MusicXML Import from Sibelius Ultimate = Invalid file

I’m trying to import a MusicXML file into Dorico 4 from Sibelius Ultimate, and Dorico is telling me it’s an invalid file format. I’m not sure why this is happening. I’ve exported XML from Sibelius many times. I’ve tried both compressed and uncompressed.

Could you post a short example XML file here that displays the error?

Sorry, I’m not sure what you mean by “short example XML file.”

An example of a MusicXML file from Sibelius Ultimate that Dorico can’t open.

The .musicxml file I’m trying to upload to this thread is greyed out, along with all other musicxml files.
This is very strange.

You might need to compress it into a zipfile for the forum to allow you to post it.

No (43.9 KB)

Musescore and Sibelius also fail to open it, say’s it’s not a valid xml-file.


This doesn’t make any sense. I’m exporting this the same way I would export any other Sibelius file. I guess this is probably a Sibelius issue, and not a Dorico one. I’ll reach out to them

Several of the text strings in your file contain characters that aren’t being correctly encoded into the XML file. For example, the string “Arr by Tim Whalen” ends with what I think is some sort of formatting whitespace character that hasn’t been handled correctly when the file was saved.

Here’s a version which I’ve manually corrected (in a text editor).

No (51.5 KB)

Wow, that did it! I really appreciate your help, Richard!

Hi Richard, I was wondering if you might be able to tell me exactly what you corrected on this. I seem to be having issues with other Sibelius XML files.

I would be curious to know if this works better if you export using the Dolet 8 for Sibelius plug-in and then import. If it still fails, could you please message me with the original Sibelius file?

Sure. What I actually did was to try loading the MusicXML file into an online XML parser. As it’s the text encoding rather than the musical content that’s the problem, any XML tools will do. For example, if you go here Best XML Parser Online, you can upload your file, then click on the checkbox in the top right of the text area and it’ll tell you where the errors are.


Thank so so much for this resource!

I’ll check this out as well. Thanks Michael!

I’m having the same issue: Dorico 4 will not open mxl files saved in Sibelius [error message “invalid file format”.] I took the adv ice in this thread and opened the file with Best XML Parser Online. Every period is highlighted in pink, just as shown in the screenshot above.

Does that mean that these periods need to be deleted? There are hundreds of them in the file, and I don’t see an easy way to select all of the periods and delete them.


You can open the xml in any text editor and use a global find/replace.

You should not remove all the dots with search/replace. They are needed as decimal separators. The invalid characters in the XML file are not dots. They are displayed as dots in the parser, but they are actually invalid XML characters like <0x1c>. You have to find and delete them one by one.