Dorico 3.5 - Can it do everything Sibelius can?

Hi, Sibelius user of 4 years approximately. I got dorico 2 a while ago, but never got to learning it out of no time. But now that the world is collapsing from the seams, I think I’d have time to learn Dorico if I wanted to.

The question is- is it worth it? One of my favorite Sibelius features is the free updates within a year subscription- in my understanding, I have to pay to upgrade every .5 version? Does this add up quickly?

Cost is not an issue to upgrade if it’s worth it. What should I do?

Thus far, buying Dorico Pro updates works out cheaper (here) than paying for a Sibelius Ultimate subscription.

Daniel wrote a pretty clear comparison of updates here:

Can Dorico do everything that Sibelius can do? No. Can Sibelius do everything that Dorico can do? No. If there are specific things you were missing in Dorico 2, maybe say what they are - there’s a good chance they’ve been added since.

Leo of course realises that there is no quick answer to the question posed in the subject title.

My problem is that there are defaults in Dorico that cannot yet be changed. One that seriously impedes my total adoption is the inability to create new instruments, or even to change the names of existing instruments. The ability to do this has been a feature of Sibelius for a long time.

No doubt others can point to similar showstopper differences, but Dorico is young and we cannot expect that the priorities of the developers are 100% convergent with those of all users! Of course, we all think that our own needs are paramount, but experience teaches us otherwise…


There are relatively few defaults in Dorico that cannot be changed. It’s true that at present you cannot define your own instrument types in Dorico (something that was added to Sibelius in version 4, if I recall, some 7 or 8 years into its existence as a Windows/Mac application), but you certainly can change the names of existing instruments, including changing the defaults for future projects (see here).

To agree with Leo’s reply, whether or not Dorico can replace Sibelius for you depends on what you are doing with the software. If you can provide a bit more information about your specific requirements, we can advise.

Dorico has offered several ‘free’ updates within each paid release: e.g. within the 2.0 cycle, there was Dorico 2.1, 2.1.10, 2.2, 2.2.10.

The .5 paid update is considered a ‘one-off’, and Dorico will return to an annual cycle next summer.

The question is: do you need to do everything that Sibelius can do? Are the things that Dorico can do, which Sibelius can’t, of more use to you than the things Sibelius can do which Dorico can’t?

This dialogue must have crept in while I was asleep. Thanks!

I have played with it and am still unable to rename Trumpet in Bflat/Trpt in Bb to Trompete in B/Tr. (B).

More specifically, I need on the first page:

and subsequently:

Can anyone help, please?



Dorico doesn’t currently support note names for transpositions in languages other than English (though this is something I have been working on recently and it will be improved in the next version of Dorico). As a consequence, for the time being you have to manage things like using B instead of Bb yourself. In the Edit Names dialog, set the option to show the instrument transposition to ‘Never’, and then you can add the transposition yourself to the full and short names as desired.

If you have multiple instruments and you want Dorico to manage the condensing for you, then make sure that the name for each of the instruments is exactly the same, i.e. don’t include the number in the name you enter into Edit Instrument Names. Let Dorico add the numbers for you.

Thanks for a swift reply, Daniel – this is the best reason for preferring Dorico to the other alternatives! I look forward to the promised improvement.

Of course, even with the ability to accomodate other languages, it should be possible to employ any of the myriad house styles out there!