JANUARY 1, 2018

What’s New in Sibelius 

whats new in sib 1826

Find product release details for Sibelius notation software from 2018.

Sibelius 2018 (January 2018)

Supercharge your workflows in Sibelius

Marking up your score with slurs, ties and other lines in Sibelius has always been a repetitive task, until now.


It’s now possible to enter any type of staff line across multiple staves. Adding slurs (S) or hairpins (H or Shift+H) to a whole section at a time is now a breeze, saving you multiple steps in the process and valuable time! Sibelius is aware of the music when you add them, so it even starts and ends these lines on the first and last notes under the selection so not to run over and end on rests:


We have also changed the way lines are entered for individual staves when you have a passage selection. Now, the lines will attach themselves to the first and last note under the selection, allowing you to enter phrase markings really quickly:


After entering a line, the selection now changes to select the last handle of the line, allowing you to use Space or Shift+Space to length or shorten it. This allows for quick selection and manipulation of lines that works for all types of staff lines.

Alternatively, Cmd+Click or Ctrl+Click the notes where you’d like to start a line, then add the line to the score. You can then extend this as needed:


Of course, pressing Space or Shift+Space will advance or contract the line for all selected lines. This is incredibly useful for adding hairpins or even phrase marks to multiple instruments. This doesn’t have to be done when inserting the line and can be done at any time.

Adding slurs across multiple voices

Adding slurs to passages of music that span across multiple voices is now also done with only a few steps. In this example, it used to take no fewer than nine steps to complete. With the new Sibelius, it’s just three (select, Shift+Click to expand the selection, S to add all four slurs):


Sibelius is even aware of the rests, so you can quickly add slurs across passages like this one:


Again, this took just three steps—it would have been up to 16 steps before, as adding slurs to voice 2 always had to be done by changing voice on the keypad.

If you have a repeated pattern to add slurs to, using the new feature in conjunction with the Advanced Filter, allows you to add slurs across long passages really easily.



Adding ties between notes in chords that only had a few notes in common has always been cumbersome without a special plug-in. You had to specifically choose the notes each chord had in common and hit Enter on the keypad. Now you simply use a passage selection across both chords and the ties are only added to the notes that appear in each chord. This works with selections that span across several chords, even over systems, with tuplets and so on. Ties continue to toggle too as you press Enter on the keypad. Here’s a simple case:


Adding ties across multiple staves that include triplets is handled nicely too, so here’s a more unusual example:


You can still create dangling ties, as required, by selecting just the note you’d like to let ring and adding the tie:



It’s now possible to select more than one barline and change their type. You can change the type to Double, Dashed, Final, Invisible, Normal, Tick, Short or Between Staves. You can also add in System or Page Breaks to these barlines, making quick layout changes or the creation of educational worksheets a breeze.

This example shows the barlines getting individually selected using Cmd+Click (Mac) Ctrl+Click (Win), then changed to ‘Dashed’ then system breaks being added to them all using the Return key:


This works for all types of barlines, but Repeat barlines are now improved too…

Repeat lines

Adding Start and End Repeats is now simpler than ever. When you have a passage or system selection, adding either an End or Start repeat barline will now add them at either end of the selection. This saves you the step of creating the other repeat barline for every repeat structure you need:


Note Editing

Editing notes in Sibelius has been changed in this version too. Extending the rhythm of a note no longer entirely erases the next note, but erodes just the rhythm you needed. Up until now, you had to manually put the next note back in. This only happens though when extending the length of a note’s duration and will create a rest when shortening a note’s value. This works well with more than one note selected, and even in tuplets or with a passage selection—try it out!


The way Sibelius processes these notes, it allows for note durations to be changed with passage selections, like this:


This, when used in conjunction with moving notes that we introduced in Sibelius 8.1, makes editing notes and whole passages incredibly quick.

For now, this has replaced the old method in which Sibelius would erase the next note when lengthening a note value; however, we’re aware of your muscle memory and have added a new preference that you can toggle on—if you so wish—called “Replace subsequent notes with rests when extending duration”.

