How To Scan Sheet Music Into Sibelius Using ScanScore

In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through how to scan music into Sibelius using our software, ScanScore.

30 years ago, Avid started working as a company specializing in digital media and programs. One of their big sellers is the music notation software, Sibelius.

Named for a composer from the late 1800s and early 1900s, the program is easy to use and is a favorite of composers and music teachers around the world. The methods within the program and a little confusing and not as accurate.

This is where ScanScore steps in. Read about how to scan music into Sibelius Using ScanScore.

Step By Step Instructions

Sibelius using ScanScore. Once you’ve done it once, you’re probably not going to need it. It’s all so easy.

1) Download all programs

The first thing you should do is make sure both ScanScore and Sibelius are up to date on your computer. While things may still work when one of them is just a little outdated, the fastest and best comes from the updated programs.

Sibelius is currently compatible with Mac and Windows computers. ScanScore is compatible with Windows only at this time. There are also app versions available on the Google Play Store and at the App Store for Apple devices.

Note: In order to use the app, you will need to scan a QR code that appears on the desktop program. This prevents stealing the program. Don’t worry, ScanScore can be activated on up to three devices.  

IMAGE ScanScore how to scan

2) Scan the Sheet Music

Once both programs are ready to go, you need to scan the music. Open up the ScanScore program. On the opening screen, you’ll be given the option to scan from three different options: scanner, import from file, or scan with the app.

Select the option you prefer and follow the simple instructions to take an image of the sheet music. Make a note that you must be connected to the internet to use the app to scan.

Pro-tip: Make sure you get as clear an image as possible. A clearer image helps the program get a more accurate reading for notation. If using an image file or the app, make sure the sheet music is well-lit and taken at a parallel and even angle.

Image ScanScore editing the sheet music

3) Check for mistakes

One of the most useful aspects of ScanScore is how to check immediately against the original image. Once ScanScore digitizes the music, you get a side view of the original and the digitized version.

Now, you have not done correctly. ScanScore helps by highlighting potential mistakes with blue and purple lines. You can zoom in to make corrections, and when you do, both the original and digital versions zoom together for a close-up comparison.

Use the simple tool to highlight and correct mistakes. As a final check, you can use a simple MIDI playback to listen and watch both sides as the music plays. This gives you a closer look and listen for last.

Pro-tip: As you work, make sure you save your file regularly using the “Save as” option under the “File” menu. This keeps your work from going to waste.  

Image ScanScore export to musicXML

4) Export to MusicXML

After you’re sure the digital version is correct, you need to export it to musicXML file. This is the file type that most notation editing programs including Sibelius read and save. On the left-hand page of the ScanScore program, click on the export to musicXML button and select where to save it.

Pro-tip: It’s always a good idea to save the file under a name that helps describe it. I recommend using the format ” piece_composer_part.” Here’s an example: “FugueGminor_JSBach_organ.”

5) Import into Sibelius

Once you’re done with exporting, it’s time to open your scan into Sibelius. There are two main ways to go about this.

  1. Open up Sibelius and select “Open” in the file menu.
  2. Right-click on the file in the system viewer and select “Open with …” and then choose the Sibelius program.

Give it a couple of seconds and then it should pop up ready to be edited. Now you’re doing the advanced sheet music editing and formatting you needed to do. Congrats on scanning sheet music into Sibelius using ScanScore.

For more help, check out this video describing the basics of using the ScanScore program.  

Commonly Asked Questions

Will ScanScore read any music? Scan Core can read any standard Western notation excluding things like Gregorian chant and other non-traditional forms of notation. There are three different options for ScanScore each with its own reading abilities and pay levels.

The “Melody” option is the most affordable, but it can only read one stave scores. This may be perfect if you’re a band director who only needs to edit or transpose one part at a time.

Another option is the “Ensemble” subscription. With this, you can scan up to 4 staves per system. This is useful for small ensembles or condensed scores work.

The premium choice is the “Professional” line. This cost the most, but it handles almost any full score. It goes all the way up to 32 staves per system which would be perfect for full scores and composers.

Is ScanScore editing software? While ScanScore can be used to make a small degree, it is the most accurate and most accurate digital form of the original possible. Beyond that, you need a notation software like Sibelius. Here are some things ScanScore is not:

  • layout
  • transposition
  • Parts
  • Specific instrument playback

ScanScore is best used in combination with music editing software.


We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to scan music into Sibelius using ScanScore. Remembering these simple steps can make your scanning quick and accurate:

  1. Download the programs
  2. Scan the sheet music
  3. Check the notation
  4. Export to musicXML
  5. Import into Sibelius

If you have any question, please go to ScanScore Support.

Have fun writing some music!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *