Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Sibelius 6

New! Got questions about upgrading to Sibelius 6? Click here.

Sibelius 6 Features

Computers & other equipment

Education, site licenses & networks

Upgrades to new versions of Sibelius



What are the new features in Sibelius 6?

Click here for details.

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What kinds of music can I write using Sibelius 6?

Sibelius can write almost all kinds of music, from early music to avant garde, from songs and piano pieces to full orchestral scores, and automatically handles special notations like guitar tab, figured bass, and transposing instruments. Take a look at an overview of Sibelius's advanced features.

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How does Sibelius 6 compare with Finale?

Almost everyone who has used both Sibelius and Finale says they prefer Sibelius - for more details of how they compare, click here.

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What kinds of musician is Sibelius 6 useful for?

Sibelius is used by composers, arrangers, schools, colleges, universities, performers, publishers, copyists, students, teachers and educators, all of whom will find that their work is quicker and easier with Sibelius than doing it by hand or with another program.

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What reviews and awards has Sibelius had?

Sibelius has received accolades from magazines and newspapers all over the world. You can read some excerpts from reviews, and also take a look at the awards Sibelius has won.

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I've already got lots of music in another program (e.g. Finale). Can I transfer it to Sibelius?

Yes. Sibelius can open MusicXML files and MIDI files, as well as files created by PhotoScore, AudioScore, and other versions of Sibelius, including Sibelius First, Sibelius Student and G7. If you have music created in Finale or one of its cut-down variants (e.g. PrintMusic, Allegro, Songwriter or Notepad), you can export a MusicXML file (from Finale 2004 or later) and import that into Sibelius. Most other music software exports either MusicXML or MIDI files, both of which can be imported by Sibelius.

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Can Sibelius 6 do special notations?

Yes - Sibelius can notate all kinds of music, from early music to avant garde scores, as well as special notations like guitar and lute tablature. Click here for an overview of Sibelius's advanced features.

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Can I scan music into Sibelius 6?

Yes - Sibelius includes a free scanning program (PhotoScore Lite) so you can quickly convert printed scores into Sibelius format. This is the musical equivalent of text OCR (optical character recognition). A separate version, PhotoScore Ultimate, is also available, which reads more musical markings than PhotoScore Lite, and has additional advanced features.

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Can I scan handwritten scores into Sibelius?

Yes - with PhotoScore Ultimate 5, the world's first commercial software designed to read handwritten music. This feature is not available in PhotoScore Lite (included free with Sibelius).

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What is Scorch?

Scorch is Sibelius's free web browser plug-in that enables you to view, play, transpose, customize, print and save Sibelius scores from the Internet. It's used by major web sites such as and Click here for more information about Scorch, and to download this great free plug-in.

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What is PhotoScore?

It's a range of programs for scanning printed music, for use with Sibelius and other music software. Click here for details.

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What is the difference between the professional and educational versions of Sibelius 6?

The professional version comes with a comprehensive printed Reference book giving full details of all the features (in the UK only). The text of this book is also available on-screen in both the professional and educational versions. The features of the professional and educational versions are otherwise the same. The educational version is at a discount price and may only be purchased by qualifying teachers, students, schools, colleges and universities.

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What is the difference between Sibelius 6 and Sibelius Student?

Sibelius Student has fewer features, because it is designed for secondary & high school students to use for homework. For more details on the differences, click here.

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What is the difference between Sibelius 6 and Sibelius First?

Sibelius First has fewer features, because it is designed for musicians who don't need all of Sibelius's advanced features. For more details on the differences, click here.

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Will Sibelius 6, PhotoScore and AudioScore work with my computer & other equipment?

Click here for details of the equipment you'll need.

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Are you going to release Sibelius for Linux or other operating systems?

We have no current plans to release Sibelius on any other operating systems.

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What's the difference between the Mac and Windows versions?

The Mac and Windows versions are effectively identical. They have virtually identical features, menus and keyboard shortcuts, use the same file format, and even come on the same DVD-ROM with the same manual in the same box, so you can switch between the two whenever you like.

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I may want to switch Sibelius between Mac and Windows in future. Can I do this?

Yes - the Mac and Windows versions come on the same DVD-ROM, and you can simply install Sibelius on the other platform. Sibelius uses exactly the same file format on Mac and Windows, so no file conversion is involved. Sibelius even automatically substitutes fonts and characters sets for you (using Unicode, so you don't get errors in accented letters).

