I will be moving all of my finale tips to this page. Please note all examples are done using Finale 2011. For examples of how to do some of these things in the ‘other’ program, Philip Rothman of NYC Music Services has kindly translated them. Here they are.
Large Time Signatures
1. Document Options> Fonts>Notation: Time (Score) = EngraverTime 40 Plain
2. Document Options> Time Signatures. Set top symbol to 0, Bottom to -290 (EVPUs)
3. Plugins>Scoring and Arranging>Global Staff Attributes. Turn off Time Signatures in all staves but the first of each section (Flute 1, Horn 1, Timpani, Violin 1).
While I never optimize in the pocket score sense, I do have some staves that are set to hide. For example, my template has an extra staff for each string part that will hide when not in use, but I always want to have the regular five staves showing. The trick to this is to turn off ‘allow hiding’ in all of the staves but the extra ones. Then when you run the hide staves command, it will only get rid of the ones you don’t want to see.
If a staff is not needed for a whole cue, I will hide it. I never delete them, as I may need to add something later or insert the cue into another one, so it is important that each score has the same number of staves, even if some are hidden. My scores also contain the sketch, which I do not want to show in page view. The solution is another staff style that forces the staff to hide, even when it has notes.
Hidden Measure Number Regions
When working on a large score it can be hard to find your place, as the measure numbers are at the bottom, often off the screen. To make life easier, I create two measure number regions. The first region is the one that will print, and is set to display below only the bottom staff. The second region is positioned above the staff and set to display on all staves, but I then edit each staff’s attributes to turn measure numbers off in all staves except for the top one of each section. The most important part of this is to make sure your second region is using hidden text so it only shows on the screen and will never print. Using this system, I can always see where I am.
I like to use a group name for the instrument and then the staff name is just the number (1,2) or the alteration (Contra, Bass etc). The problem with this is that in any list of the staves in the program, you will just see lots of 1’s and not know who is who. The trick is to use full names, but hide the actual name so we only display the number. For doubling I use a staff style to change the name on the staff.
Tempo and other score indications should be large enough for the conductor to read easily. The best way to accomplish this is to use fixed size fonts; my standard is Times New Roman Bold, 14 pt. I also like the quarter note in the tempo indication to balance with the rest of the text, so I will set it at 12 pt (Engraver Text). Note that to do this, you will have to uncheck “Use Tempo Marks Category Fonts” and set these fonts manually. I also use 14 pt bold text (not fixed) for my normal expression indications. As always, you should have a template set up with ‘dummy’ entries you can duplicate when necessary, instead of having to create everything new each time.
Speaking of setting things up, in the second image below, you can see the various expression categories I’ve created to sort score markings. This allows you to set various default behaviors for different kinds of expressions (for example, if I want score text to attach to the left barline or click position). I’ve set up a series of QuicKeys that let me create or duplicate an expression in a given category without spending time in menus. I will post a demo of how that works soon.