Sibelius 6 users: beware of Mac OS X 10.6.7 update

The latest big cat has claws

Update –- 26 April 2011
Apple have released a fix for this problem, which is available now from Software Update. Read all about it.

Original post — 29 March 2011
If you are running Sibelius 6.2 on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, beware that some users are reporting fairly serious problems relating to font handling in the latest update, Mac OS X 10.6.7, which was released last week.

Symptoms in Sibelius include text unexpectedly being coloured red, Magnetic Layout’s way of warning that it is colliding with something, even though it’s not, and magnetic slurs ending up in very strange, contorted shapes, again apparently as the result of trying to avoid a collision with something. Other symptoms, not limited to Sibelius but also occurring with other applications, include problems with font embedding in PDF files, or problems opening PDF files in applications like Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat (although Mac OS X’s built-in Preview application can normally open these PDFs without problems).

The underlying cause appears to be a change in the way Mac OS X handles OpenType fonts with PostScript outlines, and the music fonts supplied with Sibelius 6.2 are indeed in this particular format. The issue is discussed in some detail at

If you find yourself affected by this problem, there are three known solutions available to you:

  • Clean your system font caches, e.g. using a utility like OnyX, as described here.
  • Switch to using the TrueType data fork fonts designed for use on Macs where Sibelius 6 and Sibelius 5 have to be co-installed, available here.
  • Roll back to Mac OS X 10.6.6, which involves reinstalling from your retail Snow Leopard DVD-ROM or the system DVD-ROM you received with your Mac, then updating back up to Mac OS X 10.6.6 via the Update Combo.

For the time being, if you have the option, my recommendation would be to avoid the Mac OS X 10.6.7 update until a more permanent solution is made available.

We have notified Apple of this problem, and I expect several other software vendors have been in touch with them about it too. As more information becomes available, I will provide an update here.


  1. Steve W

    I’m relieved to say I’ve experienced no problems with the 10.6.7 update using Sibelius 6.2 on my MacBook Pro–if I’d seen this warning earlier I would have thought twice about updating. But I’m guessing that since I’ve previously had both Sibelius 4 and 5 installed on this machine prior to upgrading, I may be protected against the font issue.

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      If you’re already using the TrueType data fork format fonts, you will indeed not see this problem: it affects OpenType fonts with PostScript outlines only (and all such fonts, not just the ones supplied with Sibelius).

  2. P A

    I am using Sibelius 6.2 with Vienna Ensemble and have been unable to get audio output since the update to OS X 10.6.7. I am wondering if this is a known issue or if there are any solutions. I have reverted to Sibelius Sounds for the time being, which seems to work fine.

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      I’m not aware of any specific problems with VSL and Mac OS X 10.6.7. I suggest you reach out to the folks at VSL to see if they know anything about this.

  3. Steve W

    Actually I take it back. I wasn’t having trouble until I upgraded to Adobe Reader 10, then I started seeing misshapen winged repeat signs. Your solution of switching to TrueType data fork fonts solved the issue! Thanks!!

  4. Christian

    Thanks so much for this. Switching things out to TrueType worked!!

  5. Trevor Gordon

    Since the update my repeat signs have no dots. With Sibelius telephone help I changed fonts and this seemed to fix the problem. But when reopened Sibelius later the problem was back.

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      You may need to clear your font caches again, as described here.

  6. Samuel

    I’m glad people have identified the problem and hope either Avid or Apple fix it. On the plus side, 10.6.6 broke my M-Audio USB Interface but 10.6.7 fixed it! I guess having one work is better than none…sigh. Thanks for being such a useful Sibelius Blogger!

  7. Arthur Schroeck

    I’m having the problem. How do we correct the OS X 10.6.7 problem?

  8. Peter Espada

    Yes! All of a sudden, my .sib files are messed up–notations out of place, text and chord symbols turned red, and I could not create .pdf files–they all appeared blank!! And I am in the middle of the last week of an arranging course at I was able to salvage a .pdf file and hand it in as my final assignment, but all my other files are messed up and anything created new is the same. I will dial back to 6.6 and see if it fixes things. What a panic it has been!

  9. Arthur Schroeck

    Thanks figured it out.

  10. Christopher Homick

    Thank you for this post! I have been tearing my hair out due to my lack of ability to print parts. I think it’s a font embedding issue. At least now, I know the problem.

    Will try some of these fixes and report back!

  11. Wheat Williams

    I know about the larger Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard font issues, going back to when Sibelius 6.0 first came out–Apple’s been trying to evolve their font specifications and going back a year ago or more, as I recall, Apple announced that support for certain kinds of TrueType and OpenType fonts was marked to be depricated. But with 10.6.7 it looks like Apple took an unexpected step sideways and didn’t clearly document what they were going to do.

