5 Steps to Scanning Sheet Music into Dorico with ScanScore

Scanning physical sheet music into Dorico is quick and easy to do with ScanScore. And in this post, we’ll show you exactly how to do it… 

While there’s no shortage of music editing software, some feel there has been a lack of imagination in the field. This is part of the reason why Steinberg developed their own competitive scoring software in 2016 and called it Dorico.

Named after the Renaissance composer who pioneered the sheet music printing process, Dorico calls itself “The Future of Scoring.” Dorico aims to provide easy tools, high-quality playback and excellent customization for today’s modern composers.

But when it comes to scanning existing sheet music, Dorico could use some help. And this is where ScanScore’s easy and accurate scanning tools come into play.

Step By Step Scanning Instructions

In this section, we’ll detail the steps to follow for scanning sheet music into Dorico. Once you get to used to the process, you’ll find it’s pretty simple.

1) Download/update the programs

The first step is downloading Dorico and ScanScore (check out the links below). Even if you already have them downloaded, it’s a great idea to make sure everything is up to date.

Dorico is available for both Windows and Mac computers, but ScanScore is currently only compatible with Windows. You can access the app on the Google Play Store as well as at the App Store for Apple devices.

Note: The app is free to download, but it does require a QR code to use it. This QR code is found on your desktop version of ScanScore. This is a safety measure to prevent theft of the software and to keep the price of ScanScore down for authorized users.

IMAGE ScanScore how to scan

2) Scan the sheet music

Once you’ve downloaded the programs on your devices, it’s time to scan the sheet music.

Open your ScanScore program, and you’ll see three buttons to help you scan in your music (simply choose the option you want to use):

  • Scanner
  • Import from file
  • Scan with the app

Scanner refers to using an actual scanner to get the image directly into the program. Importing takes an image or PDF of sheet music you’ve already got somewhere else and digitizes it into the program. Scanning with the app takes a photo on your phone and sends it directly into ScanScore’s desktop program.

Which should you use? It depends on what you have available. I’ve found the scanner option to provide the best quality scan with the fewest mistakes, but the app is very convenient.

Pro-tip: When using the app, try to make sure the sheet music it is well-lit and the picture is taken straight-on. A clear image will give you the best results.

Image ScanScore editing the sheet music

3) Correct mistakes

Your image scan then pops up on ScanScore’s program. You will see a side-by-side view of the original and the digital version of the page. This will help you make an accurate comparison, and see where any mistakes have occurred in the digitizing process.

ScanScore picks up some potential errors and highlights them in purple and blue.

To correct errors, zoom in and drag a box over the area where the digital copy is incorrect. Then, use the intuitive toolbar to change, add or delete musical elements as needed.

One of ScanScore’s handy features is the side-by-side, synced-zoom functionality. When you select either the original or the digital versions to zoom in on, the other follows suit automatically. This makes it simple to get a close-up view of each version and make a comparison.

While ScanScore doesn’t have a lot in terms of MIDI playback, it does offer just enough for you to playback and track the music you have written. And both versions will track at the same time. This function is really useful as a final proofing of the part.

Pro-tip: Saving your file regularly will help protect against accidentally losing any of your progress. You can do this by clicking the “Save as” option under “File.”  

Image ScanScore export to musicXML

4) Export to MusicXML file

With the digital version now matching the original, this digital version needs to be exported into a MusicXML file. This is the type of file most commonly used by notation editing software like Dorico.

In order to export, simply go to the left-hand side of the ScanScore dashboard. There you’ll see the export button. Click “export” and select where to save the file.

We recommend you save it in a folder or a place with your other XML files. This should make it easier to find later.

Pro-tip: Choose an easy-to-remember name for your file. Here at ScanScore, we favor the format “piece_composer_part.” Here’s how that might look in practice: “FugueGminor_JSBach_organ.”

5) Import into Dorico

Now to import the file into Dorico. Check you have the newest version downloaded to make sure it works at optimal efficiency.

Open up your Dorico program. In the main hub, select “Open Other…” and then select your labeled MusicXML file. 

After a couple of seconds, the file should show up in Dorico’s program. Congratulations, your score has been successfully scanned into Dorico!

For more help, check out this video about using ScanScore.

And if you need any further support, please contact us at ScanScore Support.


Does ScanScore read all music? – All standard Western notation can be read on ScanScore (this excludes unique notation systems like Gregorian chant). ScanScore also reads most style markings. However, the number of staves ScanScore reads depends on the level you purchased.

The Melody option is the most affordable. With this version, you are limited to one stave scores. 

With our Ensemble subscription, you can scan up to four staves. This will be useful for small groups and choirs.

The Professional line is the most expensive but has the capacity to cope with 32 staves, making it perfect for full scores and composers.

Can I just use ScanScore to edit my score? – ScanScore’s main function is to accurately scan and correct sheet music. For more substantial editing work, you will need a notation software like Dorico.

ScanScore cannot be used for transposition work or for specific instrument playback.


Here’s a quick review of how to scan sheet music into Dorico using ScanScore:

  1. Download/update the programs
  2. Scan the sheet music
  3. Correct mistakes
  4. Export to MusicXML file
  5. Import to Dorico

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

Have fun!

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  1. Pingback: Importing a PDF into Dorico? It's Simple with ScanScore | SCANSCORE

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