Sibelius 8.3 Now Available—What’s New

By in Music Creation, Notation

It’s been just more than a month since our last release, and hot on its heels is another release of Sibelius that’s small, but packs a punch. It reintroduces a nice feature, to colour notes independently in a chord, but also extends this to our ManuScript API scripting language for automating the colouring of notes and other objects. In addition to this, there are over 60 other smaller fixes and tweaks to help you get even more out of Sibelius.

If you own Sibelius 8, the upgrade will be waiting for you in your My Avid account, or in the Avid Application Manager installed on your computer. If you haven’t upgraded to Sibelius 8 yet, you can do so from our webstore or from all good retailers. When you upgrade, you not only get Sibelius 8.3, but it also entitles you to a full year of software upgrades.

In summary, here are the improvements in Sibelius 8.3:


Colorful notes

We’ve added the ability to colour notes independently in a chord. In earlier versions of Sibelius, the color applied to any note would affect the whole chord, but with Sibelius 8.3, the notes can be coloured independently. This feature is useful not only for educators to help students learn music in more vibrant and engaging ways, but it’s just as useful in contemporary scores or even for simply marking up a score for editing.

We’ve updated the ManuScript Plug-in language in Sibelius (the built-in scripting language for automating tasks in Sibelius) to take advantage of the new coloring features. As part of this, the Color Pitches and BoomWhacker plug-ins that ship with Sibelius have been updated to use these new methods as well.

These changes have been added without any change to the file format version, so you can can open files saved in Sibelius 8.3, in 8.2 and 8.1. However, when opening scores in 8.2 and earlier, the colors you have applied to notes will be stripped out as those older versions won’t know how to handle the new coloring attributes.

Improvements to Note sliding

In Sibelius 8.2, we introduced an innovative feature to allow you to move notes left and right in the score with two simple keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+Alt+Left and Right, and Cmd+Alt+Left and Right). This handy little feature speeds up editing and note entry and saves valuable time where preparing a score. With Sibelius 8.3, rests that are created and left behind by moving notes, are now cleaned up nicely, so you aren’t left with a trail of rests.

Miscellaneous improvements

  • To track down the problems some users have reported with scrolling and zooming on Macs when using a Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad or a trackpad on a MacBook or MacBookPro, we’ve given the feature an overhaul to resolve these issues. As a result, you should find scrolling and zooming on Mac smoother and generally more responsive. Gestures with three-fingers are now better supported, allowing you to switch windows more easily, for example.
  • A problem where Sibelius 8.2.0 could crash on quit after first launch on a clean system has been fixed
  • Start and end repeat barlines would sometimes appear too thick when written together. These are now lined up correctly as before.
  • Some users reported a problem where note input would stop working when switching scores. This has been fixed.
  • The Sibelius License Server is now supported on Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan
  • When using Reset Design in the score, it no longer affects accidentals in the part. This is a change in behavior from Sibelius 8.2 where resetting the design on a note or larger selection would reset the accidental in the parts too.


What’s Next from Sibelius

The Sibelius development team are already working hard on 8.4, as well as improvements to Sibelius Cloud Publishing, our solution for publishers to sell sheet music online, and our iOS app Avid Scorch, which allows users to take their scores on the go.

More news on these, and more, in due course.

Sibelius 8.3 Now Available

The latest version of the world’s best-selling music notation software is here! Sibelius® 8.3 delivers over 60 improvements, enabling you to compose music more easily and creatively than ever.


As senior product manager at Avid, I work with all the departments in Avid from Design, Development, Sales, Marketing, Legal and Global Services to produce the future of the Sibelius family of products and solutions.
  • Alessandro Ratoci

    Sibelius still crash on playback when virtual instrument are turned off and it happens since sibelius 7!!!!!! (i have 5 computers and it happens in ALL of them) Please give real fix to users, not gimmicks. Turning off virtual instrument is fundamental for those who have large amount of dongle based plugins and cannot wait hours or simply have sibelius crashing during startup check and also have either enough internal ear or just rely on external instruments (by the way the playback is still way behind programming in DAWs). Thanks!

