Open Office, music & pdfs

When writing a short piece on this piece of free, open source software, I hadn’t realised one of its main uses for those in music education – converting musical notation into pdf (portable document format) files. Most music teachers create scores/parts using Sibelius software. However, if you post these files on a blog for example, only those who have Sibelius will be able to open them. Most pupils do not have Sibelius. If you download Open Office, the following procedure will enable you to convert .sib files into .pdf which anyone can open as Adobe Acrobat Reader (the default opener of pdf files) is also a free download. As a note of caution, be prepared for heightened organisational skills – as each page will be exported as a separate file. A quartet where each player has two pages will result in eight files – some renaming may be necessary where many file are to be posted side by side e.g. Jingle Bells – Guitar 2 – page 2.

The method:

  1. Open each Sibelius part individually
  2. In Sibelius, go to File/Export/Graphics and choose Microsoft Word [TIFF]
  3. This will create a new folder with the same name as the part
  4. Open each individual page in Open Office
  5. Click the PDF icon on the tool bar – or- Go to File/Export as PDF
  6. At this point, you may wish to consider names as the pdf files are the ones you are most likely to post
  7. When the operation is complete and files successfully uploaded, I’d be tempted to delete the TIFF files to save disc space, as they were really only part of the journey
  8. Throughout the entire operation, try to keep an eye on where things are being saved as Sibelius and Open Office default to saving in their own choice of location unless otherwise prompted. My own preference is to save everything to the Desktop. Differences in icons will prevent confusion between files. At the end, I either delete or relocate all files to prevent slowing down the system.

One final thought – why would you want to engage in this time-consuming activity? If you run a school ensemble and have already posted play-along midi files to facilitate meaningful home practice, then these final steps will allow interested pupils to try out other parts. In all probability no parts will be printed which are not going to be used. Skills can be extended and environmental footprints reduced.

2 thoughts on “Open Office, music & pdfs”

  1. I just came across your blog and thought I’d suggest StarPlay to you since you work in Sibelius. StarPlay allows you to import your own Sibelius files to play along to and using a microphone, StarPlay will give immediate feedback on your performance. It’s free to download from – also, with StarPlay, you only pay for pre-recorded music. The software is free!

  2. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for getting in touch. This sounds like an interesting idea. I’ve just looked at the Starplay site in the hope of finding out more about the nature of the feedback. The information super-highway must be experiencing congestion as the demo video was clearly going to take forever to download. Would if be possible for you to give us some idea of  of the format and language of the feedback?

    I note that there are no classical guitar items in the library. Do you plan to include some in the future? Do you mind if I ask where your company is based?

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