These are simple helps and hints relating to specific assignments for the courses below.

There is also a general section for FAQ.  For more in-depth answers,

 consult the help file on your Finale program, or go to their website here.

Compare features of Finale and Finale Notepad





Theory I

Finale Tips

Assignment #9

Composition 1&2

Theory IV

Theme and Variations

Character piece

 Add lyrics

 Add lyrics in a second verse

 Add text

 Adjusting note positions

 Beam notes

 Change playback instrument

 Change font

 Change tempo

 Character sets


 Delete automatic word extensions

 Diminished sign



 Figured bass format

 Flip all stems 

 Flip one stem

 Hide stuff

 Hide an entire staff



 Insert measure(s)

 Listening to playback

 Listening to one staff at a time 

 Meterless music

 Number measures

 Piano reduction

 Pick-up measures

 Rename a staff

 Resize score

 Roman numeral analysis

 Scale view

 Spot-check listening


Theory II

Composition #1 (melody)

Composition #2 (4 voice a cappella)


Orff Assignment

CC Composition

Theory III


Contemporary Theory

Debussy piece

Rhythmic elements


Pocketful of Sunshine



Getting started with Finale

Sometimes We Make Things More Difficult Than They Need to Be       8 Great Tips

Also in Finale: from the Launch Window, choose "QuickStart Videos"

Help - User Manual - Visual Index


Submitting a Finale file as an assignment:  Be aware that Finale saves 2 files by default - the original file (.mus or .musx extension) and a backup file (.bak extension).  If you send me the .bak file, I won't be able to open it.  Check before you submit!







1.        To set up your composition

  1. Open Finale and Follow the Setup Wizard

  2. For a single melody line, choose "Create New Ensemble" and "Engraved Style" on the first screen

  3. Choose “empty staves” and "Treble Clef Staff" on the second window and then “Add”.

  4. Continue to choose parameters through the wizard pages

2.        To enter notes and rests

  1. Click on “Simple Entry” tool (button that looks like an eighth note), choose the note or rest you wish to use from the toolbar and left click on staff to place it

  2. To enter a note or rest that includes a dot,  choose both the note and the dot before placing it on the staff

  3. Note:  you may not have the rest buttons on your toolbars.  If not, instructions to add them are below under Misc.  Or, you can just choose the note and press "R."

3.        To make additions and corrections

  1. Erase a note or rest – click on the “Eraser” button on the toolbar, place cursor on the note or rest and left click

  2. Change a note’s pitch – click on the “Repitch” button (2 triangles with a whole note between) on the toolbar, left click the note and drag it up or down

  3. Erase a whole measure (this will delete the measure, not just what is in it) – click the “Selection” tool (looks like a cursor), select the measure or measures (left click, hold and drag) you want to delete, and hit the delete key on the keyboard

  4. Add an accidental – choose accidental sign on toolbar and left click on note

  5. Add more measures – right click the “Measure Tool” button (measure with whole rest in it) and choose how many to add.

  6. Change key signature – click on the “Key Signature” button (measure with 2 flats) on the toolbar, double click on the measure where you want the change, and choose your new key.

  7. Change time signature – click on the “Time Signature” button (4/4 measure) on the toolbar, double click on the measure where you want the change, and choose your new mete

4.     Listening to playback

  1. To play back your composition - click the triangle on the toolbar.

  2. To keep the playback from going back to the beginning every time, click on the "Playback Settings" (the speaker icon) and in the pop-up window, select "Current counter setting."

  3. To quickly listen to a short section, instructions are here.

  4. To start playback instantly from anywhere, hold down the space bar and click on the note where you want to begin.  Click again to stop.

5.  Other stuff you may want to do

  1. Change the size of your score for viewing – go to View Menu, scroll down to “scale view to” and check desired percentage.  85% usually works well.

  2. Find out how to do something else – click on Help on the menu and choose “User Manual” and you can search at the top.

  3. Save your work:  click “Save as” under “File” on the menu, name your file and choose your T drive as your destination.



Theory I:  Composition


Get rid of extra measures at the end of the piece

  1. Click the "Selection" Tool button (looks like a cursor)

  2. Select empty measures to delete by left click and drag

  3. Hit the delete button

Format number of measures per line

(If you are left with only 1 or 2 long measures in the last line)

  1. Click the "Selection" Tool button (looks like a cursor)

  2. Click in last measure of next-to-last line

  3. Press the down arrow key on your computer keyboard.  That measure will drop down to the last line.  You can continue this process until your score is properly formatted.  You can also click the first measure of the last line and press the up arrow on your keyboard.  That measure will be moved up to the staff above.

Pages Come Out Even


In order to produce a professional looking score, you may need to shrink your score to fit on the page or pages (without having only one or two lines spill over onto another page).  To resize your score, follow these instructions.


Hide a staff

  1. Click the Staff Tool (treble clef sign)

  2. Click the clef sign of the staff you want to hide

  3. Double click the highlighted area

  4. Check the box beside "Force hide staff"

  5. Choose "and collapse" in the drop-down to the right

  6. Click "OK"

Unhide a staff

  1. Change to "Scroll View" under "View" in the toolbar at the very top

  2. Click the Staff Tool (treble clef sign)

  3. Click the clef sign of the staff you want to unhide

  4. Double click the highlighted area

  5. Uncheck the box beside "Force hide staff"

  6. Return to "Page view" under "View" in the toolbar at the top

Number measures

  1. Click the Measure Tool button (measure with a whole rest)

  2. Then click the word "Measure" in the toolbar at the top

  3. Choose "Edit Measure Number Regions"

  4. Select the button toward the bottom which begins "Show on every"

  5. Enter a "1" in both blanks for every measure to be numbered

Add text (not lyrics)

  1. Click the Text Tool (button with the capital T)

  2. Place your cursor where you want the text

  3. Double click, hold the second click down,  and drag to draw a text box, then let go

  4. Type inside the text box.  When you are done, you can move the box to correctly position it.

Add Simple Entry Rest Palette

  1. Click on "Window" on the toolbar at the top
  2. Place a check by "Simple Entry Rests Palette".  Then the rests toolbar will appear from which you can select in Simple Entry.

Add a Tempo marking

  1. Click on the "Expression tool" (mf button)
  2. Double click above the measure where you want the tempo marking inserted
  3. Choose the marking and/or text you wish and click assign.  Note that some choices affect playback and some do not.
  4. You can also create your own by choosing the button at the bottom of the window



Theory II:  Composition #2 (Four-voice A Cappella)


Setup Wizard

  1. Under "Select an Ensemble" choose "Create New Ensemble" and Engraved Style, then click "Next"

  2. Select "Keyboards" - "Piano (No Staff Name)" and click the "Add" button, then "Next"

  3. Complete the Wizard set up by adding the Title and Composer (you will have to add the poet's name on the score with the "Text" tool)

  4. Choose your meter, key, etc. on the next screen.  Note:  If you intend to use a pick-up note, it is much easier to do it here than later, so have a plan!

How to add lyrics

  1. Choose the lyrics tool button (feather pen)

  2. Click the word "Lyrics" on the toolbar

  3. Make sure "Type into Text" is checked.

  4. Click above the first note below which you wish to place lyrics

  5. Type in lyrics.  Divide syllables properly.  Each time you type a hyphen (for a divided word) or hit the space bar (to go on to the next word), the cursor will advance to the next available note.  To skip a note, simply press the space bar again.

  6. Word extensions (the line that designates that more than one note should be sung to a particular syllable) will be automatically inserted when you complete any section and press enter.

  7. To add a second verse, click above the first note again, and press the down arrow key.

How to add a second verse

  1. Choose the lyrics tool button (feather pen)

  2. Click the word "Lyrics" on the toolbar and choose "Specify Current Lyric" in the drop-down menu

  3. Choose "Verse" and change the number to "2" in the blank and click "OK"

  4. Add lyrics to the second verse as you did to the first

  5. When you are finished, click "Lyrics" in the toolbar, "Auto-Number" - "Verses" to add verse numbers before the first syllable in each verse.

  6. You can use the positioning triangles to adjust the vertical positioning of the lyrics if necessary.

How to adjust lyrics and avoid collisions

  1. To the left of the page, there will be a rectangular box containing 4 arrows.  Lyrics can be adjusted by placing your cursor on one of the arrows and dragging it up or down.  This sets the baseline as follows:

    The first arrow (furthest to the left) moves all of the lyrics in the piece (globally).

    The second arrow (second from left) moves only the lyrics in that staff throughout the piece.

    The third arrow moves only the lyrics in one staff in one system.

    The last arrow moves just one syllable.  Drag it to set the baseline for the next syllable, before it's entered.

  2. If you do not have room between 2 staves

    a.  click the staff tool (treble clef sign)

    b.  click the word "Staff" on the toolbar

    c.  Choose "Respace Staves"

    d.  Change 100% to a larger number (for example, 110%) to widen the space


a.  click the staff tool (treble clef sign)

b.  double click on the bass clef sign of your composition.  This will highlight the bass clef staff on your entire composition.

c.  Click on the handle (little square) that is just above the bass clef sign and drag it down to allow more space between staves.

How to flip stems

  1. To flip all stems on one staff in one layer

  2. To flip one stem, use Speedy Entry, place the cursor on the note and hit "L"

Note:  It's easiest to use 2 layers in your composition:  Layer 1 for soprano and tenor (stems up) and Layer 2 for alto and bass (stems down)



How to apply harmonic analysis (Roman numerals)

  1. Choose the Lyrics tool (feather)

  2. Choose Lyrics > Auto-Number and ensure Verse, Chorus, and Section are unchecked

  3. Choose Lyrics > Lyric Options and uncheck Use Smart Hyphens.  Click OK.

  4. Choose Lyrics > Type Into Score

  5. Click the first note to activate the cursor.

  6. Choose Text > Font.  Choose Finale Numerics and click OK.

  7. Type the harmonic analysis (without clicking the score again).  The basic figures are intuitive.  For example, use v, i, V, I for the Roman Numerals. 

    1. Type SHIFT-6 for a first inversion. ("6" is one of many zero-width characters designed to appear to the upper right of the Roman Numeral). To put a number beneath the 6, simply type the number (e.g. For i^4 , type "i, SHIFT+6, 4"; be sure to let go of the shift key before typing the 4).

    2. For a diminished sign (o), press and hold shift, then press "k" (Make sure your font is Finale Numerics

    3. For a diminished sign followed by an inversion, after shift "k" press the tilda sign (~) on the left side of the keyboard, then press and hold shift and click "6" (press "4" after that for second inversion).

  8. As you add your harmonic analysis, you will need to delete automatic word extensions individually. To do so, choose Lyrics > Edit Word Extensions, then click the word extension handle and press DELETE.


How to adjust notes from side to side

When using layers, sometimes your notes do not 'stack' correctly.  Here are edit instructions.


Theory III:  Assignment 1

How to start each melody on a new line


How to delete a staff

  1. Choose the Staff tool (treble clef sign)

  2. Click on the clef of the staff you wish to remove.  The staff should be highlighted in blue.

  3. On the toolbar, click on "Staff"

  4. Click "Delete staff" on the dropdown menu

How to include interval analysis

  1. Choose the Lyric tool (feather pen)

  2. Place the cursor above your top staff and click above the first note

  3. Include a number (interval #) for every note in the blanks

How to get rid of extension lines

  1. Choose the lyric tool (feather pen)

  2. On the toolbar at the top, click "Lyrics"

  3. Choose  "Edit extensions" from the drop down menu

  4. A square box will appear at the end of every red line

  5. Click on the box and hit "Delete"

How to listen to both melodies separately

  1. On the toolbar, click "View"

  2. Choose "Studio View"

  3. To the left of one melody, click "Solo"

  4. You will then be able to listen to that melody only

  5. Repeat with the other melody


Theory IV:  Theme and Variations Composition


How to start each variation on a new line

  1. Choose the measure button (measure containing whole rest)

  2. Double click in the last measure of the section you just finished

  3. Choose a double barline (not the final kind)

  4. Click "ok"

  5. Double click the next (blank) measure after the double barline

  6. Under "Behavior," check "Begin a New Staff System"

  7. Click "ok"

How to hide cautionary key signatures (when your key change shows up at the end of the line)

  1. Choose the Measure tool (measure containing whole rest)

  2. Double click the barline handle of the blank measure.  The Measure Attributes dialog box appears

  3. Click "Hide Cautionary Clefs, Key and Time Signatures

  4. Click "ok"

How to change the tempo of each variation.