Find in Ribbon

Along the same theme of speeding up your workflow, we have made several improvements to the “Find in Ribbon” search box. We’ve refined the layout of the search results to make it easier to see what you’re looking for, as well as made it faster to execute the commands you need. In most cases, you now only need to remember one keyboard shortcut, and you can access everything in the program.

The shortcut for accessing the Find in Ribbon box has been made to happen immediately. Instead of doing Ctrl (on Mac) or Alt (on Win) and then separately pressing 0, you can now type Ctrl+0 or Alt+0 simultaneously. You can now also change this shortcut in Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts to anything you like, so if you’d prefer a single key press, for example “,” then you can set this up.

Searching and executing—these are now one and the same thing. Previously, you had to know about the Shift+Return shortcut to find and then perform the feature you were asking it to do, but only after you waited for an animation to play. We’ve now simplified this and, where possible, the feature is executed immediately—e.g., type Reset Design and press Return (or in fact you only need to type “Re” and press Return as it’s at the top of the search results). When doing this, you’ll find that the design gets reset right away rather than having to wait for the glowing animation to finish.

This works for anything in the Ribbon, allowing you to type “12/4” to create a new 12/4 Time Signature, “Trill” for a trill etc. If you prefer, you can even hide the Ribbon and simply use this as a command pallet for Sibelius.

The layout of the search results is also clearer.




The name of the feature is now in bold, with the location of the feature in the Ribbon below it, followed by the description. To help you memorize your shortcuts, we’ve added this to the right hand side of the results as well.

Other general improvements

  • Grace notes are now accessible once more via the arrow keys.
  • File > Print: The page orientation is now only changed by changes in Document Setup if printing Normal pages. This no longer happens with Spreads, Booklet or 2 Pages Per Sheet and avoids the problems where these would get reset to portrait paper rather than remain landscape, as is correct for these printing arrangements.
  • The space after a Key Signature and Start Repeat barline is now slightly wider and won’t collide with each other.
  • It’s now possible to add a Dashed slur to a grace-note.
  • The “Combine Tied Notes and Rests” plugin is nice and fast when processing music in large scores.


The new Sibelius version number

This is the first release of Sibelius that uses a new common versioning scheme across all of our products. Sibelius, like Media Composer and Pro Tools, has moved towards more regular releases, and before long, the old version number scheme would get out of hand. From now, the version number behind the scenes will reflect when the release was made, for example this release is v2018.1.0.

The 2018 being the year and the .1 being the month. It’ll be .2 for February, and so on. If we need to make two releases in the same month, it’ll be year.month.1 etc.. The product is still called Sibelius, and is not called Sibelius 2018. The version number is simply a reflection of the current version of Sibelius. These days, with current upgrade plans, you simply get the latest version of the product and you’re away. You don’t need to pay much attention to the version number.

For those concerned about versions of files etc., we will address this in a future update to Sibelius. As the major version number of the file isn’t changing in this release (and hasn’t since 8.6), you’ll be able to open any Sibelius file from any previous version.

Sibelius 2018.4 (April 2018) 

A note about the product name

As you will have seen, Sibelius, Media Composer and Pro Tools nomenclature has been aligned so we will have the same three tiers for each product line. To keep things easy, we still use “Sibelius” as a collective term for all three flavors of the desktop application. As you will have read in my previously posts, all notation products we build here at Avid are done with a common code-base, allowing us to build Sibelius | First, Sibelius, Sibelius | Ultimate, the Sibelius Cloud Publishing render engine and the Avid Scorch iOS app all using the same core notation engine.This means that all our notation products will benefit from the improvements, for example the note spacing or the low level optimizations I’ll cover below. So, the improvements are…  

Multi-edit workflows – Text and more

Following on from the award-winning release of Sibelius in January this year, April’s release of Sibelius takes the multi-edit workflows a step further, by introducing the ability to add text to multiple notes or passages at once. Editing multiple pieces of text is simple too. Here’s a preview of what’s now possible:



