NAMM 2019: Sibelius 2019.1 released with Review Mode, Avid Link


Note: All this week, we’ll be publishing posts from the 2019 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. It’s a huge exhibition, so we’ll focus on what we do best: covering the field of music notation software and related technology. Follow all of our NAMM 2019 coverage at Scoring Notes.

In this post, we cover Sibelius 2019.1, the first update to Sibelius in 2019, coinciding with the opening of the NAMM show.

Today Avid released Sibelius 2019.1, the latest update to Sibelius. The primary new feature is the introduction of a Review Mode which locks the score to prevent unintended editing. The release also replaces the Avid Application Manager with the new Avid Link app, also officially released today after an extensive public beta period, for users to manage their Avid account, licensing, subscription, and more.

There are no new engraving or notation features in Sibelius 2019.1. This is the first release of the year for Sibelius, in conjunction with the first day of the 2019 NAMM Show, where you’ll find Sibelius on display at the Avid booth, number 15502, in the Anaheim Convention Center’s North Hall.

Review Mode

Sibelius 2019.1 introduces Review Mode, allowing you to view and play back a Sibelius score without the fear of accidentally changing anything (by an unintentional mouse drag or keystroke, for example).

It’s quite straightforward; simply click Review Mode in the Ribbon in Review > Restrictions, or click the icon found in the status bar…

…or you can also check Review Mode in the Backstage area of File > Info:

Sibelius will display a dialog (which you can optionally bypass) once Review Mode is selected, telling you that the score is locked.

The icon for Review Mode doesn’t change from an unlocked to a locked icon as you might expect; rather the icon itself is always a “lock” image and the area is colored yellow to indicate that Review Mode is active.

The title bar also changes to indicate “Review Mode”.

When Review Mode is enabled, you can freely move around in the score, zoom in and out, and play back the score. The effect is very similar to moving around a previous version of the score in Review > Versions; indeed, you can basically think of Review Mode as an extension of that feature, applied to the current version.

The full suite of printing options are also available in Review Mode.

In Sibelius 2019.1, it is not possible to annotate, comment or highlight in a locked score. Hopefully Avid will make this possible in the future, so that collaboration can be enriched without the risk of altering the score.

It should be noted that this is not a password-protection feature to prevent unauthorized changes to a Sibelius score or unauthorized printing; anyone can simply toggle the status. The purpose of Review Mode is to encourage collaboration while preventing an unintended slip of the mouse or keyboard from destroying meticulous work, presumably in the late stages of score preparation.

Further, scores saved in 2019.1 with Review Mode active, and opened in an earlier version of Sibelius back to 8.6 will open without Review Mode. Finally, activating or deactivating Review Mode will “dirty” the score, meaning that the score must be saved in order for any changes to Review Mode to be effective.

Playback and Timeline enhancements

A few modest improvements to playback and the Timeline have made their way into Sibelius 2019.1.

There is a new Replay Line that displays the location from which you can initiate playback (done by typing Alt-Space on Mac or Ctrl+Space on PC). The visibility of the replay line, which is a dashed green line, can be toggled in View > Invisibles.

The playback line and the replay line will also show in the Timeline. Further, the Show Repeats option which unfolds repeats in the Timeline is now part of the Timeline’s Default preference set.

This feature has always existed since the introduction of the Timeline in Sibelius 7.5, but users may not have been aware of it since it was off by default. If you want the Timeline to not show repeats, you’ll need to create a custom Timeline preference set in File > Preferences > Timeline.

The replay line and playback line in the score and Timeline in Sibelius 2019.1

Snuck into 2019.1 is a new Play at Half-Speed option, found in the Ribbon in Play > Transport (though not in the Transport window itself), which could be useful for a more careful review of scores.

Avid Link

Avid Link is Avid’s new way for users to manage their Avid account, licensing, and subscription. You can also find news, direct message other Avid users, or chat in one of the various lounges. Avid Link replaces the Avid Application Manager, which no one will miss.

Avid Link is integrated into Sibelius 2019.1 through File > Avid Link.

When you run the Sibelius 2019.1 installer, it will automatically remove any previous installation of Avid Application Manager and install Avid Link instead. Avid says that Avid Link will continue to be compatible with older products.

Whether Avid Link will actually be used as a collaboration tool is anyone’s guess, but its availability as a mobile app should help. Hopefully at a minimum it will be an improvement over Avid Application Manager in terms of the basic functions of managing one’s product registration.

Other fixes and availability

Sibelius 2019.1 includes various fixes to problems, some of which were introduced in the recent 2018.11 update that was rebuilt in Qt5:

  • All dialog pop-up messages now respond on letter input from keyboard to choose Yes, No, Cancel and so on. This fix was only on Windows
  • When Sibelius is running in a narrow window, the Text Style menu is now correctly layered in front of the sub-ribbon
  • The correct font variant is being used once more on Mac (e.g. Myriad Semibold became Regular) etc.
  • Font substitution is working correctly once more with fonts with extra styles (e.g. Optima > ExtraBlack)
  • EPS and PICT options have been removed from the Convert Folder of Scores to Graphics plugin
  • Sibelius could, in some cases, crash when using the batch processing plug-ins. This now no longer happens
  • TIF images are now the correct size when imported into a score
  • The dimensions of a video no longer reset after starting playback on Mac
  • The video dimension are also now correct when reopening the Video window on Mac
  • Part extraction works well once more. There was a problem when extracting a single part, the extracted part was opened in another window that couldn’t be edited until main window was closed

The Sibelius 2019.1 update is free for all Sibelius users with active subscriptions and upgrade plans. The updated installers are available through users’ Avid accounts.


  1. Bob Zawalich

    Thanks for providing your usual detailed review, pointing out both the benefits and drawbacks of a new version.

    People have asked for something like Review mode for a long time. I can see it being really useful when you are comparing scores. For giving to someone else for review I might think it might be safer to still send a PDF, but with Review Mode a user could play back. Seems like a step forward.

    Have a good time at NAAM.

  2. Rick Bassett

    Review mode seems like it could be really helpful for sharing files with a collaborator or client who is less familiar with Sibelius, but would like to hear playback with the score. As Philip points out, it would yet more helpful to be able to add comments and highlights in review mode without affecting the underlying music for easy interaction with collaborators/clients. Thanks Philip for another review that gets right to the point!

  3. Derek Williams

    There’s a bug been reported on the Avid Sibelius Facebook page, where the X to close the Part tabs has disappeared from the tabs. If you click in the area where the X once was, the Part window still closes, and there are other ways to close them, but clearly this is not to spec. I presume they’ll get out a version 2019.2 at some point to address this.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Derek. Yes, that indeed appears to be a bug. Thankfully it’s cosmetic and, as you said, the windows can still be closed by clicking in the space or by the shortcut. Also, a shout-out for Bob’s Open Selected Parts plug-in, which may help with larger scores.

  4. Brian S Monroe

    The link program has already shown a few worms in paradise. Although it had no difficulty downloading the update, it kept failing on the install process. There was unfortunately no error message stating “why” the install failed. I finally went direct to the download folder (it is in one of the tabs of the link program) and installed it from there. It worked. Even with this it is still a lot better than the app manager.

  5. Eduardo Montiel

    Please Review Mode with password, Thanks from Argentina!

  6. Fredy Marius

    I want to know if Sibelius 7 Sound comes installed in sibelius 2019.1?

  7. Fredy Marius

    I m in the way to get Sibelius Ultimate, but first I need know if it include Sibelius 7 Sound, if not how can I get it

  8. Bronislaw Suchanek

    How to get out of the review mode and get back to the score?

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