    • Joe Pearson

      Hi Alessandro. Roger that. I’ve noted your comments on our internal bug report and I’ll see what we can do about fixing this in a future release. Joe

      • Alessandro Ratoci

        thank you very much, if you remember we had already an email exchange some months ago, I am at your disposal for more informations, thanks, Alessandro Ratoci

        • Vincent Moto

          I’am new to sibelius, but not to protools , just listening to all the complaints and request makes me wonder if this is a good investment. Sooo many issues and so little time when it’s time to renew your subscription again does any of these issues get addressed before another payment is needed??? Well , Hopefully Avid will address them all and make most of everyone happy.. We have jobs too Avid and we need our tools to be dependable and running efficiently. Just as we are your clients ,we have paying clients too and they need to be satisfied as well.
          So we depend on you guys to provide us with those tools! I don’t like to complain I like to achieve! Hopefully We all can be Achievers too!

          Respectfully, Vincent Moto Sir.

          • JWF

            We all need to focus on solutions, yes.

  • Great new features in this release and in 8 generallly, thank you!

    • Joe Pearson

      Thanks Derek, glad you like them!

  • Ru Abaddon

    I really want to see an update to the UI. I think it looks too much like microsoft word 2007. I think it’s in need of an apperance a bit more modern. Probably not that important to most people, but I’d definitely appreciate something sleeker / more efficient

  • Malcolm Bishop

    lol, “When you upgrade, you not only get Sibelius 8.3, but it also entitles you to a full year of software upgrades.” This makes Sibelius the worst supported app I own at the highest price-point with the least functionality. ALL other apps I’ve purchased provide updates until the end of the version regardless of time and at no charge to the end user. Your generosity is overwhelming Avid!! lol

  • Richie Vitale

    Gentlemen, thx for fixing “overlapping endings with repeats,” which has been a long time coming and fixing “‘repeat lines’ issues” as well as the “note-sliding feature” and “different spelling in score”. Great work!!!

  • Catherino Dolo

    Is the colored notation feature polychromatic – assignment of more than one color per pitch, per score (i.e. C red and C yellow in the same score as differentiated micropitches)? The example above shows only one assigned color per pitch.

  • Wagner

    @disqus_Lf4SxGPmep:disqus When are you going to fix the play back of multiple voices on different staffs? It is quite unacceptable to have a piano piece with treble and bass staffs not playing back the chords. This is a tool for composing right. Putting in note colors are a priority feature seems you do not really understand what composing software should be. When I’m writing music I WANT TO HEAR all notes on all staff lines, if you can play it why can’t you allow this while editing!!

  • Parr NZ

    Hi Sam & Joe. Sib kicks butt, no doubt. The most pressing development for which I am eagerly awaiting is guitar and piano to recognise chord names/symbols and automatically sounding them in default positions, rather than having to notate each chord. I teach composition and each student starting out assumes this is the case, plus although not perfect, this facility would especially benefit novice music writers with limited notation experience as they create progressions and experiment with linear flow within those progressions. My clientele is largely budding guitarists, thus the notation inhibitions.

  • Harald Saevik

    One thing I miss in Sibelius is what I call “free rhythm” just accidentals (a whole lot of it) while playing recitative -like passage. Like you find in Liszt and sometimes Chopin, without the strict bar counting which ruins this…. And after that the composition turns into regular bars with counting. If this is possible , I haven’t found it…

  • Franz-Michael Deimling

    Sorry, there are new bugs since 8.3. The repeat lines are overlapping with the # and b and the acciaccatura is overlapping with the note.

