One of the ways you can speed your step-time note entry in Finale and Sibelius is to avoid using the mouse as much as possible. Rather, use the computer’s numeric keypad to set the rhythmic value and then enter the pitch with your other hand:
“Look Ma, no mouse!”

If you don’t have a numeric keypad, you have several options:

  1. purchase a new typing keyboard that has one:  
    Mac 
    Windows
  2. purchase a USB numeric keypad. Be careful as not all USB external keypads are compatible with Finale and Sibelius.
  3. Purchase a keyboard specifically designed for the notation software you are using.
    Sibelius
    Finale
  4. use the Numpad app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.  The advantage of the Numpad app is it includes keypad layouts for Sibelius and Finale Simple Entry. While the numpad is free, the Sibelius keypad is $19.95 and the Finale keypad $9.95 via in-app purchase.

 Numpad app – Finale:                           Numpad app – Sibelius:

keypad-layout.png

Touch Typing

With both Finale and Sibelius, if you practice selecting the value by touch, you will be able to select the rhythmic value and then enter the notes with your MIDI keyboard or if you do not have a MIDI keyboard, type the letter names on the computer keyboard.

I usually place my right hand over the numeric keypad and use my left hand to play the pitch. If I don’t have a MIDI keyboard available, I put my right left over the keyboard letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G.

To enter a rest, in both Finale and Sibelius, press zero on the keypad.