As with our last release, where we introduced the ability to add ties intelligently across passages of music, we’ve given them more attention in this release too. Direct from user feedback from our social media forums, we’ve added the ability to edit the left hand note of a tie, and all notes to the right move with it:


This saves a nice little amount of time so you no longer have to individually select each note that’s tied, which can be fiddly across complex passages of music. This even works across multiple bars too:


Complete overhaul of note spacing

Note spacing in Sibelius has always been great, but has had a few reliability issues, especially when writing in multiple voices or when adding and deleting objects. More often than not, you have to do Reset Note Spacing, or nudge the spacing with Shift+Alt+arrow keys, or even worse, manually set the position of the notes using the X properties in the Inspector. Now though, the need to do those things will be really really rare.

As you’ll see below, there are huge improvements in the clarity of music in multiple voices. There’s no more ambiguity around which note is dotted, or even what the note values are themselves. Sibelius also automatically spaces the notes like this now so you no longer have to manually move notes individually using the “X” property in the Inspector.


Here are many of the common examples of the cases we’ve been working on. In all cases, you can see an obvious improvement.


In summary

  • Unisons in two voices with different noteheads no longer collide
  • Rhythm dot spacing and placement is improved
  • Dotted minims and semi-breves in voice 1 no longer collide with simultaneous notes in voice 2
  • Leger lines of voices at the same rhythmic position no longer touch
  • Semi-breves in two voices, same pitch, now go side by side and are not super-imposed
  • Crossing voices are now laid out head-to-head, rather than stem-to-stem as they were in previous versions
  • Unison dotted notes of the same value now always share a rhythm dot

All new scores created from now on will use the new note spacing, however all old scores will open up and appear in exactly the same way they did before. This is important as we need to give you the confidence that nothing will change. To turn on the new spacing though, choose Version 3 Voice position rule in Engraving Rules > Notes and Tremolos. If, in your old file, you have manually set the positions of notes using the X property in the Inspector, here are the steps you need to take to reset the spacing and take advantage of the new voice position rules:

  • Go to Engraving Rules > Notes and Tremolos and choose the Version 3 under Voice position rule
  • Select the music you have respaced
  • Go to Appearance > Design and Position and click Reset Position
  • Go to Appearance > Reset Notes and choose Reset Note Spacing

You’ll now see the notes and rhythm dots line up nicely


More subtle improvements to note spacing

When entering notes in multiple voices, Sibelius now helpfully adds or removes space around notes as you enter or edit them. This always makes sure your music is well laid out. Here’s a comparison of the same passage of music written out using the old and new spacing algorithm:


The hope is that this new note spacing intelligence in Sibelius will go unnoticed, as it’ll always do what you expect it to do. What it’s doing in the background is resetting the space for that bar as you enter and edit notes. However, we’ve added a new Preference in Sibelius in case you’d prefer to turn this off. You’ll find it in File > Preferences > Note Input and you can untick “Respace multi-voice passages during note input and editing”. N.B. toggling this on/off doesn’t change the spacing you have in your score. Many of these improvements are pretty subtle, for example rhythm dots are now taken into account when spacing passages of rests. This, of course, happens automatically so you don’t need to manually respace your score. To show you the old vs. new spacing, here’s a comparison – notice the dots on the 16th-note (semi-quaver) rests:


In addition to this, deleting lyrics or guitar frames now automatically respaces the affected music, so you aren’t left with extra space where these objects once were. Here’s a comparison of old vs. new so you can see the affect when deleting lyrics:


There are further improvements to the spacing before a start repeat barline. This is now always correct but was only correct before when preceded by an end repeat barline. This is more noticeable with note stems that line up against the start repeat line.


Sibelius now also takes articulations into account when spacing notes. A small but important detail to enhance Sibelius typesetting finesse, especially in cases where space is very tight.

When you have “semiquaver, quaver-rest, semiquaver” beamed together, the fractional beam of the rest collided with stem of following note. As well as this, the spacing was different depending on the direction of the stems. You’ll now find this is spaced well and nice and consistent:


What else?

