How to Use ScanScore to Scan Sheet Music into Sibelius

This post will tell you everything you need to know so you can easily scan physical sheet music into Sibelius using 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 after a composer from the late 1800s and early 1900s, the program is easy to use and a favorite among composers and music teachers around the world.

However, the methods within the program are a little confusing and not as accurate as they could be. And this is where ScanScore can help the user.

This post will show you how you can quickly and easily scan your sheet music into Sibelius using ScanScore. 

Step By Step Instructions

1) Download both the programs

Make sure both ScanScore and Sibelius are installed and up-to-date on your computer. While the process may still work if one of them is a little outdated, you’ll get the best and quickest results from using the updated programs.

Although Sibelius is compatible with Mac and Windows computers, ScanScore is only compatible with Windows at this time. You will also find app versions available from the Google Play Store and the App Store for Apple devices.

Note: To use the ScanScore Capture app, you will need to scan the QR code found on the desktop program. This QR code is a safety measure to help protect against theft of the program. Don’t worry, if you are an authorized user of ScanScore, you will be able to activate it 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 in the sheet music. Open up the ScanScore program. On the opening screen, you’ll see three options for scanning your music: scanner, import from file or scan with the app.

Select your preferred option and follow the simple instructions to take a scan of the sheet music. Please note: you must be connected to the internet to use the app to scan.

Pro-tip: To enable the program to create a more accurate reading for notation, try to get as clear an image as possible. If you are using an image file or the app, make sure the sheet music is well-lit and the image is taken at a parallel and even angle.

Image ScanScore editing the sheet music

3) Check for mistakes

One of the most useful features ScanScore offers is the ability to check the scan against the original image. Once ScanScore digitizes the music, you’ll be able to see the original and the digitized versions side by side allowing for easy comparison.

Now to check for mistakes… ScanScore helps by highlighting potential mistakes with blue and purple lines. You can zoom in on the score to make corrections, and when you do, you’ll see both the original and digital versions zoom in at the same time for a close-up and easy comparison.

Use the correction tools 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. 

Pro-tip: As you work, make sure you save your file regularly using the “Save as” option under the “File” menu. This helps to protect your work from being accidentally lost.  

Image ScanScore export to musicXML

4) Export to MusicXML

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

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 exported, it’s time to open your scan in Sibelius. There are two main ways to do this:

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

Give it a couple of seconds and then your score should pop up, ready to be edited. Congratulations, you’ve just scanned sheet music into Sibelius using ScanScore.

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

Commonly Asked Questions

Can ScanScore read any music? ScanScore 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 cost.

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 four staves per system. This is useful for small ensembles or condensed scores work.

The premium choice is the Professional line. While this costs the most, 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 also an editing software? While ScanScore can be used for editing to some small degree, it’s primary function is to scan and digitize sheet music as quickly and accurately as possible. Beyond that, you will need a notation software like Sibelius. Here are some things ScanScore cannot do:

  • layout
  • transposition
  • parts
  • specific instrument playback

ScanScore is best used in combination with music editing software.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial about scanning sheet music into Sibelius using ScanScore. These simple steps can make your scanning quick and accurate:

  1. Download both ScanScore and Sibelius
  2. Scan your physical sheet music
  3. Check the scan and correct any errors
  4. Export to MusicXML file
  5. Import into Sibelius

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

Have fun writing music!

1 thought on “How to Use ScanScore to Scan Sheet Music into Sibelius”

  1. Pingback: Importing a PDF into Sibelius Using ScanScore is Easy | SCANSCORE

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