Using a MIDI Keyboards is the most efficient way as the note shapes and what notes sound like are dependent on MIDI Data, but you can certainly manually  transpose a note to cycle through certain available notes with that shape, but this is, by all means, not the only way. 

There is a small application called VIrtual Midi Keyboard that can be used with your notation Program on Windows so that your Computer can enter notes via entering from a "MIDI" keyboard that is on your computer.

If you are a Macintosh User (OSX 10.4 +), you may want to look into VDL Midi.  This would a great option for you if your notation program is Sibelius.