There’s more, you ask? This release includes a slew of further improvements to Sibelius that will collectively make a huge difference to the way you use the program. They are:

Drum roll please… it’s now possible to delete the first bar of a score without losing the System text that’s attached to it e.g. part name, title, composer, copyright, tempo etc.. If you need to delete these objects too, you’ll have to actually select them and delete them. You can add bars to the beginning of your score, delete them as your will commands, and you’ll find the System text remains attached to bar 1.

In 2018.1, we introduced a change in the way you can access the Ribbon. In 2018.4, we’ve added a shortcut “,” (comma) to give the Find in Ribbon box focus. This means you can now access any feature in the program by simply hitting one key. Enjoy!

In response to user feedback from our release in January, it’s now also easier to change the types of barlines in a score. Simply make a passage or System selection and when you change the type of barline, it’ll change them all. Of course, Start and End Repeat barlines are exempt from this and continue to be added at the start and end of the selection.



As well as all these improvements, there are smaller fish we fried:


  • In rare cases, typing into Find in Ribbon would crash on Mac. This no longer happens.
  • The space after a cautionary Key Signature change is now not too wide. If you find it is, add a System Break at that point and reset note spacing. This will snap things into line again.
  • Highlights are now displayed and printed correctly once more when they span across multiple systems and pages
  • When selecting a coinciding double barline and rehearsal mark, alt-clicking elsewhere in the score no longer creates a new rehearsal mark and double barline in the wrong place
  • When copying and pasting from one slurred phrase to another, slurs are no longer duplicated
  • On Windows, the Help button (question mark in the right top corner) in the Print Spooler window was unnecessary so has been removed
  • In very rare cases, Sibelius would crash when opening a score with a different playback configuration from the Quick Start
  • Plug-ins > Simplify Notation > Remove Overlapping Notes no longer says its effect cannot be undone
  • Comments containing em dashes (–) now display correctly once more
  • It’s now possible again too to add lines to passages of bars that only contain rests
  • A low level issue in our undo queue that would occasionally cause Sibelius to unexpectedly quit is now resolved


To paraphrase Columbo, just one more thing…


  • Wide spread low-level improvements have been made to the way Sibelius handles certain data structures – particularly noticeable when working with large scores on slower computers.


Sibelius 2018.6 (June 2018)

Sibelius 2018.6 not only delivers on improvements to long standing issues, but also simplifies our approach to developing and producing several applications and solutions to a huge variety of musicians. With the release of Sibelius | First today, we now have a complete desktop range of music software, an iOS app, an iOS SDK, and a whole ecosystem that lives on the Avid MediaCentral Platform in the cloud for running music publishing solutions that are delivering millions of scores around the world each month. Whether you’re a beginner, student, educator, professional musician, engraver or publisher, we now have something geared towards your musical need.


Sibelius – A New Single Installer

We now have a single application called “Sibelius” that will run with the features based on the license you have activated. In the past, we’ve had separate applications for all the different flavours of Sibelius that would run with different features based on the version you had installed.  The three tiers are:


• Sibelius | First – will run when you have no license of either Sibelius or Sibelius Ultimate

• Sibelius – will run only when you have a Sibelius license activated

• Sibelius | Ultimate – will run when you have an Ultimate license activated


This allows a new customer to come in, try Sibelius | First, unlock more features by subscribing to Sibelius, then need the Ultimate features as their music and career develops etc.. On the practical side, it also allows us to reduce the number of installers we have to maintain, and simplify the activation process by consolidating the separate activation processes into one.

On a new computer, Sibelius will now only install a single application. On a computer that already has either Sibelius or Sibelius | Ultimate, or even Sibelius | First 2018.1 or earlier, these will get replaced by the new application, called “Sibelius”.

