File Formats

Music notation can be stored in a variety of formats. We offer the information below to all interested but especially to those who wish to import music notation from various sources into the Lime notation editor that comes with the GOODFEEL Braille Music Translator from Dancing Dots. The ultimate goal is to provide blind musicians with an accessible version of a music score which they can learn by reviewing with Lime Aloud and GOODFEEL. Numerous options for notation interchange and music OCR are described below. Please e-mail us if you have suggestions or corrections.

Image File Format Features


BMP (Bitmap)


Music File Format Features




Programs and their File Formats


SharpEye only reads single-page TIFF and BMP files. SharpEye reads these image files and converts them to NIFF (currently best for Lime), MusicXML and MIDI.


Lime is a music notation editor that can import NIFF, MusicXML and MIDI files. Lime's NIFF importer is currently better than its MusicXML and MIDI importer. More information about Lime and MusicXML can be found at Lime's MusicXML Import.


GOODFEEL is a braille music translator that can read Lime and MIDI files.

PhotoScore Ultimate

PhotoScore Ultimate will convert PDF documents to NIFF and MusicXML which Lime can import. Users of JAWS for Windows and other screen readers can independently use PhotoScore Ultimate to open a PDF and convert it to other formats but its music editing features are not accessible.

PDFtoMusic Pro

PDFtoMusic Pro will convert PDF documents to MusicXML files which can be imported into Lime but results vary. PDFtoMusic has no NIFF export. Lime 9's NIFF import is generally more accurate than its MusicXML import so at this point we recommend PhotoScore Ultimate. Future releases of Lime will have an improved MusicXML import.

Microsoft Office Document Image Writer

The Microsoft Office Document Image Writer that comes with Microsoft Office will allow you to print (PDFs or anything) to TIFF files that SharpEye can read. This may be convenient and cheap if you already have it but you MUST "print" each page separately to a separate file for SharpEye.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop Elements (or any Photoshop product) will convert PDF to TIF using the Save As... function. A lot of new computers sold have Photoshop Elements as part of the OEM load-in package. Or, if you don't have Elements, OpenOffice might be able to handle that. Not sure about accessibility, but it's powerful and free: - Andy


You can convert PDFs and almost any image file to TIFF files (for SharpEye) using software from Peernet's TIFF Image Printer will allow you to "print" to an image file from any program and this basically gives every program the ability to export their documents to TIFF files. Read our instructions for using Peernet's TIFF Image Printer. A free trial version is available but it will introduce errors since it adds a watermark to the page. See Peernet. Don't create multi-page TIFF files for SharpEye to read as it cannot process such files.


Finale 2005 and later can export its notation files to MusicXML. Enhanced exporting to MusicXML is possible with the Dolet plug-in from Recordare. Dancing Dots has often successfully imported MusicXML exported from Finale into Lime and subsequently converted it to the equivalent brailled music with GOODFEEL.


Sibelius files may be exported to MusicXML using the Dolet plug-in from Recordare. Dancing Dots has successfully imported MusicXML files exported from Sibelius into Lime and subsequently converted it to the equivalent brailled music with GOODFEEL but generally more work is required than with Finale (see above). Newer versions of Sibelius allow you to export your music to Graphics (use bitmap TIFF) files. You may need an image file converter (see Peernet) for older versions of Sibelius.

Contact Information

Dancing Dots
1754 Quarry Lane
Suite DD, Phoenixville, PA 19460
Voice: 610 783-6692, Fax: 610 500-5072
E-mail: e-mail us
Home Page:

Last updated: 11/8/2010