Sibelius plug-ins: Save and Export and Save With Previous Version


One of the conundrums of working with modern software is compatibility of the file format among different versions. If you work on your own, it’s not much of an issue. But if you collaborate with other people, things can get hairy pretty quickly if you’re working in Sibelius 7.5 and your colleague is working in Sibelius 7, and you want to send files back and forth.

There are quite a few people in just this predicament — myself included. (I’m currently copying a show with 28 songs; I’m working in 7.5.1 and the orchestrator is working in 7.1.3.) Of course, Sibelius has always supported exporting to previous versions, but you have to navigate to File > Export > Previous Version to do it, then you have to manually name the file each time.

Wouldn’t it be great if, at the same time you saved your Sibelius 7.5 score, you could save a Sibelius 7 score and keep right on working?

Amazingly, Bob Zawalich has come up with the perfect solution. It’s one of two newly available plug-ins, and it’s called Save With Previous Version. Just install it and assign a keystroke shortcut to it for maximum efficiency. It saves the current score and simultaneously exports a copy of the score in the previous version of Sibelius. The exported file is in the same folder as the original score, and overwrites any file with the same name. There are no options and no dialog will appear, so you can get right on with your work.

The result in your folder, thus, is something like this:


Now, that’s great, but say your collaborator isn’t even working in Sibelius; they’re working in Finale and so they need a MusicXML file, or maybe they don’t even have notation software and you need to create a PDF.

No problem! You’ll want the other half of the plug-in duo: Save and Export. It saves the current score and simultaneously exports one or more copies of the score in an earlier version of Sibelius and/or in PDF or MusicXML format. The exported files are in the same folder as the original score, and overwrite any files with the same name.


The plug-in will display a dialog the first time it is run in a Sibelius session, and you can choose the output format(s) you want and to which earlier version to save. The dialog can be hidden for the rest of the Sibelius session.

If you select all the options above, you’ll wind up with five files, like this:


Again, assign this plug-in a shortcut and you’ll be an exporting machine. Bob wrote up the inspiration and history of this plug-in in a post on the help forum.

Save and Export and Save With Previous Version may be downloaded directly through Sibelius 7 and higher at File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins > Engravers’ Tools. Users may also install them manually in Sibelius 6 or higher by visiting the plug-in download page and following the usual manual installation procedure, or by using the Install New Plug-in plug-in.


  1. Andrei

    All hail the truly amazing, our great treasure, Bob Zawalich!!!

  2. Bob Zawalich

    I note that you will find both these plug-ins under the name Save and Export. If you use the Sib 7 installer just install Save and Export and it will install both plugins.

  3. Kenneth Gaw

    Thanks a lot Bob. This is really useful.

  4. Peter McAleer

    Thanks Bob! Brilliant! Philip, I would say this is also essential for those working alone too, especially in the present climate. XML export seems the only safe way of guarding your work against the kind of mess Avid has made of things for us composers!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Good point, Peter!

  5. Max Tofone

    Thanks a million Bob for your amazing work!

  6. Gareth Glyn

    I have v6, and thought the PDF save would be useful. However, when I try to use the plug-in, I get the message “New plugins/SaveAndExport::Run.66:Score.ExportScoreAsPDF – Unknown method”. Any advice welcomed.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Gareth: Maybe Bob can weigh in. PDF exporting isn’t built into 6, so I suspect that’s the reason.

  7. Bill

    My question would be why on earth doesn’t the orchestrator have 7.5.1? Not very professional…

    1. Philip Rothman

      I think in this case, it’s out of an abundance of caution — the old warning to not upgrade your system in the middle of a project.

  8. Andrei

    Bill, lots of Sibelius users prefer to stay with 7.1.3, as it’s the last iteration from Daniel’s team…

    1. Philip Rothman

      Could be that, as well.

  9. Bob Zawalich

    Save and Export does require 7.1.3 (PDF and XML export both need SIb 7). The documentation does state this, but a check in the code for the Sibelius version was wrong, and allowed it to run in 6. That has been corrected, and the plugin now on the download page will not run in 6.
    sorry for any inconvenience.

    Save As Previous version can run in sib 6.

    1. Gareth Glyn

      Ah, got it. Thanks.

  10. Gareth Glyn

    I never got to like the look and feel of v7, but the gap is now beginning to show (what with plug-ins and the like) – where’s the best place to upgrade from in the UK?

    1. Bob Zawalich

      I suspect you could get an answer quicker on the Sib support forum.

      1. Gareth Glyn

        You’re right, of course. I think I forgot where I was for a minute.

  11. Melinda Yin

    Yes, this is wonderful. Thank you! Thinking of moving to Montreal with the recent news?

  12. pierre luniere

    Hi All,

    I have a similar issue, I suspect with Sibelius First, where my 2 collaborators are working with 7.1 & I’ve just purchased 7.5 & recently updated to 7.8. Prior ro my last update I believe they could still read my scores. I am also not able to read scores generated in 7.8 in my current IOS 10 [ipad 2] version 1.5.4 of Scorch.
    Any news or work-arounds for us?
    Kind Regards, pierre, Wendy & Clio

  13. Alan

    I have Sibelius First 2020.3 and have some files that I would like to send to a friend who has Sibelius 7. However, the File/Export function in Sibelius First doesn’t offer the opportunity to export to an ealier version if Sibelius. What options do I have to enable my friend to open the .sib files I have created?

    1. Philip Rothman

      You’ll need to use either Sibelius or Sibelius Ultimate. See this comparison, and click “Exporting and sharing”, and see “Previous version export” in the table.

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