When you run Sibelius, it now checks the licenses and entitlements it can run with:

• Is there a Network License Server running on the network, only used for Schools (Sibelius has always done this)

• Is there a license of Sibelius or Sibelius | Ultimate on this computer

• Is there an on-going trial of either Sibelius or Sibelius | Ultimate

• Is there entitlement to run Sibelius | First

If any of the above is true, it’ll run in that mode. If not, we’ll pop up a new redesigned welcome dialog:



This gives options to start a new trial of either Sibelius or Sibelius | Ultimate, or activate your own license, or continue with Sibelius | First. There’s a “Don’t say this again” tick box so you can run the trial or Sibelius | First straight away without having to choose it each time. If you have a license of Sibelius or Sibelius | Ultimate, click Activate, which will launch Avid Application Manager. The simplest thing to do is to log in and Sibelius will auto-activate. If you need to manually activate, click the Licensing page and paste in your System ID and Activation ID, which you can find in your Avid Master Account.


Once the activation is complete, restart Sibelius and you’ll find the activation is picked up and Sibelius will run with either the Sibelius or Sibelius | Ultimate features.


“Sibelius is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive and deeply flexible orchestration tool available. If I can conceive it, Sibelius can put it on paper in a very intuitive way that most mirrors my original thought. Every dynamic and articulation is readily available and easily inserted and edited at a whim.”

Mark Yaeger, film composer

Notation improvements in Sibelius 2018.6

Grace notes in multiple voices

Writing grace notes across multiple voices in Sibelius has been historically hard to do. It has usually required a plugin and then some manual changes in the Inspector to align correctly – but a simple Reset Note Spacing would revert all your careful placement. From now on though, Sibelius will always get this right. Here’s a typical example of the old spacing verses the new:


Under the hood, Sibelius is aligning the grace notes in voices 1 and 2 together. When there’s no corresponding note in the other voice, Sibelius will insert a hidden rest that is used to ensure the correct spacing is preserved.

Opening older scores will continue to look exactly the same. To take advantage of the new spacing, simply select the passage of music and do Reset Note Spacing from the Appearance tab.

Note spacing of chords in multiple voices

Thank you to those who reported cases where chords with back-to-back stems started to collide with the new Version 3 spacing, introduced in April, when compared to version 2. In some cases, stems would touch ledger lines as well.  We’ve fixed many of these now so you should find things are generally cleaner:

Sibelius 2018.1 and earlier



Sibelius 2018.4/5



Sibelius 2018.6



We’ve also tackled some of the more gnarly issues with chords that were left over from our release in April too. The below comparison shows how things have come on. The improvements are in the following areas:

• When chords in two voices are a semitone apart, they are now slightly offset when they are written in the stave.

• Notes no longer collide when there are unisons in either chord. This was particularly tricky when there were unisons in both voices. In these cases, the chords will appear side-by-side, as required by the new note spacing algorithm.

• Sibelius now treats the note spacing offsets differently when the notes are within the 5-line stave compared to when they are outside the staff on ledger lines



General improvements

Changing notes by semitone across tied passages

In Sibelius 2018.4, we introduced the ability for all tied notes to be changed when the first note is changed. We omitted support for the Shift+Page Up/Down shortcut, which moves a note up or down by a semitone. Now, in 2018.6, you can select the first note of a tied note and move all tied notes by a semitone:



General bug fixes

We’ve been hard at work improving the overall stability of Sibelius, as well as chipping away at problems that have been reported via our forum, Twitter feed and new Facebook group (thank you again to all those who submitted them!). In summary, they are:

• Deleting the first bar of a score no longer deletes the time signature

Continuing the improvements from April’s release, where we added the ability to delete the first bar of the score without losing your Title page and other blank pages, title, composer and other text etc.. In today’s release, the Time Signature is no longer lost. This works in such a way that it retains the Time Signature that was in the first bar of the score, as you would expect, however Sibelius will now check to see if the next bar contains a Time Signature change, and places that in the new ‘bar 1’ after the deletion. For example, if you’re deleting bars 1 to 5, and there’s a Time Signature Change in Bar 6, Sibelius will now display the Time Signature that was in bar 6, rather than retaining the initial Time Signature that was in bar 1. If you’re used to being cautious of deleting bar 1, try it now – it’s really quite liberating!

