Among the most significant improvements in this release are substantial performance improvements to both screen redraw and editing speed, improved support for 64-bit ReWire hosts, support for MusicXML 3.0 in both import and export, and changes in the way the single document interface works when closing score windows.
Read on for more information about the Sibelius 7.1 update, but if you want to get straight down to business, here are the links you need:
- Read the full list of changes in Sibelius 7.1.2
- Download the Sibelius 7.1.1 update
- Download the Sibelius 7 Sounds update for Sibelius 7.1.2
Alternatively, you can simply open any score in your copy of Sibelius 7, then click Check For Updates on the Help page of the File tab.
Despite being rebuilt from the ground up as a 64-bit application, Sibelius 7 was often slower in operation on the same hardware than, say, Sibelius 6, in terms of editing speed (especially for text on Mac) and general screen redraw. We’ve made improvements in several areas in Sibelius 7.1.2 and the performance of the application is now directly comparable with Sibelius 6 – and in terms of pure screen redraw speed, in general Sibelius 7 is now faster than Sibelius 6.
Windows XP support
When Sibelius 7 was released, we dropped support for Windows XP so that we could concentrate our efforts on supporting the latest Windows technologies, such as DirectWrite and Aero, both of which are only available in Windows Vista or later. However, we have received lots of feedback from people who want to upgrade to or buy Sibelius 7, but are unable to because upgrading to Windows 7 isn’t feasible. For these people, we’ve restored Windows XP support to Sibelius 7.1.2. XP users won’t get the full Sibelius 7 experience (e.g. DirectWrite text measurement and rendering isn’t available, and the Quick Access Toolbar draws on a strip above the ribbon rather than directly on the window title bar as it does in Aero), and because there’s no 64-bit Windows XP support, use of the included Sibelius 7 Sounds library will be somewhat impractical, but they can now take advantage of all of the other great new features in Sibelius 7.
Improved MusicXML support
Sibelius 7 now exports MusicXML 3.0 files, including the latest additions to the format for describing the individual sounds and playback devices used by a score. We’ve also fixed a number of important bugs in MusicXML export, and we’ve spruced up MusicXML import as well, both allowing Sibelius to import MusicXML 3.0 files without throwing any errors (though Sibelius does not yet explicitly support any of the new MusicXML 3.0 features on import) and also taking care of some page layout problems for scores created by MusicXML import.
Improved locale support
Users running with non-English regional settings will be pleased to know that Sibelius now respects the number formats specified by your operating system’s regional settings throughout the application. For example, if you’re in France or Germany, Sibelius now correctly allows the use of comma (,) as the decimal mark, and a space as the thousands separator, making it much easier to read and type floating point numbers on the ribbon, in dialogs, and the Inspector. (Unfortunately, for deep-rooted technical reasons, this support does not extend to dialogs displayed by ManuScript plug-ins, but plug-ins that present floating point values to you are few and far between.)
Single document interface improvements
Document tabs in a Sibelius score window can now be re-ordered simply by dragging them left or right, and you can even “tear off” a tab to open the contents of that tab in an entirely new window, simply by dragging the tab up or down until the mouse pointer shows a Sibelius score icon under the grabber hand. Release the mouse somewhere else, and your chosen tab opens as a new window.
There are also improvements to how Sibelius behaves on Windows when you close the last tab in the last open document window: rather than quitting the application (if you have switched off the option to show the Quick Start window again after closing the last score), Sibelius disables all of the controls in the ribbon and allows you to open a score via the File > Recent tab, or indeed via File > Open, or to start a new one via File > New. This new mode of operation is very similar to how e.g. the most recent versions of Microsoft Word behave.
There are plenty of other improvements, too, some of which I’ll follow up in future posts. Don’t forget to check out the complete list of fixes and improvements.
If you’ve not yet upgraded to Sibelius 7, there’s never been a better time. Sibelius 7.1.2 has the benefit of hundreds of accumulated fixes and improvements in previous maintenance releases, and delivers substantial improvements in performance to boot. If you haven’t tried Sibelius 7 yet, the 30-day trial version has been updated to Sibelius 7.1.2 as well.
If you’re already using Sibelius 7, you should update as soon as you’ve finished your current project (never update in the middle of a project!). You can find the download in the Sibelius Help Center.