Reduce file size by pruning unneeded versions and parts


In our ever-expanding internet, bandwidth and storage can appear to be limitless. But if you have a slow connection or are paying for data by the megabyte, size matters.

Fortunately, Sibelius files are fairly compact: on the small end, a nine-page piano-vocal score that I recently worked on, of about four minutes in duration, was a mere 75 KB. Even large files, like a 62-minute first act of an opera full score, 252 pages in length, including a full set of 28 dynamic parts was only 2.2 MB.

So when I recently received a 35-page score for 5 players that weighed in at 5.7 MB, I knew that was an anomaly.

If your files are similarly bloated, the culprit is almost certainly having many versions of the score embedded in the file.

Versions, if you aren’t aware, are part of the Review tab in Sibelius 7 and 7.5. Versions are a convenient way of saving drafts of your work as you make progress in a score, in case you decide later to restore something you had changed earlier in your process. However, because each version is essentially a copy of the entire score stored within the same file as your existing score, your file can grow quickly if you have many such copies.

Versions are created whenever you click Review > Versions > New Version. I would wager that most users don’t make a regular habit of doing this; rather, their versions are created by default whenever a file is closed.

You can check to see if this is the case by going to File > Preferences > Versions. If you don’t want Sibelius to automatically create a new version, uncheck Create a new version when closing the score in the dialog:


This only affects subsequent behavior; it won’t affect any existing files. So, now what to do with all of those versions in your existing score?

Go to Review > Versions > Edit Versions. You’ll see a list of all the versions in your file. The above-referenced 5.7 MB file had 38 previous versions!


I deleted all of them by clicking on Version 38, scrolling down to Version 1, and Shift-clicking that version to highlight all of them. I then clicked Delete, and clicked Yes, I was sure. You could also delete them one-by-one, or Command-click (Mac) or Ctrl+click (PC) to cherry-pick only the versions you wish to delete.

After doing so, my 5.7 MB file became a much more manageable 202 KB — less than 4% of its original heft.

The other way you can slim down your files is to get rid of any unnecessary parts in your file. By default, Sibelius creates a set of Dynamic Parts for each score created. But if you don’t plan on working with parts in your file, or if there are extra parts you don’t need, go to Parts > Delete Part. Select the parts you wish to delete, and click OK.


Parts aren’t quite as bulky as versions when it comes to files size, but the savings is still significant. Plus, having additional parts in a file can be confusing if you don’t plan on using them.


  1. Peter

    Philip, your article on deleting versions is quiet good. I enjoyed reading it. I went to versions in a score that I have and it didn’t show any versions and I know there are some. Why didn’t it show any versions and where do you see the size of the file?

  2. Neil Sands

    I always make sure I delete old versions and unwanted parts before uploading a Scorch file to the web. Makes it much faster for the file to download in the Scorch player for visitors.

  3. Ron Puente

    thanks again! Great post. Ron.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Ron! Good tip from Neil. To Peter: I’m not sure why the versions wouldn’t show. Have you clicked the “+” tab on the very far-right-hand side of the Ribbon? That would also show you all the versions present in your score, as well as all the parts as well.

  4. Bob Zawalich

    There are a few free downloadable plugins that help with this, especially if you want to process a folder of scores.

    Jan Kok’s Delete Versions in Folder (category Other) will delete all versions in the current score, all open scores, or a folder of score. As far as I can tell, it does not make a copy of the scores, but removes the versions from the current scores, then saves the changed scores.

    Bob Zawalich’s Export Scores With No Parts (category Batch Processing) will delete all parts from the current score, all open scores, or a folder of scores, and the most recent version has an option to remove versions as well. Note that this plugin makes copies of the original scores, leaving the originals unchanged.

    Finally, Export Selection As Score (category Batch Processing) will create a copy of a score consisting of only the selected portion of the score. The resulting score will have its versions removed, though parts will not be removed.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Bob: Excellent tips, all! Thanks.

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