Smarter title pages for parts in Sibelius


A few days ago I described how to set up a title page for parts in Finale that inherits all the information and positioning from the first page of music.

The reasons for why you’d want to do this are explained there, so read the first part of that post if you haven’t already. Now, I’ll show you how to do this in Sibelius.

Create the title page

It is no problem to have a title page in one part, some parts, or all parts in Sibelius, without affecting the score. Simply choose Layout > Document Setup > Title Page.

If you have entered the title and composer into the appropriate fields in File > Score Info, that information will appear in the dialog. More on that in a bit.

For now, be sure Include part name is checked, and click OK.

When you do this, you’ll probably get something that looks like:

We can definitely improve upon this.

Improving the appearance of the information on the title page

The first thing we’ll want to do is replace the composer and title text with wildcards. Wildcards are text tokens that are automatically substituted with text from elsewhere. They’re useful for situations where you want the same information to be shown in lots of different places, allowing you to change that information once and have it updated automatically everywhere else.

For a reminder of what wildcards are and how useful they can be, see this post from 2010 and this one from 2013. (Yes, we’ve got quite a historical treasure trove on this blog!)

An important aside: When Sibelius creates the title and composer text in your score, and also when you create the title page, it doesn’t use wildcards. Instead, it just inserts the actual text. So in order to take advantage of wildcards, we need to actually use them!

Double-click on the title and replace what’s there with \$TITLE\ (case doesn’t matter), and replace the composer with \$COMPOSER\.

Do the same thing for the first page of music, if you haven’t already.

When you exit the text area, things may look the same, but now you’re using wildcards, meaning that if you update the information in File > Info, the names will update automatically in both places.

Good! Now that we’ve done that, let’s work on our style and positioning.

The trick is to take advantage of Sibelius’s powerful hierarchical text style feature, introduced in Sibelius 7. That allows any text style to be the “parent” or “child” of another style.

In this case we want the text on the blank page to be the children of their respective styles in the music.

First, on the first page of music (not the title page), click on the title and go to Text > Styles > Edit Text Styles. The Title style will be selected for you. Click Edit… to bring up the settings for this style.

In the Vertical Posn tab, select Snap to top or bottom of page and choose a reasonable distance from the top margin.

Click OK and repeat the above step for the Composer text style.

Next, on the title page, click on the title and go to Text > Styles > Edit Text Styles. The Title (on blank page) style will be selected for you. Click Edit… to bring up the settings for this style.

In the Font tab, for Based on:, select Title in the drop-down menu. That’s not enough, however. We want to uncheck all of the boxes on this tab, as well as all of the boxes on all of the other tabs — especially the Horizontal Posn and Vertical Posn tabs. You’ll see all of these values become greyed-out; this means that they are no longer manually editable here, because they are inherited from the parent style.

This will ensure that the text on the title page appears exactly like the text on the first page of music.

Do the same for the composer text — Composer (on blank page) style — and, voila:

Optionally, using the Plain text (centered, on blank page) text style, you can then add a text block that says “Blank page” or, if you like, an arrow, to indicate that the page should be turned:

Now that you’ve learned how to do this, will it change your workflow? Do you have other ways of managing title pages and related elements? Let us know in the comments.

Updated 4:23 pm with an additional step to set the vertical positioning of the parent text styles to Snap to top or bottom of page.


  1. Tiago

    Thanks for one more helpful post Philip,

    How did you get the giant arrow to the blank page ?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Tiago: I used the Plain text (centered, on blank page) text style and modified it to be 230 pt. Then I used the Unicode arrow: ↗

      1. Tiago


  2. Tom Rudolph

    Thanks for this informative post, Phil. I frequently use your blog posts with my students and for my own work.

    One thing that I do when creating a title page is use the Instrument List plug-in and then copy the instrument list to Title page text.

    Is this the best way to do this?

    Thanks for your reply.


    1. Philip Rothman

      Tom: As usual, Bob has the answers!

  3. Bob Zawalich

    (for Tom)
    You could just add a piece of plain centers blank page text to the title page and use the \$instrumentchanges\ wildcard for a simple instrument list.
    If you want to use the plugin and are using the current version of the Instrument List plugin (version 01.10.00), it has a checkbox that will put the instrument list directly onto a title page.

  4. Tom Rudolph

    Thanks, Bob.

  5. bob zawalich

    re: instrument list. One advantage of the \$instrumentchanges\ wildcard is that the text will be updated if you add more instruments. If you use the plugin you would need to rerun it to update the text. On the other hand, the wildcard does not include instrument changes within an instrument, but the plugin can do that (though again you would need to rerun it to pick up the changes).

    Nohing is ever as easy as you hope it would be…

  6. Sina

    Dear Philip,

    First of all thanks for your amazing website. I have a question about how to have beats and measures attached to the movie while i am watching it and conducting the music. Maybe by dragging the giant beats and bars screen on a movie, but it will not be attached to the movie for another recording session. Is there any special software to do that like Auricle since i can not afford buying it.
    Thanks a lot

  7. Oleg

    “set up a title page for parts in Finale page” doesn’t exist anymore.

  8. Ryan

    Good article!

    I’ve always wondered whether there was a way in Sibelius (either natively or with a plugin) to bulk-insert title pages for a selection of parts. That, and the ability to either edit the default creation layout for title pages… or at least edit a selection of existing title pages to conform to a specific format.

    I’m not so good with ManuScript, but if the real plugin wizards have a way to make this happen, that would be awesome!

  9. Diego Soldi

    Excellent article! Thanks for the information.

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