Creating a Personal Score Style in Finale With Templates

Ever since I got Finale, it changed the process in which I write music. I used to use Cakewalk’s piano roll view to do all the work, but now I do what ‘real’ composers do, and work almost exclusively at a notation program. So I thought I would do my own little tutorial. This may be a lengthy post.

When you set up a score in Finale, the style (such as fonts, positioning, scaling, ect) is very bland – at least to me. It looks like this.

    Looks very plain to me.A lot of composers have configured Finale to set up their own style. They use different fonts, sizes, and whatever to make their score pop out. You may think that none of this matters. If so, stop reading and do something else.In order to set up your own template, you need to know which fonts you want for each type of text. I will tell you the fonts I like, as well as some other suggestions.

  Step 1 – Basic Layout

Set up your score for the type of ensemble you want to write a template for. It will look default right now, but we’re going to change that.

Tip: when you want to change the title, arranger or subtitle, don’t just click on that text and change it. Go to Window > Score Manager > File Info. Changing these fields will automatically set up text inserts, making things much easier later.

When setting up a large ensemble score, I like to make things a little more tight on the first page. Also, I don’t often use the subtitle, so delete that if you want. Click and drag the part name and composer texts to be even with the title. If you want to be really precise, right click the composer or score text and hit Edit Frame Attributes. Change the positioning V (vertical) value to a number that’s the same for all three texts at the top. You should get something looking like this.

    Step 2 – Changing FontsDoubleclick [Title] and highlight all of it. At the top of the screen, a new section called Text will pop up. Click that and go to Font. Change the font to something else. I like using Arial, bold and italicized. Using this method change the font for composer and part/score. For the composer text I use Gill Sans MT. For part/score I choose bold Times New Roman. The top of your score should be looking pretty good.Before you do anything else, go to Document > Document Options > Fonts. Under Text, individually change all of those to the new font you want. Once again, I use Gill Sans MT. Hit apply and OK and close the window.

Finale comes with a bunch of plugins. Go to Plugins > Miscellaneous > Change Fonts. Change the font for staff names and text block. I use Gill Sans for both of these, making the staff names font size larger and the text block font italic. Now you should have this.

        If you have enough measures, scroll to the second page and you will see [title] at the top. Double click that. Keeping [title] in brackets, add a hyphen and then go to Text > Inserts > Composer. This will make the text in the block say “[title] – [composer].” Highlight all of that and change the font just as you did earlier. To start changing what it says in the brackets, go to Window > Score Manager > File Info and start filling out the fields. Also, double-click the page number and change that font. Now it should be this.

Step 3 – Measure Numbers and Other Text

To change the font of the measure numbers (as well as their positioning and frequency) go to Document > Edit Measure Number Regions. The different sections at the bottom and setting for different types of measure numbers. What I like to do is display the measure numbers at the start of a line. To do this, check ‘Top Staff”, ‘Exclude other ‘Staves’, and ‘Show measure numbers at start of system’. The Font button will enable; change this how you please. Click Apply or OK and view page 2 to make sure the measure numbers are in the right position. If they aren’t, go back to the measure number regions window and click position. Change this and exit the window.

Now go to Document > Category Designer. Change the fonts under Tempo Marks, Technique, Expressive text and others. Again, I use Gill Sans MT.

In order to never go through this again, save the current document as a template file (.ftm). Whenever opening a new score of this ensemble, choose File > New > Document From Template, and select this file. You should be all set!

Now view the first part by pressing Ctrl+Alt+period. The fonts should now match up with the score.

Now, Finale is a very finicky program and it may be difficult to get things exactly how you want them. Finale’s forums contain a lot of information about stuff like this and more.

In the end, you may end up with something pretty like this!

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