In addition to this:

• Empty text boxes no longer remain after removing multiple items of text with undo

• Multiple cursors are now displayed when entering expression and technique text across multiple staves

• Keyboard focus is now brought back to a text object after changing the size of it in Text > Format > Size

• As well as several improvements to grace notes, Sibelius will now retain the spacing correctly when copy and pasting passages. This saves the extra step to reset the note spacing.

• When the Quick Start is disabled, the blank score that is automatically created used Version 2 voice spacing instead of Version 3

• Several rare problems entering lyrics and chord symbols have all been resolved. This even included a crash and issues with the Undo queue

• A lyrics extender line now no longer reappears after saving and reopening a score. This would only happen if there were empty bars between two lines of music that contained lyrics.

• In rare cases, Sibelius would crash when working with text

• You can now enter multiple pieces of text or lines using a very short lasso selection

• When entering multiple hairpins onto a minim followed by a minim rest, it no longer results in a hairpin under the rest


Sibelius 2018.11 (November 2018)

Upgrading the Sibelius infrastructure

The improvements in this release touch nearly every bit of the program. This is largely due to a complete upgrade of Sibelius’s underlying infrastructure, Qt. Qt is a cross-platform development framework that enables Sibelius to run on various platforms and devices. We’ve been using this since Sibelius 7, released in 2011, so it’s high time we upgraded this to take advantage of the new capabilities. The development team have been chipping away at this herculean effort for more than 2 years, so it’s a relief to get this out into the real world . This sets us up to provide more exciting features using the very latest cutting technology.

The UI

I’ll start with the user interface (UI), since it’s the most obvious change. Overall, it now generally looks cleaner. Although Sibelius showed nice high-resolution images and icons in previous versions, Sibelius itself didn’t natively support high-DPI and Retina screens so very little of the UI was able to take advantage of these modern displays. Now though, you’ll notice some very subtle, and some more obvious, improvements in the way Sibelius displays the text and icons in the Ribbon.

Not all items in Sibelius have been upgraded to support the sharper icons – we still have some work to do in the Mixer, Ideas panel and so on, however the ground work has all been done now to make this much easier to implement and maintain in the future.

Sibelius is now able to take advantage of native OS features, and we’re able to make some other subtle changes such as:

  • You’ll see the scroll bars on Mac are now defined by the OS, so will show automatically based on your mouse or trackpad, as you set this up in System Preferences.
  • The pop-up messages now animate when they appear, and have the default color based on your System
  • On Windows, docked panels now have a narrower title bar so they take up less vertical space
  • Tick boxes in the Preferences used to be white-on-white, making it hard to know if they were ticked or not. These are now blue with a white tick, as you’d expect. This particularly affected the Input Devices and Timeline preferences.
  • Across all dialogs, the headings of each section would collide with the box below This was more noticeable in the Preferences and Engraving Rules dialogs.


On Sibelius for macOS

The Keypad and Transport panels

All the panels in Sibelius now have the nice rounded corners. These have always been there under the hood, but were prevented from appearing by the older implementation of Qt4.



Both the Keypad and Transport panels now support the lovely higher resolution graphics, giving a nice sharp look. Here’s a comparison of the old and new Keypad on a Retina display:


The Ribbon

You’ll notice the text seems sharper, and this is because Sibelius is now able to be more pixel accurate with the way it displays text. You’ll see this in all the dialogs and pop-up messages as well.

Here’s a comparison of the Layout tab with Sibelius 2018.7 above, and the newer 2018.11release below



Many of the icons throughout the Ribbon have been upgraded to support higher resolution images as well.


The Quick Access Toolbar that was once only available on Windows, has made it to our Mac version as well. You’ll find this in the top right hand corner of the screen and is useful to quickly accessing Save, Undo and Redo.

Sibelius for Windows

Sibelius now respects any DPI scaling, and the evidence is apparent when you start Sibelius up. Everything from the splash screen to the Mixer are now scaled and no longer blurry or disproportionate. Since we can support any DPI scaling upwards of 125%, you’ll now see sharper icons as well as a well-proportioned Ribbon, utilizing the full horizontal space to display the features.