  1. Click the Expression Tool, it looks like a Mezzo Forte (MF).

  2. Double Click above the note/chord where you would like to change the tempo.

  3. A tab should pull up and it will be titled "Expression Selection." To the left is a list, click on Tempo Marks.

  4. Click "Create Tempo Mark..."

  5. A new tab will pop up titled "Expression Designer." You will type in the text box your designated tempo. Then you will type an equal sign (=). Then below the text box to the right click "Insert Note...", you will then choose which you would like. Next is to click "ok" which will then bring you back to the Expression Selection tab.

  6. The tempo mark you just created should already be highlighted, if not click it then at the bottom of the tab click "Assign"

  7. Your tempo should be set and you can listen back for playback.

Theory IV:  Character Piece

How to make a pivot chord bracket

  1. Using the Lyric tool, click above the note in the bass clef to insert the figure below it

  2. Click "Text" in the toolbar and then click "Font"

  3. Make sure that the font selected is "Finale Numerics" (the default is probably Times New Roman for entering lyrics) and click "OK"

  4. To enter the pivot chord bracket, use the backwards slash (\).  In Finale Numerics, the result should be a pivot chord bracket.



Contemporary Theory:  Debussy Composition

(I will post more info on this later)


Contemporary Theory:  Rhythmic Elements


Added Values

  1. Prepare your score without the added values

  2. Click the Measure tool in the toolbar (looks like a measure with a whole rest in it); double click the barline handle (top square) at the end of the measure in which you wish to have an added value.  The Measure Attributes dialog box appears.

  3. Select "Position Notes Evenly Across Measure" (close to the bottom of the window); click OK (or press enter)

  4. Enter the added values into the measure using the Speedy Entry tool (Speedy entry will allow for added values, simple entry will not.); make sure you have turned "Jump to Next Measure" off (in the Speedy menu in the toolbar)

  5. The default will be a rest.  To turn it into a note, place the position insertion bar on the rest and press "Enter"

  6. When you exit the measure, the "There Are Too Many Beats" alert box appears; choose "Leave the Measure Alone" and press "Enter."

  7. Although Finale will allow too many beats per measure this way, the alignment is not always ideal.  Look below for 'How to adjust note positions' to edit note positions

Polymeter:  How to change the meter on only one staff in your composition

This method works if all of your barlines need to line up

  1. Click on the Staff tool (treble clef on toolbar)

  2. Double click on the staff you want to change

  3. The Staff Attributes window will appear; in the lower left, click on 'time signature' under 'Independent Elements'

  4. Click OK

  5. Click on the Time Signature tool on the toolbar (4/4 time)

  6. Double click on the staff you want to change and change the meter

This method works if your barlines need to be independent and NOT line up (which is most of the time!)

  1. Click on the 'Staff tool' on the toolbar and make these changes to each staff:

    1. Under 'Items to display,' uncheck barlines

    2. Under 'Options,' uncheck 'display rests in empty measures'

    3. Under 'Independent elements,' check 'time signatures'

  2. Click on the 'Time signature tool' on the toolbar and make these changes to each staff:

    1. Set your time signature at 12 over a common value in both meters.  For example, if using 5/4 and 4/4, use a quarter note (12/4).  If using 6/8 and 4/4, use an eighth note (12/8).

    2. In the upper right of the time signature pop-up window, click on 'Options.' 

    3. For each staff, click 'Use a different time signature for display.'   Set the time signature you originally chose (how you want the score to look).

  3. Enter your notation

  4. Enter barlines as measure expressions in all staves
    1. Click the Articulation Tool (whole note with the accent).
    2. Click above the measure to which the barline will be attached. The Articulation Selection dialog box appears.
    3. Click on 'Create.'
    4. In the 'Articulation Designer' window, click on 'Main.'
    5. Make sure that you have 'Maestro' set as your font and that the size is 24 (click on 'Set Font' to check)
    6. In the 'Symbol Selection' window, choose #92 and click on 'Select.' 
    7. Click 'OK' in the next window and 'Select' in the next window which should take you back to your score.
    8. Now you can position your newly created 'articulation' in the measure wherever you want it to be.
    9. The next time you need a barline, you will be able to skip c through g above as your 'creation' will be in your 'Articulation Selction' window now.
  5. Remember that "false" barlines won't cancel accidentals, so be careful to proofread.  In the Speedy Entry Tool, you can show/hide accidentals with the * key.
  6. Measure numbers will have to be inserted with the Text tool because Finale will number them according to the 'real' meter of 12/?

