Creating score content

To get started publishing your scores to Sibelius Cloud Publishing, you must first gather your scores into a format that Sibelius Cloud Publishing understands. It will come as no surprise to learn that we support native Sibelius files (.sib and .sco). We also support MusicXML (.xml and .mxl) and PDF (.pdf) files.

How to decide on which format to use

The decision is a simple trade-off between the time taken to get the score into one of the supported formats and the time taken to edit it subsequently.

It's also important to consider the experience that you want to present to your end users: In today's world, providing a rich, interactive experience can really set your digital sheet music publishing business apart! Some features are not available in PDF-based files - for example, playback. That's because the PDF doesn't contain any playback data from which Sibelius Cloud publishing can generate audio.

It's fine to use a variety of score formats, depending on your needs. You may for example have a large catalogue of scores in PDF format from before the days that computerised music notation apps came to be, and it may simply be too time consuming to re-input these scores in Sibelius. As a first step, you may choose to publish those scores directly as PDFs. As it becomes clearer which of your scores are the most popular with your users, you may wish to transfer that score to Sibelius, so that you can provide a richer user experience.

Using Sibelius

Sibelius Cloud Publishing, as you might expect, supports native Sibelius files (.sib and .sco). You can use Sibelius as normal to create your scores, which you can then publish to the Internet using Sibelius Cloud Publishing.

Using Sibelius to create scores is of course a topic in its own right! Here are some pointers that may help:

  • For new users, the Get Started Fast with Sibelius videos on AvidBlogs provide a great introduction. Expert users may find a few handy tidbits there too!
  • For expert users, the best place to look is the Sibelius Reference itself. If you find that your question is still unanswered, there is a friendly community of expert Sibelius users over on the Sibelius forum.

We provide copies of Sibelius as part of your Sibelius Cloud Publishing agreement.

Using other notation applications

Sibelius Cloud Publishing supports MusicXML, allowing you to use other notation applications such as Finale, MuseScore or Notion to create scores that you may then publish online using Sibelius Cloud Publishing.

It's possible to either use MusicXML directly as an input format, but depending on the results you achieve you may wish to open the file in Sibelius itself. You may then make some edits (only a few, if any, should be necessary) and then publish the resulting .sib file instead. Don't forget that Sibelius includes batch processing plug-ins for converting whole folders of scores at once, which can really help in taking the legwork out of the process.


Many publishers have extensive back catalogues as a library of PDFs. You may publish your PDFs directly to Sibelius Cloud Publishing.

There are some disadvantages to publishing using PDF: since the PDF contains no musical data, playback and transposition features are disabled.

For the best user experience, we do recommend transferring your PDF scores into Sibelius - of course this may not be practical (especially if you have thousands of scores in your library!), but a methodical approach to converting your scores from PDF can pay dividends in score sales.

If you do decide to convert a PDF file into Sibelius format, you have two options:

  • Input the score manually using Sibelius - oftentimes this is the fastest method.
  • Scan your score using PhotoScore - Sibelius comes with a free copy of PhotoScore Lite, and there the more advanced PhotoScore Ultimate is also available for purchase. As the original Sibelius Internet Edition Reference puts it: "Scanning is not a universal panacea". Sometimes you'll find that the time you must take to correct scanning errors outweighs the any time saved in scanning the score in the first place.

Other applications and formats


It's worth noting that you may also convert MIDI files (.mid) to publish scores in Sibelius Cloud Publishing, since you can open the MIDI file directly in Sibelius and subsequently save it as a native Sibelius file.

MIDI files contain only information about the sound of the music - not its notation. It's likely therefore that you'll find you need to clean up your score in Sibelius before it's ready for publishing.

Other notation formats

If you need to support other formats, please ask and we'll add it to our wish list!