This also works when you have multiple monitors, allowing you to have your Panels on a different screen, or even your score and parts on different screens. Sibelius will now respect per-monitor DPI scaling, allowing the windows and panels to look great on a regular monitor or even a nice 4K monitor.


The Ribbon

In previous versions of Sibelius, the Ribbon would get pretty crowded when using high DPI scaling, from 200%+, say. Now Sibelius will lay this out and better use the whole width of the screen. Here’s a comparison of Sibelius 2018.7 above, with 2018.11 below:




In this release, we’ve paid a lot of attention to improving the way Sibelius works with screen readers. Screen readers, for those who may not know, are applications that can read and describe what is happening on the computer screen to help users who can’t see the screen well, or even at all. Both Windows and macOS come with their own built-in solutions called Narrator and VoiceOver. There are popular 3rd party solutions such as NVDA that is an open-source screen reader for Windows.

The screen readers themselves don’t know anything about music notation, so it has been our job to generate descriptions of the score elements on the screen. As such, we have vastly improved the way screen readers read and describe what’s happening on the screen.

Sibelius will read the names of Manuscript Papers when tabbing through scores in the Quick Start, as well as read the dialog as you set up a new score. Once in the score, Sibelius will read the contents of the Ribbon as you access this with the keyboard. Since nearly all of Sibelius is keyboard accessible, it’s possible to navigate the program using keyboard shortcuts and hear what’s happening. For example:

Pressing Tab will select the first staff object in the score and describe what the object is and where it is



“Select, quarter note, pitch C#5 ,bar 1, beat 1”

When selecting a slur, Sibelius will say:



“Select, start of slur on bar 1, beat 3 line ending at bar 1, beat 4”

Sibelius will announce the action you do too, such as “Move” note, or “Edit” note. The description that follows is the same as when selecting objects.

Searching Sibelius with “Find in Ribbon” will speak the results too. The keyboard shortcut to access the Find in Ribbon box is simply comma “,”. When it has keyboard focus, you’ll hear Sibelius say: “Find in Ribbon, Editing text”.

You can then start typing to find and perform any action you need, for example: To reset the position of an object, for example, you type “reset” and Sibelius will provide a list of all features that have Reset in their name or in their description. Use the arrow keys to cycle through the results to hear them, i.e.:


“Reset Position, moves the selected objects back to their default position”

Pressing Return will then apply that change – even when not using a screen reader, using ‘comma’ to access Find In Ribbon is by far the fastest way to use Sibelius!

Each screen reader is different, and it’ll take more work on our side to gain parity with them all. To help you decide which is right for your workflow, we’ve put the following table together:




Menus, Dialogs and Ribbon etc.




Splash Screen, Version & Build Number



Quick Start






Find in Ribbon



File tab




Pop-up messages



Ribbon galleries (Lines, Text, Symbols)



Edit Symbols and Edit Lines dialogs





Objects in the score




Bar Rests



Clef changes



Key Signatures






Staff text





Objects in the score







Guitar frames



Instrument Changes



Staff lines



Staff symbols



Notes and rests



Notes on a transposing instrument



Start and end of System and Passage selections




There’s clearly more work for us to do, so we’ll continue to chip away at this very important area of the program. As the table shows above, we don’t recommend using VoiceOver on macOS yet.

During the development of these improvements, we’ve also fixed the following legacy bugs we had with screen readers:

  • Sibelius no longer crashes when closing Audio Options or Playback Devices when using NVDA
  • The bar number is no longer spoken followed immediately by the succeeding bar number


Goodbye EPS, hello true black PDFs



Due to limitations in Qt5, we aren’t able to continue to support Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) file export. As such, Sibelius 2018.7 was the last version to support this feature. However, exporting to PDF has been improved to support greyscale, which converts to only the K color channel in CMYK.

To use this, go to File > Export > Graphics, choose PDF and untick “include colored objects”. Alternatively, go to File > Export > PDF and, again, untick “Include colored objects”.