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Are educational discounts available for Sibelius 6?

Yes, discounts are available for schools, colleges, universities and certain teachers, educators and students (subject to conditions). Click here for details.

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Are Sibelius 6 site licenses available?

Yes, for schools, colleges and universities (subject to conditions). Discounts are available for 5 or more copies of Sibelius, if used on the same geographical site.

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Can I run Sibelius 6 across a network?

Yes, there is a network license version of Sibelius for schools, colleges and universities. Click here for a technical summary.

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On how many machines can I install the network version of Sibelius 6?

You can install Sibelius on as many machines as you like, but you will only be able to run simultaneously as many copies as you have licensed; e.g. if you have a 20-user license, you could install Sibelius on 50 computers, but only 20 computers would be able to run Sibelius at the same time.

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Can I run Sibelius 6 on a network containing a mixture of Macs and PCs?

Yes, provided that all the machines on your network are connected via the TCP/IP and UDP protocols.

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How do I get upgrades?

We contact registered users and announce upgrades on our web site. Users can then contact us to order the upgrade, which we send by mail.

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How do I get to hear about upgrades and other news?

We mail users about major upgrades to the postal address they give us, but we also recommend you provide us with an email address and let us know if you move so that we always have up-to-date contact details.

If you use Sibelius but you're not sure if we have your email address, simply register for the online support pages.

If you use Sibelius 4 or later, the Check For Updates feature (which offers to check for updates every 90 days) will help you keep up to date with new features, plug-ins, add-ons and information.

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How do I keep in touch with other Sibelius users?

The best way is to register for the online support pages, which include a forum (chat page) on which you can discuss Sibelius with other users worldwide.

There is also at least one unofficial Sibelius mailing list, e.g. one hosted by Yahoo! Groups.

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What do you get when you buy Sibelius 6?

Sibelius comes on a DVD-ROM with an easy-to-read Handbook in a pretty box. The professional price version also includes a comprehensive Reference book (in the UK only) giving complete detail on all the advanced features.

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Do I need training to use Sibelius?

No - Sibelius is very intuitive to use, and most users find that they can start writing music straight away. The Handbook introduces new users to all the main features in less than 100 pages.

But Sibelius courses are held from time to time - click here for details.

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How do I get technical support?

In North/Central/South America, UK, Australia, and Japan you are entitled to 30 days' free technical help by email, fax, mail and phone, starting from when you register Sibelius. After your 30 day period has expired, you can still get help via email, fax, mail and the online support pages for free.

In most other countries technical help is provided by your local distributor and the details vary from country to country.

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Can I use Sibelius 6 on more than one computer?

Yes, in these two cases:

(i) you can install a single-user copy of Sibelius on two computers for your own use only;

(ii) Site licenses are available for schools, colleges and universities.

Apart from in these cases, you are not allowed to use Sibelius on more than one computer.

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Is Sibelius 6 copy protected?

Yes - Sibelius is such a popular program that some unscrupulous people would love to make illegal copies of it! We have to copy protect the program so that we can continue to fund developments and improvements. We want to know if you hear of anybody copying Sibelius - email if you can help.

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How is Sibelius 6 copy protected?

When you first buy Sibelius, you register it with us over the Internet. This is quick and easy to do, and you should only need to do it once. If you don't register within 15 days of installing, saving is temporarily disabled, but it is re-enabled as soon as you do register. You can read more about Sibelius's registration system here.

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I've heard that the standard Sibelius is not licensed for commercial Internet use. What counts as commercial use?

If you're an individual using Sibelius to put scores on your web site (even if you sell scores by mail order), or on, we treat it as non-commercial use, so you're OK.

Schools, colleges and universities may also use Sibelius online for coursework. If you're any other kind of organisation, please contact us about commercial use of Sibelius and Scorch.

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Why the name 'Sibelius'?

Popular belief is that it is because the composer Sibelius was a Finn, punning with the name of the program's inventors Jonathan and Ben Finn. However, the Finns reckon this may just be a happy coincidence and perhaps they chose the name because Sibelius is one of their favorite composers. Frankly, they can't really remember the reason.

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Why the name 'Scorch'?

It's partly a pun on the word 'score', and partly evokes Scorch's scorching speed. The name is also in the style of other plug-ins, e.g. Flash and Shockwave.

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This page last updated 19 May 2009.