Using custom order in Sibelius 6 to create a watermark


The new custom ordering feature in Sibelius 6 allows you to make objects such as text and graphics appear in front of or behind the staves and notes. This is useful for all sorts of purposes – e.g. to bring a graphic containing a special notation that Sibelius can’t do on its own and incorporate it seamlessly into your score – but I’m going to show you how to use this feature in conjunction with Sibelius’s flexible handling of angled text and the ability to colour any object in the score to create a text watermark suitable for printing specimen or sample copies.

For the low-down on the process shown in the video above, read on after the jump.

Here’s the procedure, step by step:

  1. Open the score in which you want the watermark to appear.
  2. Choose House Style > Edit Text Styles and select Plain text, in order to base a new text style upon it.
  3. Click New, and click Yes when asked if you want to base a new text style on Plain text.
  4. In the Staff Text Style dialog, change the Name to something memorable; I used Watermark.
  5. Change the font to something that will look good as a watermark; I chose Arial Black, because it’s nice and bold.
  6. Click OK and Close to return to the score.
  7. Choose Create > Text > Other Staff Text > Watermark (or whatever you called your new text style) and click somewhere near the top of the page: a flashing cursor appears.
  8. Type in your watermark text: I used “Sample.”
  9. Select the text and choose Edit > Magnetic Layout > Off to tell Sibelius that other objects are allowed to collide with this text object.
  10. Choose Edit > Color to set the colour for your watermark: I chose a mid-grey. Click OK, and the text object’s colour is changed.
  11. Return to House Style > Edit Text Styles and choose your new text style from the list, then click Edit.
  12. Set the Angle to (say) 45 degres and click OK, then Close.
  13. Notice that your text is now angled. In order to re-select it, you have to click where it would appear if it weren’t drawn at an angle. This is a bit awkward, but normally if you click on the first letter of the text, it is selected easily enough.
  14. Choose Window > Properties to open the Properties window if it’s not already open, and open the Text panel.
  15. Set the size of your text object to something nice and big: I chose 96pt.
  16. Now drag the text object into the desired position on the page. At the moment, it draws in front of everything.
  17. Expand the General panel of Properties, and set Custom order to 0, which means behind everything. (32 means in front of everything.)

That’s it! You can copy and paste this watermark into other scores as well, to avoid all of the setup work above.

Watch the video in larger resolution over at


  1. Cristiano Moura

    Great tut!
    When I saw this thread on the forum, I just said to myself: “man, this is just an amazing example and it should be in the sibeliusblog!”


  2. Rio


    How could you do this with a graphic?

  3. Jim

    After I have copied and pasted a sibelius graphic from my composition into Word, how can I get back to my original sibelius score to continue working? I can’t unselect it!?

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