Note Spacing

To improve on the note spacing features we’ve been introducing this year, we’ve fine tuned the following:

  • Reset Note Spacing in the score or part no longer affects the This only affected scores using Version 3 spacing though.
  • Sibelius now only respaces multi-voice bars when adding or removing notes when the “Respace multi-voice passages during note input and editing” preference is set. In recent releases, Sibelius would perform a ‘Reset Note Spacing’ under the hood during articulation and accidental editing, which was found to be too heavy handed.


Video playback

We’ve changed the engines used in Sibelius to sync a video (or audio file) to a score. On Windows, we now use DirectShow for QMultimedia and on Mac we’ve replaced the old 32-bit QuickTime player with AVFoundation. This change may require you to re-encode your videos to one Sibelius now supports, or install the necessary codecs to play the video.


Switching between feature-sets

Since our release in June this year, your installation of Sibelius has had three tiers inside the single installation, so Sibelius will run the feature-set you are eligible for. This has been useful for those starting with Sibelius | First, trying out the Sibelius features then subscribing or buying the full feature of Sibelius | Ultimate. Since then, we’ve had several requests to allow you to check out the Sibelius | First features, say, to see if they are suitable for your beginner students who are starting out with their music studies. In today’s release, we’ve introduced this feature for Sibelius | Ultimate users only: simply hold down the ‘Alt’ key when Sibelius starts up and you’ll see the following dialog asking you which variant of Sibelius you’d like you run:



Clicking the version you need will run Sibelius with just those features enabled. Restarting Sibelius, without holding down ‘Alt’, will revert to running the full Sibelius | Ultimate feature set. Windows users should be aware that you need to hold down ‘Alt’ just after running Sibelius. If you hold ‘Alt’ at the same time as running the application, you will see a Properties window appear.

Overall stability and bug fixes

As with every release of Sibelius, we fix a number of bugs, both old and new. Here’s a summary of what’s included in this release:



Rhythm Dots

When dotted notes in multiple voices share the same pitch, Sibelius now correctly (and consistently) only shows a single dot. Previously, Sibelius would only do this for notes that were in a space and not when on a line.



The correct number of dots are now displayed on dotted chords with two or three notes.

Kontakt 6 Support

Kontakt 6 is now recognised as a “Kontakt” device rather than a standard AU or VST plugin. This means Sibelius will now be able to automatically load sounds as it has been able to do with Kontakt 5 and earlier. So, if you have a Kontakt library, such as Virtual Drumline, old or older version of GPO/JABB, Sample Logic’s Fanfare or Rumble etc. you can now use these in the latest version of Kontakt. It’s worth noting that Kontakt 6 appears simply as “Kontakt” in your Playback Configuration.



Bug fixes

  • All the “Name” fields in the Edit Instrument dialog are retained when saving and reopening a score. As such, you can now use the “Instrument change name” and “Instrument change warning name” fields independently.
  • Engraving Rules > Chord Symbols: Characters are now displayed correctly in the Language drop-down list on Mac.
  • In the Timecode and Duration dialog, the “Start video from” field now works correctly.
  • Note input, and dragging text objects are no longer sluggish when the Inspector is open.
  • The Edit Lines and Edit Symbols dialogs are now much more stable under the hood. Before, it was even possible to invoke multiple cursors on Windows and cause incorrect navigation behavior on both Windows and Mac.



  • Split Bar plug-in no longer overwrites the right hand side barline with a Normal barline.
  • Join Bars plug-in works properly once more when creating special barlines.



It’s important to be aware of the latest system requirements for the Sibelius products and this release contains the following changes:

  • Full support for macOS 10.14 Mojave
  • Sibelius will no longer run on Mac OS X Mavericks

There are no changes to Windows. For a full run-down, please see our System Requirements for Avid Sibelius Products .



On the whole, Sibelius is now faster than ever before. You should notice this when dragging around the score, performing edits to multiple text objects, adding slurs and articulations across several systems, and making changes at the end of large scores – all of which are vastly improved.

  • Sam Butler headshot

    As director of audio software at Avid, and a keen musician, Sam works with all the departments in Avid to produce the future of the Pro Tools and Sibelius products and solutions.

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