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.

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My Toys


I thought that I would share what types of instruments, software, and other equipment I use for music.


Yamaha 575 “Allegro” alto saxophone – It is technically an intermediate-advanced instrument, but it plays just as well as a Custom EX does, and it costs about 500 – $1,000 dollars less.

  • I use the S80 Selmer C* mouthpiece with a Rovner rubber inverted ligature.
  • For my reeds, I use the traditional Vandoren Blue Box reeds, strength 3.
    Yamaha 675 soprano saxophone – This is a professional soprano saxophone. It looks beautiful and sounds amazing.Casio CTK-4200 electronic keyboard – This keyboard sits on my desk and serves as a reference for composing. Whenever I need to pluck out ideas, I turn my office chair to the left and play my keyboard. It does not have all 88 keys, but it does have 60 of them. It has 600 instrument patches and can record and sample patches on its own. It has midi connectivity capabilities.

My alto saxophone

My soprano saxophone

My midi keyboard
Software     Finale 2012My notation software. Finale is very powerful. Coupled with the Garritan library and Human Playback, it can make some very pleasing sounds as well.Home Studio (Cakewalk) – This is a sequencer that I have used for a long time. Currently, I am trying to wean myself off of it and use solely Finale for composing.MuseScore – This is a notation program I used to use before I got Finale. The best thing about MuseScore is that it is free, so if you aren’t willing to shell out $600 for Finale, this is the best alternative.


An example of Finale, showing a current project of mine.