 print

the result was a PDF that looked like this:

Chanson-C minor

In Sibelius 7, one can still print 2-ups using Backstage (File > Print > Settings, and from the drop-down that says “Normal” select instead “2 Pages Per Sheet”):


Sib 7 print

However, to make PDFs in this way, one is stymied. It’s not possible using the OS dialog (at least on Mac; maybe PC users can comment further).

In order to make 2-up PDFs, then, my method has been to export PDFs from Sibelius (File > Export > PDF) and then impose the 2-up PDFs using third-party software. There are several expensive software programs that can do this, but my favorite for Mac OS X is a freeware app called Create Booklet.

Once you install Create Booklet, it will appear as an option whenever you have the ability to Save as PDF, which is useful:


But that doesn’t quite yet help us with our Sibelius problem, because the default Create Booklet setting on a 2-page part will give you a “booklet” instead of a 2-up document.

The key is to use Create Booklet’s support for Automator actions. Yes, Automator — the little-known but very powerful tool built into OS X. Launch Automator (it’s in your Applications folder) and go to Workflow > Actions > Library > PDFs. If you’ve installed Create Booklet, you will see PDF Booklet as one of the options. Select “add empty first page” and then drag into Automator (before the PDF Booklet Action) all of the files which you wish to make into 2-ups.

Here’s my workflow to create one combined PDF of 2-ups from four 2-page, single-sided PDFs (string quartet parts)

  1. Drag the single-sided PDFs into Automator (this will create an action called Get Specified Finder Items)
  2. Choose the PDF Booklet Action, and select “add empty first page”
  3. Choose the Extract Odd & Even Pages Action, and select “Extract Only even pages”
  4. Choose the Combine PDF Pages Action, and select “Combine documents by Appending pages”
  5. Run
  6. Choose “Results” and drag the temp file into Preview (in case Preview doesn’t automatically open it)
  7. Save the newly appended 2-up file

2up workflowBest of all, you can save this Automator workflow, and any others like it, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of re-creating these steps every time. Just save your workflow without the first part (Get Specified Finder Items) because you likely won’t be working on the same files every time.

It would be nice if Sibelius 7 supported 2-up PDFs natively like in previous versions. Until (or unless) this functionality is restored, Create Booklet + Automator = nice 2-up PDFs, at least on Mac.

Please comment if you have other ideas, especially if you’re on a PC, since this tutorial is very Mac-specific.


  1. James Gilbert

    As far as I can see, Windows does not offer (nor ever has offered) a ‘print to pdf’ option *unless* you have installed a 3rd party program that has a pdf print driver (like Foxit, ghostview or Adobe Acrobat).

    I think it depends on your printer driver in windows, but I am able to print 2-up pages from an exported PDF file from within the program’s printer dialog box. (I tried it with Foxit and Acrobat). I do end up with too much white space above & below the music for my taste

  2. Wheat Williams

    The correct technical term in the printing industry for making a 2-up or a “booklet” is called “imposition”.

    I recommend the Mac utility Cheap Impostor, which costs US $35. It has a trial version, but not all features are enabled in the trial.

    With Cheap Impostor, I can not only print what I want at home on my inkjet printer; I can also generate new imposed PDF files that I can have printed by a professional print shop. It works perfectly.

    There are professional, printing-industry programs for imposing PDFs that cost many hundreds of dollars; Cheap Impostor does the basics for much less money.

  3. Wheat Williams

    The problem is that Sibelius 6.x and earlier relied on Mac OS X’s built-in features for creating PDFs at the operating system level. Sibelius 7, on the other hand, bypasses Mac OS X’s PDF services and substitutes its own features which are identical to the Windows version of Sibelius 7. The PDF features in Sibelius 7 are very limited, meaning that Sibelius 7 for Mac was a huge step backwards in terms of making PDFs.

  4. Wolfgang S.

    Hi Philip,
    “It’s not possible using the OS dialog – at least on Mac” – sorry, but that’s not correct. If you scroll down on the Sibelius 7-print page there is a button “Use OS-Dialog” (I don’t know the exact phrase ’cause I’m using a German version) and from there on the familiar OS X-printer dialog opens where I choose “Layout”, then “2 pages” and finally “Save as PDF”.
    No need for extra software.
    (I’m still on OS 10.6.8)

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Wolfgang,

      Thanks for pointing this out. The reason I didn’t mention this is because it is impossible (in my experience) to control how Mac OS scales the images on the 2-up. I can’t get it to produce the images at 100% – it always reduces them unacceptably. Do you know of a way to get the 2-up images to appear at 100% using this method?

