Import PDF's

Will we be able to import PDF’s in the future (like Sibelius)? Or can this be done now? Sorry, I just couldn’t find anything in FAQ.

I believe that Sibelius does this with Photoscore Lite (or Pro if you buy it). If you own software like Photoscore (or similar) you can then import the PDF, export it as MusicXML and import that into Dorico.
We don’t currently provide a scanning / PDF import program with Dorico.

I’ve had a frustrating few hours trying to import anything from Sibelius/pdf. I don’t have Sibelius, I just need to open scores that have been sent to me. My co-workers can’t export as musicxml, I have .sib files and .pdf.
Is there any way I can work on these scores in Dorico?

You need someone with Sibelius to export the Sibelius files to MusicXML. That’s your only option.

Sibelius files are a proprietary format - the Dorico team can’t legally give you a way of opening them - and PDFs show printable information (text and lines/shapes) which are totally useless to a notation program.

FWIW Sibelius exports XML files that fit better into Dorico than the ones created by the last version of Photoscore (which I use with great pleasure)

I’ve asked a friend to export Sibelius to .musicxml but they don’t have this as an option. Are using Sibelius 6. Am I missing something?

MusicXML export was a new feature in Sibelius 7.

There is probably a plug-in for that on the MakeMusic XML web site.

Yep, I’ve just spotted what Derrek’s noted.

The Dolet plugin for Sibelius 5.1 or later is now FREE. See

Thanks all, another member has offered to export the .sib files to .xml

Is that certain? Lots of software opens competitors’ file formats. Apple Pages opens and saves to several versions of Microsoft Word’s file format, for instance. I wonder if either the Dorico team had some type of special legal agreement when they parted ways with Sibelius. Or if Steinberg is trying to establish Dorico as a new standard by not fully supporting the Sibelius format. Either way, I think it’s good for the notation software field to embrace MusicXML.

There is a third party application that takes musical PDFs (direct output from musical editors like Sibelius, Dorico, finale) and outputs XMLs. It’s called PDF to Music (, I haven’t tried it since I own Photoscore Ultimate (opens any PDF, scan or application output, but does OCR instead of using the PDF characters and information).
Since those solutions exist, I do not imagine Steinberg would invest time and mony just to spare us to buy those softwares…

Yes, that’s certain. The word file format is a published standard (see meaning that any application can load or save the files. Sibelius files are proprietary - they are a binary format which can only be read if you know exactly how it was encoded. We’ve put in a lot of effort into MusicXML import and in general that is the best way of getting your old content into Dorico.

Again, I think MusicXML and MNX are the future and Dorico’s support for it is great. But I seem to recall lots of proprietary file formats being opened by competitors, only to have the format changed by its originator, in a cat and mouse game across several generations of software.