    However, why didn’t the Sibelius developers catch this new incompatibility before it happened? Was it not their usual practice to test Sibelius against the pre-release versions of 10.6.7 developer builds? The problems are not only with PDF files you generate and open elsewhere. The problems are immediately obvious and visible within Sibelius documents themselves, opened inside Sibelius.

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      We didn’t see the problem before Mac OS X 10.6.7 was released because it doesn’t manifest on all systems, or at least it doesn’t manifest under all circumstances. We can only reliably reproduce the problem on one of the machines in our office.

      There seems to be something time-bound about it, concerning when the system cleans up its font caches, which is perhaps why some users report the problem returning after cleaning their font caches.

      Ultimately you need to remember that this is Apple’s bug, not Sibelius’s, and we don’t have all the information. We have done what application vendors should do in this situation, namely figure out as best we can what is happening and submit a bug report with a reproducible case, but after that, it’s down to Apple to fix this up.

  12. Joseph Hallman

    clearing the font cache worked for me. fixed the issue after clearing font cahce and restarting Sibelius. Thanks!

  13. Rex Thomas

    While checking on updates I noticed the problem about the same time I discovered this blog. So, without knowing any better I shot straight to OnyX, downloaded, followed the instructions. Nutshell, on OnyX’s restart the problem didn’t go away, so I just dealt with it. However, I had to walk away for awhile, so I closed all, slept the Mac, came back an hr. later, restarted, now it’s normal; no red letters, no tie/slur issues, nothing.
    Maybe it’s going to hit me again, but so far it’s back to smooth sailing.
    So for me it was using OnyX then the 2nd restart.
    Thankew for the guidance!

  14. Rex Thomas

    Yeah, it hit again, but it’s really not a major issue to me, now that I’ve got OnyX. At least there’s a way to “treat” the problem. I have had what I consider some major problems in the past, especially with saving as pdf’s, & they got fixed fairly quick on OS X updates.
    Hoping that Apple will get on this as well.
    Thankew again!

  15. Rex Thomas

    FWIW, I found that turning off magnetic layout is a temporary fix.

  16. Steve M

    I’ve ran into serious trouble over this. My clients can’t even open most of the PDFs I send them now, and when they can they have major problems. Sadly, none of the solutions above have worked for me, but I haven’t yet rolled back to 10.6.6.
    I have three macs and they’ll all updated.

    Thanks for posting this Daniel, and please keep us informed.

    OK, where is my old XP machine….

  17. Justin

    Here is the easiest workaround, save the file to a pdf, open it in finder, save it as a jpeg with quality to the max and pixel resolution cranked to 700+ minimum. This will be printable.

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      Justin, I appreciate you taking the time to post, but in my opinion this is a terrible workaround! You’d be better off following any one of the three workarounds I’ve provided in the main body of this post than doing this.

  18. Lucas

    i’m seriously stuck now. the problem was happening to me on and off, but i decided to go ahead and try the onyx thing. now, when i opened up a score, instead of seeing notes and musical symbols, all i saw were greek and numerical symbols!!! i even restarted both my computer and sibelius several times and the same thing… any help?!

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      Try using the fonts from instead.

  19. Pete Jacobs

    My PDF files created from Sibelius would crash when opened by Acrobat or Acrobat Reader. Sometimes they would open okay under Mac Preview, but sometimes not. In any case, I took my computer to the Apple Store and they re-installed Mac OS 10.6.6 on my machine (in retrospect, I could have done that myself pretty easily, but I was afraid to try it). Everything is better now. No problems with PDF files. THAT IS THE FIX. I think that Sibelius will need to overhaul their Opus, Inkpen, Inkpen2, Reprise, and Helsinki fonts to conform to the new Apple Font Standard.

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      There’s nothing wrong with the OpenType fonts provided with Sibelius. The problem is with Mac OS X 10.6.7, not with either Sibelius or its fonts. The same problem affects very popular OpenType font families such as the Minion Pro and Myriad Pro families from Adobe — do you think the solution for Adobe would be to go and “overhaul” their fonts? I don’t think they’d take too kindly to that suggestion, and quite rightly.

  20. Steve M

    Is there no way to turn a part/chart into PDF within Sibelius?? Please don’t say that there isn’t…

    I’m having to get around this stupid Apple bug by taking my sib files to my Windows machine (which is a mac running windows in bootcamp) and using PDF Creator (Free).

    For some reason though, Sibelius isn’t running great on the Mac (with Windows).

    Christ I’m sick of this mess about.

  21. Steve M

    I contacted Apple last week and after explaining the problem one of their (very helpful) support team said he would look into it and get back to me on Monday, (today) which he did. He said that engineering at Apple are aware of the problem of the displaying of open type fonts in 10.6.7 and are currently working on a resolution. No time available as yet but an update will be available soon.

    That I thought was good news.

    I rolled back my three machines to 10.6.6 and I have to say that it was very easy.

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