How to adjust note positions

When using 'fake' barlines and added values, sometimes you need to reposition the notes slightly for a professional look.

  1. On  the toolbar, click 'Tools' - 'Advanced Tools' - 'Special Tools' - 'Note position'

  2. A toolbar should appear.  Click on the first choice (a quarter note with 2 arrows pointing away from it)

  3. Click on the note or rest that you want to adjust

  4. Drag the note or rest to the position you choose.



DME:  Orff Assignment

How to save a Finale excerpt as a graphics file

  1. In Finale, make sure you are in "Page View" under the "View" menu

  2. Under "Tools", choose "Advanced Tools" and check "Graphics"

  3. Double-click and drag to enclose the musical excerpt you wish to export

  4. Under "Graphics", choose "Export Selection"

  5. In the window that appears, choose "TIFF" as the type and "300" as the resolution

  6. Click "ok"

  7. In the next window that appears, give your file a name and save it in whatever folder is convenient

How to insert a Finale score into a Word document

  1. In your Word document, choose "Insert" from the toolbar, then "Picture" and click on "From file"

  2. Navigate to the folder where you placed your Finale excerpt (now a TIFF file) and double-click on that icon.

  3. The musical excerpt should appear in your Word document.  Drag it, format it, crop it, etc. as you would any graphic file.  If you need more help with this, let me know.

How to make more scores fit on a page

  1. Click the "Resize" tool (looks like a percent sign)

  2. Click somewhere on your page

  3. Choose the percent to which you would like to reduce your original page.  For example, if you choose 80, your page will be 80% as large as it was originally and more music will fit on the page.  The margins will remain the same.

How to change the name of the instrument on your score

  1. Click the "Staff" tool (the Treble Clef sign)

  2. Double click on the staff you wish to rename

  3. On the "Staff Attributes" menu, click the "Edit" button to the right of "Full Staff Name"

  4. Rename the staff and click "OK"

DME:  CC Composition

How to use the Lyric Tool to add words to your song

  1. Click the "Lyrics" tool (looks like a quill pen)

  2. Place the arrow that appears above the first note under which you wish a word to appear.

  3. Click and a blinking cursor will appear under that note.

  4. Type your lyrics.  Each time you space between words, the cursor will move to the next note.  Remember to divide your syllables.  (When you type a dash to divide a word, the cursor will move to the next note just as it does with a space.)

  5. If you make an error, just click the arrow above the note where you wish to make the change.

How to make more staves fit onto the page

  1. First of all, make sure that you have the correct number of measures per line.  In other words, maybe you could add more measures per line without crowding.  If you wish to do this, you can move measures up or down a line.  Here are the instructions.

  2. After you have nice concise formatting, you can make all of the staves a little smaller so that more will fit on your page without changing the margins.  Go here for instructions.

How to number every measure

I require this so it will be easier to analyze your score in class.  Here are the instructions.





Flip all stems in one layer to one direction

  1. Click "Document" on the menu at the top

  2. Choose "Document Options" on the drop down menu

  3. Choose "Layers"

  4. Choose the layer you are working on

  5. Choose "Freeze Stems" in the direction you wish

Insert Measure(s)

  1. Click the Measure tool (measure with whole rest in it)

  2. Right click in the measure after the spot where you want to add measures

  3. Click "Edit" in the top toolbar

  4. Choose "Insert Measure Stack"

  5. When the window pops up, enter how many measures you want to add and click OK

Hide stuff


Hide time signature

  1. Click measure tool

  2. Double click barline handle of measure of time signature

  3. From time signature drop-down list, choose Always Hide

  4. Click OK

Hide barlines (one at a time)

  1. Click measure tool

  2. Double click top square on barline

  3. Choose invisible barline choice

  4. Click OK

Hide all barlines

  1. Choose "Document" in menu and then "Document Options"

  2. Select "Barlines

  3. Uncheck "Display all barlines"

Hide measure numbers

  1. Click staff tool

  2. Click on "Staff" in menu

  3. Choose "Edit staff attributes"

  4. Uncheck "Measure numbers" under "Items to Display"

Slightly move notes

  1. Click measure tool

  2. Click in measure

  3. Choose bottom square to right of measure

  4. In window, drag bottom square


  1. Click the Speedy Entry tool

  2. Place crossbar on notehead

  3. Press 9 (pressing 9 again toggles through all possibilities)

Pick-up measures (to create a pickup measure within a piece)

