More new features in Sibelius 4

These pages refer solely to the upgrade from Sibelius 1.x, 2.x and 3.x to Sibelius 4. All the improvements and many more are incorporated in the more recent upgrade to Sibelius 6.

There are so many improvements in Sibelius 4 that there just isn't room to explain them all in detail! So here are all those we haven't mentioned already:


Look & feel

  • hide all tool windows
  • adjust tool window translucency
  • more accurate text width on screen (Windows option)
  • new screen smoothing options
  • new shortcuts for changing bar rest or notehead type
  • new shortcuts for laptops without keypads
  • school feature set now lets you disable obscure text styles, plug-ins, etc.
  • dashed slurs draw faster
  • undo moves to edit position
  • button to switch between score & part



Further new plug-ins:

  • Chord Symbols as Fractions (writes bass note below a line)
  • Show Handbells Required (compiles handbells used chart)
  • Add Accidentals to All Sharp and Flat Notes
  • Strummer (plays guitar strumming)
  • 12-tone Matrix (calculates all transpositions/retrogrades/inversions)
  • Duplicates in Staves
  • What Is Where (lists all objects in score)
  • Check Attachments
  • Add Note Names now supports French, Spanish and German
  • Add Cautionary Accidentals improved
  • Find & Replace Text now works with lyrics & system text
  • many new ManuScript functions


Playback & MIDI

  • Kontakt pre-loads sounds, so no delay when you start playback
  • new staff types to play Kontakt Gold extended percussion
  • plays ties between different voices
  • turn page early, for sight-reading from screen (option)
  • multi-channel MIDI guitar support
  • omits spurious MIDI guitar notes
  • set tightness/looseness of MIDI guitar chord input
  • tempo slider in Scorch (Mac)
  • improved Playback and Input Devices dialog



  • supports AVI, MPEG, WMV (Windows), MOV formats
  • show hit point name, timecode and/or bar/beat
  • show timecode at start of system or every bar
  • specify positioning of timecode & hit points horizontal
  • set video start time in score
  • SMPTE offset imported from MIDI files
  • imports MIDI markers as hit points



  • lyric hyphen centering improved
  • new text styles
  • fixed text size even on small staves (option)
  • fingerings on chord diagrams
  • slurs/ties don't flip at page breaks
  • move articulations on rests up/down
  • allow notes & systems to compress to fit more music on a system/page
  • flip fractional beam left/right
  • tremolo positioning improved
  • repeat barline spacing improved
  • pick-up (upbeat) bars show written-out rests automatically
  • extra bar number position options
  • new page sizes (9.5 x 12.5”, 10 x 13”)



  • opens & exports Sibelius 2, 3 & Sibelius Student files (also opens Sibelius 1.x files)
  • new File>Export menu listing each file type separately
  • export any rectangle of music as graphics file
  • auto-save & auto-backup improved
  • automatically include date, time etc. in extracted part filenames
  • tuplets import better from MIDI files
  • import MIDI file tempos up to 4 decimal places
  • MIDI files open faster (Mac)
  • improved EPS export with Illustrator & Inkpen2 Script
  • move word menus between computers as files


Installing & upgrading

  • drag-and-drop install (Mac)
  • updates old scores with new options
  • checks for future software updates
  • separate settings for each network user
  • non-admin users can't register (to prevent student misuse)


Other improvements

  • new & improved instruments, from Fife to Balalaika family
  • write remote keys enharmonically in transposing instruments (option)
  • wildcards to include title, page number, date, etc. in text
  • print 2-up
  • printing spreads improved
  • reorder words in word menus
  • improved Quick Start dialog
  • many bugs fixed

Even more features, if you have
Sibelius 1 or 2!

If you still have Sibelius 1 or 2, don't get left behind – now's the ideal time to upgrade! You'll find Sibelius 4 much easier to use, and more productive too. And as well as all the new features we've mentioned, you'll get all the improvements that were added before Sibelius 4, including:



  • Kontakt Player plays high-quality instrumental sounds
  • export audio file for creating CDs or MP3s
  • plays rits, accels, glissandos, D.S., D.C., Coda, etc.
  • type instrument name to change sound, e.g. ‘change to Clarinet'
  • Rhythmic feel & Rubato for extra realism
  • Live Playback plays & edits precise timing & dynamics of Flexi-time or MIDI files
  • mixer


Look & feel

  • dialog to create new score in 5 easy steps
  • new Inkpen2 handwriting font
  • over 200 time-saving keyboard shortcuts
  • define your own shortcuts
  • disable features (for schools)
  • many new paper & desk textures


Note input

  • caret shows where you're inputting
  • ‘shadow note' shows where note will go when you click
  • create text, time signatures, chords etc. from the keyboard during note input
  • Flexi-time splits music into 2 voices
  • notes too high/low for an instrument shown in red
  • Multicopy makes multiple copies of ostinati, dynamics etc.
  • Optical note spacing


Power tools

  • Arrange feature saves time arranging & orchestrating by copying music intelligently onto combinations of instruments, with over 140 styles including ‘explode' and reduction
  • scanning reads multiple voices, transposing scores, etc.
  • Focus on Staves shows just the staves you're working on
  • reorder staves
  • align staves throughout the score
  • copy & paste lyrics to/from word processor
  • print & save from Scorch
  • automatic page turns at convenient places
  • Properties window with 7 collapsible panels to tweak objects
  • rulers calculates time position of bars and duration of score
  • edit fonts of all text styles at once
  • many new filters
  • Find objects
  • hide almost any object
  • House Style menu
  • free subscription to Grove online encyclopedia



  • over 50 extra plug-ins, e.g. Scales & Arpeggios, Realize Chord Symbols, Add Brass/String Fingerings, Find Motive, Retrograde



  • over 400 instruments
  • intelligently positioned ‘magnetic' tuplets
  • import graphics
  • color in or highlight almost anything
  • organize chord diagram (guitar frame) into libraries
  • beams over rests, edit beam groups
  • improved positioning etc. of accidentals & articulations
  • different keys on different staves
  • many new symbols
  • early music barlines
  • comprehensive guitar tab
  • open & export ASCII tab files

If you have Sibelius 2 you'll have some of these improvements already. Note that Sibelius 4's computer requirements are higher than for Sibelius 1 & 2.

See also the detailed list of new features that were added in Sibelius 2 and in Sibelius 3.