Notation, Software

Can Guitar Pro Import PDF Files? [ANSWERED]

Written By :Andrew Siemon

Generally speaking, you can’t import PDF files into Guitar Pro unless you’ve previously converted that PDF from an existing Guitar Pro file. Guitar Pro can export, however, to PDF, without any problem. Although, one workaround is to use MuseScore’s Audiveris program on their website.

For the most part, Guitar Pro isn’t capable of inputting PDF files directly. But it can work with many other file formats including MuseScore, PowerTab, text files, and formats that use ASCII. Simply put, turning a PDF into a Guitar Pro file is a difficult business but it actually is possible if you do enough working around.

Originally, I tried to make it happen using PDF Filler and DocHub, but that didn’t work the way I intended. I wound up using the aforementioned Audiveris program on MuseScore’s website (you must create an account) which acts as a PDF conversion service.

You can sometimes use this to convert your PDF into MSCZ, and then you can export your MuseScore file as a MusicXML file which can then be inputted into Guitar Pro. However, you will lose some information in the process. As you may imagine, this process is imperfect but it’s better than nothing at least. Let’s dive into the tutorial down below.

How to Turn PDFs Into Guitar Pro Files

MuseScore - Can Guitar Pro Import PDF Files? [ANSWERED]
There is some compatibility between Guitar Pro and MuseScore file formats.

As I was saying, this process is imperfect so don’t get mad at me when you have to jump through a lot of hoops. Additionally, I need you to understand that it may not always work. Some PDFs will work and others will not.

In order to pull this off, you’ll have to sign up for MuseScore PRO which is a platform that you can try out for 30 days for free.

This is kind of like their membership service – it’s not the same as the actual application. Another thing you’ll need to do is you actually need to download MuseScore’s program as well.

Thankfully, they give it away for free and not even on a full-trial or 30-day basis. You just straight up get it which is great. It – like many other applications now – comes as part of a larger app that’s installed right on your computer.

It’s called the Muse Hub which is a recent development compared to when I last used MuseScore. But to get MuseScore PRO, on the other hand, you do have to give them your CC but they don’t charge it until after the 30-day period.

That’s what I had to do to make this tutorial. If you have to, do as I did and cancel right after you’re done. You won’t have to spend any money. But I digress. The first step is to actually sign up for MuseScore PRO.

1) Sign Up For MuseScore PRO On Their Site

MuseScore PRO - Can Guitar Pro Import PDF Files? [ANSWERED]
You can sign up for MuseScore PRO here.

As I said a moment ago, you first need to install MuseScore through the MuseHub so make sure you’ve done that already. Once you’ve completed the installation, you’ll have to sign up for MuseScore PRO as shown above to gain access to their PDF conversion tool.

2) Go to And Import Your PDF

Import - Can Guitar Pro Import PDF Files? [ANSWERED]
Go to after you’ve signed up for MuseScore PRO and you’ll have the ability to actually use it now.

Click on the “Select PDF” option as shown in the image above and then choose the file that you want to convert. You’ll then have to wait for the tool to actually complete the process.

3) Wait For The Queue To Clear

Triads - Can Guitar Pro Import PDF Files? [ANSWERED]
It’ll say “Queued” while it’s converting the file. How long it takes depends on a number of facts, including its size.

When I first tried using this tool in the middle of the day, I found it took forever but when I tried again the following day in the early hours of the morning, it went through almost immediately.

Download MuseScore - Can Guitar Pro Import PDF Files? [ANSWERED]
If the conversion has gone successfully, it’ll say “Downloaded” like what’s shown above and they’ll also send you an email saying it has gone through.

What’s funny about this tool is that if your import has failed, they’ll send you an email telling you to stop trying with the same PDF. Clearly, they’ve had problems with people re-sending the same file over and over again.

I tried several times as well, not gonna lie. Anyway, once the conversion has been completed you can click on the “Download” button to send the MSCZ file to your desktop.

4) Open MuseScore On Your Computer And Import The File

Drag the MuseScore File In - Can Guitar Pro Import PDF Files? [ANSWERED]
Drag and drop the MSCZ file into MuseScore.

You can also use File > Open but drag and drop works just fine as well.

5) Export The File As MusicXML To Your Desktop

Export as Music XML -  Can Guitar Pro Import PDF Files? [ANSWERED]
Export the file as a MusicXML file which Guitar Pro can take.

Click File > Export, and then you’ll be given options on how to output the file. You could choose “All Layout” if you wanted. Once it goes to your desktop, you’ll have to open Guitar Pro.

6) Open the MusicXML File With Guitar Pro

Import As XML  -  Can Guitar Pro Import PDF Files? [ANSWERED]
Click File and then your MusicXML file like what’s shown here, and Guitar Pro will open it up just fine.

Results May Vary

I had fairly mixed results with this. If you take a look at one of the images from earlier in the article, you can see that I unsuccessfully tried to import several PDFs into MuseScore’s conversion software.

Ultimately, what we’re trying to do here is pretty complicated and difficult to pull off because a PDF is really just an image whereas a MuseScore or Guitar Pro file contains a ton of digital information that makes the technology possible.

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Important Things To Note about PDF & Guitar Pro

1) The Conversion Process May Be Impossible

Unfortunately, some PDFs are just too complicated for the Audiveris program to work properly. I tried using it for Pantera’s “Floods” multiple times and Alice In Chain’s “Dam That River,” and I was unable to do it.

However, I had much better luck converting my own PDF file which didn’t have a ton of pages and notation. If you have a massive PDF file with a lot of notation and sophisticated parameters, it may just be too much for the converter which brings me to my next point.

2) Try Using A Less Complex PDF

One thing that you can try doing if the PDF file is too much for the converter is minimizing the number of notation symbols in the file. Or you could try inputting one piece of the PDF at a time.

This will take a considerable amount of time, but if you’re desperate and you really want to get it done, you could do it. At the end of the day, you would probably be better off just getting your hands on the MuseScore or Guitar Pro file directly.

Sometimes, the opportunity cost with workarounds is so great that it’s hardly worth the $5 that you would save by doing everything. That’s how I look at things, but I also have zero patience.

Gear Mentioned

1) Guitar Pro

Andrew Siemon is the principal creator for, a website entirely devoted to all things guitar. From repairs, music theory, chords, and improvisation, to recording at home. I've been doing this for 20 years and I've got another 50 in me.

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