  1. Enter the pickup notes first

  2. Choose the Time Signature tool (looks like a 4/4 time signature)

  3. Click in the pickup measure (the Time Signature dialog box appears)

  4. Set the number of beats to match the number of beats in your pickup measure

  5. Under "Measure Region" specify the measure number of the pickup only (for example, Measure 24 Through 24)

  6. Click "Options" in the upper right corner of the same dialog box.

  7. Select "Use a Different Time Signature for Display"

  8. Set the number of beats to match the sum of beats in the full measures of music after the pickup measure.

  9. Set the "Beat Duration" to match the beat duration in the full measure of music after the pickup measure.

  10. Click "OK"  (Note:  you may have to adjust the measure numbers to account for the pickup measure.

Figured bass

  1. Type the numbers with the top number followed by the bottom number. 

  2. Make the top number superscript and the bottom subscript. 

  3. Select the top number, then under Format, choose Font. 

  4. In the dialog box click the "Character Spacing" tab and set the spacing to Condensed by 4 pts.  Depending upon the font and the size, you may have to adjust that number

Beam notes

  1. Click on Speedy Entry tool

  2. Click on last note of desired beam

  3. Press slash key (/)

Spot check listening

  1. With cursor hovering over the chord (or note) you wish to hear,

  2. Press the spacebar and Ctrl key at the same time (you should see a picture of an ear)

  3. Move the cursor to any spot and listen

How to make a piano reduction of an open score

  1. Click "Plug-ins" on the toolbar

From the drop down menu, choose "Scoring and arranging"

  1. Choose "Piano reduction"

  2. Choose the staves to consolidate in the pop-up menu (hold down 'Control' to choose several)

  3. Click OK

How to make an open score of a piano reduction

  1. Choose the "Selection" tool (dotted lined square)

  2. Click "Utilities" from the "Selection" menu

  3. Click "Explode Music"

  4. Make any changes to the default values in the pop-up window.

  5. Click OK

How to change instrumentation for playback

  1. Choose "Studio View" from "View" in the toolbar

Click on the current instrument to the left of your staff (a blue arrow)

  1. From the drop-down menu, choose another instrument

Change font

  1. Go up to the Document menu

  2. Scroll down to Set Default Music Font

  3. Click Engraved Font Set

Roman Numeral Analysis

  1. Choose the Lyrics tool (feather)

  2. Choose Lyrics > Auto-Number and ensure Verse, Chorus, and Section are unchecked

  3. Choose Lyrics > Lyric Options and uncheck Use Smart Hyphens.  Click OK.

  4. Choose Lyrics > Type Into Score

  5. Click the first note to activate the cursor.

  6. Choose Text > Font.  Chose Finale Numerics and click OK.

  7. Type the harmonic analysis (without clicking the score again).  The basic figures are intuitive.  For example, use v, i, V, I for the Roman Numerals.  Type SHIFT-6 for a first inversion. ("6" is one of many zero-width characters designed to appear to the upper right of the Roman Numeral). To put a number beneath the 6, simpl type the number (e.g. For i^4 type "i, SHIFT+6, 4").

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Do I have to use Finale?  Yes
  2. I can't save the file I've been working on at home.  What am I doing wrong?   You can use Notepad at home, save your file, and then bring it to the computer lab and open it with the full version of Finale to add any features that you don't have access to with Notepad.  However, you can't use Finale at school and then transfer it to Notepad.
  3. When is the computer lab open at school?  The Piano lab is open from 8am - 6pm Monday through Thursday and from 8am - 5pm on Friday.  When an instructor assigns a project, he or she can arrange in advance for extended hours.  Finale is also in the Mac Lab now.  This is helpful when the piano lab is being used by a class.
  4. Can I use a different version of Finale?  You can use any version of Finale that is older than the one we use in the Piano lab.  Any version of Finale or Finale Notepad that is a later version will not open at school.  Therefore, we cannot open it in class to play it and I cannot open it in my office to grade it.




Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson