Use the Reference Guide and other help documents outside of Sibelius


When I first started learning Sibelius years ago, the printed manual was invaluable. I took it with me everywhere and pored through the pages whenever I had a free moment, including many times when I wasn’t even near a computer.

As the program’s capabilities have expanded, the manual (officially the Reference Guide) has grown larger. To save printing and shipping costs, however, Avid has stopped including the printed manual with the software.

Reading the manual on a computer monitor does not have the portability or ease that I wistfully recall in those earlier days. But now, in the age of iPads and other tablets, you can once again take the manual with you without even opening Sibelius, or have it beside you while you work in the program, saving space on your monitor.

You just need to know where to find the Reference Guide (and other Help documentation). You can download them here for free, and then load them onto your preferred device.

You can, alternatively, locate the semi-secret location of the Help documentation on your computer, which will be fully up-to-date, provided you have the latest version of Sibelius:

  • On Mac: Find the Sibelius application in the Applications folder. Right-click (or control-click) it and select “Show Package Contents”. From there, navigate to Contents>Resources.
  • On PC: Find the folder C:\ProgramData\Avid\Sibelius\Resources.
  • From here, it’s the same on either platform: Find the folder for your desired language (English is named “en.lproj”), then in that folder, it’s in Sibelius Help.

Copy any desired documents to your tablet. Don’t move the originals out of this folder, though! Sibelius won’t be able to access them from within the application if you do so.

There are plenty of PDF readers out there. Here’s a screenshot from GoodReader on iPad:

The Sibelius Reference on iPad, using GoodReader

After doing this, you may find yourself less nostalgic for the old bound manuals after all, as the benefits of the PDF easily translate to the tablet, including bookmarked sections and hyperlinks throughout the documentation.


  1. Robert Puff

    Very helpful article, Philip! Cool idea to download the PDF to your tablet as an always available reference.

    Earlier versions of Sibelius did not offer a public link to its reference guide online, (in contrast, Finale has maintained its full reference guide online in searchable HTML format for several versions now) so it’s good to finally see the reference guide for Sibelius 7 available as a downloadable PDF.


  2. Tim Parkin

    I have been doing as suggested here for a couple of years now since I got my first iPad. I have numerous manuals on it, including Sibelius. I also use GoodReader which is an excellent PDF reader and well worth the few £s it costs.

  3. Ludwig Nussbichler

    You can also open the reference in Sibelius and save it directly to p.e. dropbox instead of searching in the Programs “Package Content”.

  4. Chris Wimlett

    Yes, a very helpful article, Philip, thanks. Another nice thing about GoodReader is the ease with which you can create folders to organise PDFs on your iPad.

  5. carlos

    Hello, i have a copy of sibelius first 7.
    I´ts possible run de program in my windows and my macbook pro retina 13?

  6. Roger

    I have a somewhat different issue with Reference Guide – even though I have Adobe Reader as default for opening pdf, Sibelius 7 won’t open automatically. I don’t have same issue with help attached to any other application!


  7. Phil Glover

    I inadvertently turned off the barlines (Sibelius 7.5) in a piece I am writing; how do I get those barlines to reappear? I can’t seem find it in the reference guide.

  8. Phil Glover

    I inadvertantly turned off the bar lines (Sibelius7.5) in a piece I am writing How do you get the bar lines to reappear? I can’t seem to find it in the reference guide.


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