Dolet 8 for Sibelius adds MusicXML 4.0 support and much more


MakeMusic has released Dolet 8 for Sibelius, its latest version of the free plug-in that writes MusicXML files that can then be read and used in more than 200 applications that support the interchange format.

It has been nearly six years since Dolet was last updated in April 2016, and, as MakeMusic’s Michael Good said, they “wanted to take advantage of the new features of both MusicXML 4.0 and Sibelius’s ManuScript programming language to get better MusicXML files out of Sibelius. This should make it easier for people to transfer their music from Sibelius into SmartMusic, Finale, and other music notation apps.”

What’s new

To that end, Dolet 8 adds MusicXML 4.0 support, including MusicXML 3.1 features that were not available in Dolet 6 for Sibelius. Highlights include: concert scores now export transposition information, including alternate clefs for transposed parts; cross-staff notation is exported starting with Sibelius 2021.9; dynamic parts can be exported all at once using the new Export Parts to MusicXML menu item; page-aligned text is now exported, except for headers and footers.

Here’s a more comprehensive list of the new features:

  • Export and batch export use the .musicxml file extension instead of the .xml file extension.
  • Concert scores now export transposition information, including alternate clefs for transposed parts.
  • Many more standard symbols are now exported.
  • Musical symbols in a music text font that are mixed together with text are now exported.
  • The n, sfzp, and pf dynamics are now exported.
  • Repeated measure numbers are now exported correctly.
  • L.V. ties now export as MusicXML let-ring ties, whether entered as native Sibelius L.V. ties or using L.V. symbols.
  • Buzz rolls are now exported more accurately.
  • System directions exports with the system attribute, providing better results when creating parts from an imported score.
  • Flats in part name credits now export with a flat symbol rather than a lowercase b.

Further, Dolet 8 adds support for the following ManuScript changes made to Sibelius over the past five years:

  • Cross-staff notation is exported starting with Sibelius 2021.9.
  • Scores with annotation items are now exported correctly.
  • Batch export always exports the score, no matter what part was open when the file was last saved.
  • Batch export no longer prompts for saving after each file.
  • Files are now exported in sorted order during batch export on Mac.
  • Tied Into ties and tie line styles added in Sibelius 2020.1 are now exported.
  • Initial font families for text now export for text without font family changes.
  • Initial font sizes now export for text without font size changes.
  • The default words font is now exported more accurately.
  • The version number is exported correctly from the new numbering systems introduced in Sibelius 2018 and Sibelius 2020.

There’s lots more in Dolet 8, including the following features and fixes:

  • MusicXML files for each dynamic part can be exported all at once using the new Export Parts to MusicXML menu item.
  • Page-aligned text is now exported except for headers and footers. Positions are based on common default house styles, since plug-ins cannot access text style definitions.
  • Text that mixes dynamics with words now exports correctly.
  • Grace notes are now exported with correct beaming.
  • Hidden accidentals now export correctly.
  • Metronome marks with numeric ranges now export correctly.
  • Concert scores with octave-transposing parts such as guitar and piccolo now export correctly.
  • Expressions are now exported as italic text unless overridden in a specific case.
  • Text repeats are now exported as bold text unless overridden in a specific case.
  • Text repeats at the end of a bar are now exported as right-justified.
  • Font size changes within text are now exported.
  • The part name, opus number, and composer dates wildcards are now exported.
  • Plain system text, musical structure text, and timecode text are now exported.
  • Text on blank pages at the end of a score is now exported.
  • Direction placement is now exported for directions that are clearly above or below a staff.
  • The xml:space attribute is now exported for text that contains line breaks.
  • Text preceding metronome marks is now exported more accurately.
  • Metronome marks followed by text are now exported correctly.
  • Text repeats now export with playback in cases with simple repeat structures.
  • Fingerings on notes following grace notes are exported more accurately.
  • Multi-line fingerings are now exported as fingerings rather than text.
  • Hidden time signatures are now exported as hidden.
  • Additive time signatures are now exported.
  • Duplicate slurs starting on single notes are no longer exported.
  • Dynamics mfp and sffzpp are now exported as dynamics rather than text.
  • Dynamics in the Maestro font are now exported correctly.
  • More symbols are exported from Sibelius chord fonts, including the different ALT symbols.
  • Parts that have an ossia staff and octave-transposing clefs now export correctly.
  • Slurs on beamed grace notes at the end of a measure now export correctly.
  • Metronome tempo playback is now exported from ranges like 100-120, using the midpoint of the tempo range.
  • The MusicXML group is now exported, indicating whether a file is a score or a part.
  • Instruments defined with an A# transposition now export the key signature correctly.
  • Export no longer hangs in some rare cases with complex tuplets.

Using Dolet

To save a Sibelius score as a MusicXML file, go to the Plug-ins button (on the Home tab) and find the MusicXML category. Then select the Export MusicXML item.

You can also access the plug-in directly from Command Search, but be certain you select the Dolet version (Plug-in) and not the built-in Sibelius command:

You will then see a standard save dialog box asking where to save the XML file. By default, this will be the same as your existing Sibelius file name, with “.musicxml” used instead of “.sib” for the file extension.

You may translate an entire folder of Sibelius files to MusicXML format. This batch routine will overwrite any MusicXML files with the same name that are currently in that folder. Use the “Translate Folder of Scores to MusicXML” menu item to save MusicXML files from your Sibelius files.

You may translate all the dynamic parts in a Sibelius file to MusicXML format. Use the “Export Parts to MusicXML” menu item to save MusicXML files for each dynamic part. This will export MusicXML part files into the same folder as the currently open score, including the part number and name in each file name. This will overwrite any MusicXML files with the same name that are currently in that folder.

Availability and compatibility

To get Dolet, download it for free from MakeMusic’s MusicXML web site, for either Mac or Windows, and follow the installation instructions. A MakeMusic account is required (free registration).

Dolet 8 for Sibelius only works with Sibelius Ultimate 2019.5 and later. To export MusicXML files from Sibelius 5.1 through Sibelius Ultimate 2019.4.1, you will need to use the Dolet 6 for Sibelius plug-in.

Of course, Sibelius has its own built-in MusicXML export feature, found in File > Export > MusicXML. You should try both methods and compare the results depending on how you intend to use the resulting file. In particular, Dolet 8 for Sibelius is limited to the musical information provided in ManuScript. On the other hand, Dolet 8 has a much richer set of features and up-to-date MusicXML 4.0 support, and is created directly by MakeMusic, which has been supporting MusicXML longer than any notation software company, dating back to Finale 2003, and was the first to implement MusicXML 4.0 support with Finale v27.

MusicXML’s development occurs under the auspices of the W3C Music Notation Community Group.

Listen to the podcast episode

If you’ve ever needed to open a music notation file in a different program, you’ve relied on MusicXML to do it. Michael Good invented this now-ubiquitous established format two decades ago. On the Scoring Notes podcast, David MacDonald and Philip Rothman talk with Michael and find out how it happened. Listen now:

Scoring Notes
Scoring Notes
Michael Good, the inventor of MusicXML



  1. Dave Metzger

    Just wanted to give a giant Thank You shoutout to Michael for all of his work creating and continuing to refine Music XML – it has been a huge part of my workflow for seemingly decades now. Thanks, Michael!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Dave. I second the motion!

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