  • Mark Jordan

    I agree with Frank. In fixing the repeat barline width where a barline was both the the end of one repeat and the start of the next it’s introduced a new bug; repeat barlines which start at the beginning of a system now overlap with key signatures. Otherwise nice to see that the rests are now tidied up with the slide feature

  • Publius

    Avid promised that Sibelius 8.3 would allow INDEPENDENT naming of instrument bracket groups (e.g., Clarinets), distinct from the individual instrument name (1, 2, etc.) and automatically justifying between staves. Where is it?????

  • Alan Rosenberg

    Why isn’t Sibelius getting more involved with Soundsets like for the TYROS 5 so that your product caters to Professional Arrangers who need to hear the sounds of their keyboard instrument?

  • Dennis G

    AS Sibelius is British software, when will you have the same option as other software for spelling to be in UK English and not American?

  • Dennis G

    Where can I find the differences between Sib 7.5 and Sib 8+?
    p.s. I’ve had every version of Sibelius since it was on the Archimedes computer decades ago 🙂

  • When selecting the top note of a chord (or bottom) for deletion, Sibelius does a great jog of deleting the notes UNLESS they are in a tuplet. Sibelius then just deletes the entire tuplet. Can we get this fixed. It costs me a lot of time. I would just use auto arrange for splitting out parts but that never works the same way each time.

  • PAUL R

    Paul R

    how do I create multi rests with parts with Sibelius 8.3/?????

  • Pi Facz

    Seriously… Did anyone actually request rainbow-colored notes??? What about fixing the nagging glitches and missing features that we’ve been complaining about instead of wasting time peddling useless flashy gimmicks? You can start with rehauling that God-awful “Playskool” scatterbrained interface.

    • Steve Wyrick

      I actually had a need for these a couple weeks ago, unfortunately was still on Sib 7.5! Now that I’ve upgraded, will probably never need this feature again!

  • Chris Saji

    hi could anyone help? i want to write arabic music, not oriental, what i mean is to flip the layout from left start to right start.
    i want to retrograde all page not just the note.

    • Abdeldjalil Bensiahmed

      same problem

  • Dane

    Please make the Surface Pro 4 Pen compatible with Sibelius for the next update. I-bought SP4 for pen use specifically

  • windypointmusic

    Hi all

    I am way behind here but am using Sibelius 5 and have just upgraded my OS to El Capitan. Having real issues can anyone suggest a way around this. I haven’t used time machine so can’t easily revert back and am not earning again now till Oct so can’t really afford to upgrade Sibelius. Any help would be much appreciated.

  • Ellen Johnson

    Hello, I tried everything I could think of to get Sibelius 8.3 to talk to Logic ProX via Rewire, unsuccessfully. It did work with an older version of Logic Pro. Any thoughts?

  • Matheus Bianchi Reis

    It would be very good being able to create –> CUSTOM KEY SIGNATURES

  • Petrus Opswehr

    The only positive thing I can say about Sibelius is that it’s not Finale, which is a ridiculous relic stuck in the 90s. The state of “professional” music notation software is absolutely pitiful. The workflow and layout of Sibelius is terrible. If you don’t follow some counter-intuitive procedure to do just a simple task, it unpredictably knock things out of whack and even crash. There are still annoying bugs and glitches that have been unresolved for three or more years. Unless someone is clever enough to find a workaround you’re basically crap out of luck because Avid won’t fix it. You know a program is junk when someone wrote over 300 plugins for it! Most of the functions are so basic that it should have been part of the core program from the beginning.

    Yes, I know that I’m ranting and raving but it’s so aggravating to spending hours dealing with glitches, crashes, and trying to find solutions while you’re trying to push out a job. Since there’s no real competitive products, there’s zero incentive for Avid to improve the Sibelius. But I will tell you this, Avid. I won’t spend another nickel on upgrades until you fix the problems you have been ignoring for years. If the rest of the music community followed suit, maybe you will get the message when you see you coffers dwindle to nothing.

  • Richard Lawn

    I just had a system crash and had to do a clean install of Win 10. In the past I’ve not found it easy to get support on how to reinstall an authorized copy under my license. Any suggestions. rjlawn at gmail dot com