      1. Wolfgang S.

        Just figured out a way:
        Instead of clicking on “Save as PDF” choose “Preview”. Now the OS X Preview app opens where you choose “Print” (cmd-P) and here you can scale the image.
        Afterwards you can “Save as PDF”.
        Hopefully that helps.

        1. Philip Rothman

          By scaling the image, I meant the actual image of the music on the PDF, not the image of the PDF on the screen. I can’t get the pages to appear at 100% of their original size on a 2-up PDF using this method.

  5. Robin Walker

    Under Windows, you would simply print to PDF (rather than Export to PDF), and then you can use Sibelius’s built-in “2 Pages Per Sheet” setting. There are many free print-to-PDF utilities available for Windows.

  6. Wolfgang S.

    Hi Philip,
    yes – with my method you can actually scale the image of the music on the PDF! Try it out.
    I do this all the time when I prepare scores for my lectures to save paper.

  7. Richard Walsh

    What is this thing called “Backstage”?

  8. Johs R.

    Hi Philip,

    I use Wolfgang’s method.
    When you get to the last dialogue, it’s vital that you click “show details” to reveal the scale option.
    The entire sequence is this:

    use OS Dialog
    Pages Attributes>Layout
    Pages per Sheet>2
    PDF>open in PDF preview
    Show details
    PDF>Save as PDF

    The pages appear at 100% initially, so I only have to go through the whole sequence when I need to shrink them.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Johs,

      Thanks for sharing. I can’t get it to work while trying, for example, to make a 2-up on 11×17 (tabloid size) paper from two 8.5×11 (letter size) pages. But I’m glad it works for you and perhaps others will have better luck than me with this method!

  9. andre

    ik heb een laptop acer aspire 7730G
    service pak 2
    geheugen 4 GB
    32 – Bits besturing
    na de C schijf geformateerd te hebben krijg ik Sibelius 5.25 er niet meer op geinstalleerd.
    ik bezit een aangekochte originele versie 479 euro.
    ik heb al van alles geprobeerd en het wil mij niet lukken. het stond er vroeger op. wie kan mij verder helpen?

  10. James DeCaro

    I was searching for a way to do this and found an alternative for Mac. PDFWriter for Mac ( functions as a virtual printer, which allows you to select it in the Sibelius print dialog box and make use of its settings (like 2-Up or Booklet printing). It’s also free.

    Occasionally I’ve had some inconsistent output when printing parts where I have changed the paper size, but I’ve tried it on a number of scores/parts and gotten it to work in the end. Another advantage to this method is that it retains the number of copies of each part, so if I combine all of the created PDFs into one file, I can simply print that one file and obtain a full set of parts.

    1. Philip Rothman

      James: Great find! It looks like it does the trick nicely. I’ll post a follow-up about this next week. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Bob Anello


    This may not be what you are seeking, but I will describe my challenge and how I addressed it in version 7.5.1.

    I need to produce a single, print-ready, secured PDF of all the parts for a large work that my music distributor sends to a customer for a purchase. Some parts have an even number of pages; this is good. Other parts have an odd number of pages; this is not good as the person printing will not be able to print the whole PDF without the first page of the next part on the previous part’s back side of the paper sheet.

    I found the solution in a “Blank page(s)” check box on “Layout-Special Page Break.”

    Open the part with the odd number of pages. Select the “Final bar” notation at the end of the part. Click “Layout-Special Page Break” (on my version, the “Blank page(s)” check box is checked with a “1” in the “Number of blank pages”). Click “OK”. Sibelius adds another page, making an even number of pages for that part. The extra page on that part does not affect the other parts.

    The only downside is that it prints the Title, Instrument Name, and Page Number on the blank page, but I think the conductor and the performers can live with that. (Or I could go with the ever-popular “This Page Intentionally Left Blank”.)

    Another downside, not directly related to this issue, is that when exporting the parts using “File-Export-PDF” and either “All Parts Only (one file)” or “Selection of Parts (one file)” I only get one copy of each part. To include the proper number of part copies in the purchased PDF, I still need to do some back-end work with PDF software, copying a part’s pages and pasting it one or more times to correspond to the number of a single instrument part included in the purchase. It would be beautiful if Sibelius allowed multiple parts in a parts export similar to what they have in the File-Print-Print Parts.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Bob!

    2. Tiago

      Just had the same problem Bob.

      The solution I found to avoid names and numbers on the blank page was to generate a “This page is intentionally left blank” PDF and to manually add then when necessary using PDF Toolbox+.

      I hope someday Sibelius can handle this or maybe someone could write “Add Blank Page to Odd number page parts”.


    Thoughtful post ! Incidentally , if your company needs to rearrange two PDF files , my colleagues saw post here

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