Sliding notes in Sibelius


For a couple of years now, Sibelius has had the ability to move notes and rests horizontally, which we call “sliding” notes. This first appeared in Sibelius 8.2 and was refined in 8.3. If you don’t know about this feature, you’ll want to see this 90-second video I made to demonstrate it. It’s one of my eight favorite features introduced since Sibelius 8.

It’s worth remembering the shortcuts here: Command-Alt-Left/Right Arrow (Mac) or Ctrl+Alt+Left/Right Arrow (PC).

You can “slide” a note during note entry, or after-the-fact by making a selection. It even works on a passage selection involving multiple staves. Items such as lyrics or dynamics won’t move by themselves, but they will be included in a move if those items are contained within a passage selection.

The video and a transcript follow. Enjoy!


Hi everyone, it’s Philip from Scoring Notes and NYC Music Services with a quick tip on Sibelius’s sliding notes feature. This is one of my eight favorite features I highlighted in another video, so check that out if you haven’t already.

Here, I want to change the rhythm of the saxes so that they anticipate the chord on third beat by an eighth note and match the vocal line.

First I’ll select the notes, and then use the filter in Home > Filter > Notes and Chords to filter only the notes. You can see that I’ve assigned a custom keyboard shortcut to this – Control-N – which I usually use instead of using the gallery.

With the notes selected, I’ll first press the 3 key on the Keypad to make them eighth notes, and then invoke the sliding notes shortcut: Command-Alt-Left Arrow (Mac) or Ctrl+Alt+Left Arrow (PC) to move the notes back one eighth note.

I’ll add the ties using the Keypad, press R to repeat the notes, and again use the Keypad to change those notes to half notes by pressing 5.

And I’m done!


  1. Lucy Innes

    Thank you for this. I hadn’t noticed this feature, but it looks very useful. Thank you for your clear video and instructions.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Lucy, I’m glad it was helpful!

  2. Guy Smaly

    HI philip!
    thanks a lot for all your tips. i am a Musican and teacher from Israel. using Sibleius for the last 5 years and enjoy a lot.

    ive got a problem with this Tutorial:
    following your tip- i did the same: ctrl+alt+ arrow
    what happend next is that the whole page move\turn-
    to the right the left or on its top. depending the arrows i used…
    can you help me understand what am i do wrong?
    thanks ahead, Guy Smaly

    1. Philip Rothman

      Guy: It’s possible your keyboard shortcuts are defined differently.

      1. Guy Smaly

        how can i changes this specific shortcut?

        1. Philip Rothman

          Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts > Note Input tab > Slide notes or rests right/left

  3. Gregg Moore

    Thanks for the great website Phillip.
    I suppose moving a note rhythmically back and forth can be considered ‘sliding’, although the title initially attracted me because I’ve often wished there was a way to actually ‘slide’ the position of a note within a bar in Sibelius so as to avoid contact with other notes or symbols. Any tips on how to do that?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Gregg: Thanks for reading! That’s best done using the Inspector and changing the X value of the note.

  4. Nick Edelstein

    Hi, user since v.1.0 (really!) and I simply select/highlight the group of notes (as you’re doing), and then either copy & paste onto the correct beat or in some cases Alt + click. I’m curious, why you prefer this method? Thanks in advance!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Nick. Here’s a little more info, in this video, and this blog post.

  5. Peter Kyhn

    Fantastic feature! However it didn’t work on my Windows 10 Asus laptop. Instead the Crtl+Alt+left shortcut rotated my display (from landscape to portrait). What am I missing?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Peter. It’s quite possible you have Graphics Hotkeys that are overriding the Sibelius shortcuts and you may have to disable them. I found this article which may be helpful.

      1. Peter Kyhn

        That did it. Thank you, and thank you for this wonderful site filled with truly helpful tips, tricks, and tutorials!

        1. Philip Rothman


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