Best Practices: Sibelius with Dorico

Are you a Sibelius user that moved to Dorico? Or do you use Sibelius with Dorico?

What are your best practices for porting scores over? (Hoping for advice on orchestral scores, but any advise is welcome.)

Other than Music XML?

That’s the way. It’s generally best to turn off all import options, and let Dorico do its thing.


Thanks, Dan.

Yes, used Music XML, the import was default (so it leaves some things the same as Sibelius I suppose).

But there were weird things upon import, such as, this A minor tag:

In Dorico Menu>Layout Options…>Players>Condensing, created custom condensing group from the French Horns. Galley View looks like this:

But then page view looks like this?

Maybe a more specific question is did you “explode” (give each instrument its own staff) the score in Sibelius, then export?

Or did you “explode” in Dorico? And what is the best method for doing that?

Music XML is a useful tool but rarely perfect. A bit of cleanup is to be expected, regardless of which notation software you’re porting from. For starters, check your list of players in Setup mode. It’s likely some are mis-named. You can perform “Change Instrument” functions on them to reset them, and then condensing should work as expected.

For the “A minor” signpost, that’s not unusual either. Just select it and delete.

I don’t know anything about Sibelius (I came from Finale), but you certainly want to import sing-player staves whenever possible.

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I recommend going through all instruments one by one and perform the Change instrument… to the same but from the Dorico picker. Many problems come from hidden things like an instrument incorrectly interpreted at import but with no apparent issue… Granted, it is a chore, especially if you have a full orchestra (Ravel or alike) but will solve sooooo many problems later :wink:


Also check all starting clefs. Select them and delete them. If you select them and they are marked blue, you’re good. But if they are orange press delete.

Wasn’t there also a discover dorico about this?


Also, to get a better conversion that is more complete, so that more of your Sibelius score details are retained, make sure to install the plugin “Dolet for Sibelius” and then use the new export feature it adds to the Sibelius plugins menu instead of the regular MusicXML export in Sibelius. The Dolet export includes a bunch of details that Sibelius itself doesn’t support putting in MusicXML and so it saves you from needing to re-engrave those on the Dorico end.


I agree with @mducharme use the Dolet Plugin to export from Sibelius.

Also, turn off all the Preferences>MusicXML Import options in Dorico (you will have fewer layout problems)

Make sure View>Signposts is not hiding signposts (this will enable you to catch many problems)

If an XML import fails, or only loads part of the file, try running it through MuseScore first (MS seems more tolerant of Sib export faults)


I also use the Dolet plugin for Sibelius. But I always do the setup in pure Dorico (project template or from scratch). Then I copy instrument by instrument from the imported MusicXML into the Dorico project: one instrument from its part after “Select all” (to catch system objects), the other instruments from the score from their respective staves and, if useful, in groups.

This may be too much work, but for me it is safer than editing the MusicXML import directly.