What are your thoughts on Dorico as a Notation Software?

My school primarily uses Sibelius, and I’ve used it before. While it works well, I see the sleek and easy-to-use design of Doric and am wondering if I should try it out.

Does Dorico lack any major features that Sibelius might have?

Dorico offers a limited time trial version. I suggest you opt for the Pro trial version, since using key combinations when you open it, you can also see how Elements and SE versions run.

You’ll find plenty of die-hard Dorico fans here, many of them coming from Sibelius.

If you do a lot of contemporary music with non-standard elements, you may find a few of the workarounds a little difficult. But otherwise, I think you’ll find Dorico quite full-featured.

And Dorico does things Sibelius has never been able to do, like automatic condensing.

For students and those starting their professional career, I would never hesitate to recommend Dorico. It’s the future… but it’s the present too.


@RonanTobias hello,
The best way is to test Dorico yourself. Keep in mind that you will need to spend quite some time reading the Manual and watching Tutorials, but surely it’s far more intuitive than Sibelius. and also works with Virtual Instruments, if this is important for you.
Six months passed since the last update of Dorico and probably within a month, or two the 4th generation will be released. I suppose many new features, improvements and fixes will come with it.
So, worth to spend some time trying Dorico! :slight_smile:

Best wishes,

PS: I wouldn’t expect Dorico 4 within the next two months. I’d evaluate Dorico 3.5 for whether it meets your needs currently, as version 4 is not imminent.

In my opinion Dorico is far superior. If you use Sibelius’ composing tools (such as retrograde etc.) then you might feel something is missing, but personally, it doesn’t really bother me and the functionality and interface of Dorico are much superior to Sibelius (I detest the ribbon). Plus, the program is regularly maintained and the forum is frequented by Steinberg employees and users and is lively and informative. I came from Finale to Sibelius and that was a revelation. For me, from Sibelius to Dorico was transformative.

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Read and trust everything Dan Kreider says. Same goes for Pianoleo if he chimes in.

I would add one thing that Dan hasn’t mentioned yet: Daniel Spreadbury. He was instrumental in making Sibelius what it was up through version 6 or 7, and he’s now with Dorico. He, and this forum, are the most valuable assets Dorico has. Period.

I was a Sibelius fan till Avid came along. Now I’m an even bigger Dorico fan.

Do the trial.


I worked in IT in schools a few years back and nearly all who took music seriously used Sibelius. (those who didn’t only used GarageBand). Old habits die hard and new products have to win awareness and a reputation for themselves. Just a quick look at an educational music software house which I used in the past still shows Sibelius and no Dorico.

On this forum, everyone will say the same 1. Dorico is better and 2. try it for yourself and 3. the level of support here is outstanding. What more can one add…

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I think I saw additional entries under this heading including a second entry by the OP. Am I wrong or have those posts been deleted?

Must have been deleted; I saw it too.

There was a post allegedly from the OP that
a) looked like copypasta
b) contained a seemingly unrelated spam link

I know that I replied to it and so did @benwiggy . It’s possible that someone reported the post and that the replies were deleted along with the spammy post.

Yes, your friendly neighbourhood moderator excised the spam reply and the replies to the reply.


I took a 30 day trial of Dorico Pro in December (2019) having used Sibelius since its release of version 4. I have had to work at the transition: some hard wired key strokes for note values for instance are different, but generally I find much to appreciate in Dorico. I find the separation of write ( inputting your score) from engrave (making the page of music readable for an instrumentalist really useful. I would encourage you to try Dorico.

Dorico , in my humble,has probably the longest “learning curve”. And there are issues, nothing is perfect.
But, compared to all the rest, Dorico is just a different league. Like switching from black and white TV, to colour 4K.


ahahah same as here mate, i almost slapped my mac because it was beyond logical workflow for me … but now, i am get used to it. Sibelius xml → Dorico and vice versa … that is how i work now …

I don’t consider myself particularly savvy when it comes to learning new software but I found barely any learning curve with Dorico after the initial realization that you spacebar for rests. Everything else is either intuitive or the solution is easily found in the manual or on this forum. That’s my experience FWIW.

The thought of going back to Sib makes me shudder.

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I have a new Mac arriving tomorrow. An opportunity for a bit of a clean up. Sibelius (and many others) hasn’t made it onto the installation list.

To be fair to Sibelius, it was great while I was using it. I had a lot of fun, and did a lot with it. But things have changed and it’s time to move on.


It’s also strange how fast you can unlearn old habits: when I occasionally open Sibelius to check some old project, I struggle to remember how I did things back then, especially some common workarounds. Everything just feels clumsy, insecure and unfocused. Could be me, though… I’ll never go back.


Eh. I use both on a regular basis. Dorico is wonderful, and it has become my composition work horse. However there are some things that are quicker in one than the other, and the learning curve is definitely easier in Sibelius.

I would say Dorico’s weakest points are those at which you need to in some way “game” the system - i.e. when the paradigm on which it’s all based doesn’t quite suit your needs. I’ll be damned if some diehard doesn’t chime in here, but if for e.g. you want multiple different ways of presenting, say, vocal condensing, the only real solution is to have lots of instruments set up how you need and hide the rest. In Sibelius it’s very easy to do that. Dorico, a faff, and feels very wrong because it goes against the player/instrument paradigm.

When it comes to students - they tend to soak it up quickly anyway where there’s a will to learn. I would suggest giving them a trial to play on and see how they get on.