Creating and using Text Inserts in Finale

Finale has a very useful feature for automating the display of text called Text Inserts. These text inserts, which are a type of placeholder text sometimes referred to as Wildcards or Tokens, use the information from the fields in File > File Info to display text on the page.

One advantage of using a Text Insert is that you only need to type the actual text into the Finale file in one location – File > File Info. Anywhere the wildcard appears, the text is dynamically updated instantly.

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Notating Fingered Tremolos in Finale and Sibelius

Fingered tremolo resembles a trill, but often with a larger interval between the fingers. The notation shows the tremolo marking between two notes rather than intersecting stems, or directly under or over a whole note. The convention is to show the full value of each of the notes in the tremolo pair.

Fingered tremolo is very straightforward to create in both Finale and Sibelius:

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Finale & Sibelius – controlling text visibility between score & parts

In observing the steps people go through to change visibility of text between score and parts in both Finale and Sibelius, I thought a short tutorial post on the subject might be helpful.

In both Finale and Sibelius, headers and other types of text are normally shared between the score and the parts, visible in both. The default setting in both programs is to show the text entered in the score in both score and parts.

It is a simple key shortcut to Show or Hide individual occurrences of text  as you edit each part (the keystroke toggles visibility in both programs):

  • Finale : CNTRL-ALT-SHIFT-H / windows • CMND-OPT-SHIFT-H / mac
  • Sibelius : CNTRL-SHIFT-H / windows • CMND-SHIFT-H / mac

… However, this is a lot of extra steps, particularly in an orchestral score with a lot of parts. It is much easier to do this in a single step for cases where you want the visibility of all the parts set the same way, and the score set a different way:

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Beyond Defaults : Add ½, flat, natural & sharp trill lines in Finale

There are a couple of common approaches to indicating non-diatonic trills in music. One way is to indicate the trill-to pitch as a stemless, cue sized note in a parenthesis:


The other, which is very common in popular and commercial orchestral music as well as film and video game scores because it is very efficient for entry, is to include a flat, natural or sharp symbol above, or just to the right of the “tr” symbol.

Finale 2012 and earlier already have a set of these trills in Smart Shapes. To get to them, you can Option / Alt. click on the Custom line tool, to select the trill flat, trill natural or trill sharp line:


However, my personal preference is for the accidentals to appear slightly to the right of these defaults, and in addition, I wanted to a version of these trills with the accidentals in parenthesis:


Finally, for certain projects, I wanted a “tr½“:


Note  that even though Finale 2012 supports Unicode text in many areas, inside dialogs such as the Smart Line Editor, Unicode is still not supported. So, the ½ character in the trill is not a single character, it has to be “faked” using vertical and horizontal offsets of three separate text characters.

I’d like to share these trill lines with you. You can download the Finale 2011 file here.

Choose File > Save Library… with this file open and Smart Lines selected, and save the library file with a descriptive name you’ll remember. Then chose File > Load Library… with your Finale template or score open.

If you just want one of the trill lines, here is another way to get the lines into your own Finale template using filtered copy and paste:

  1. Open the Trill Lines Source document.
  2. Select the Mass Edit tool. Choose Edit > Edit Filter.
  3. Uncheck everything except for Smart Shapes (Assigned to Measures). OK.
  4. Select the measure containing the Trill line you want. Copy it to the clipboard (CTRL-C / WIndows or CMND-C / Mac), and then paste it into your own Template document.

That’s it! I hope these are useful additions for you. Please share the trills with other Finale users if you find them useful. Thank you.


Locating and Editing the Triangle Symbol for MA7 chords in Finale

In Finale 2012 and several earlier versions, chord suffixes can be created by simply typing them in with the Chord tool.   If every chord suffix library for Finale was the same, you could simply type in a standard keystroke for each suffix.

However, depending on the library that is currently in use for the suffix, this isn’t always the case. For instance, consider the different ways arrangers indicate a major 7th chord: M7, MA7, MAJ7, etc. In Finale, the in order to type in a chord suffix directly, it has to exactly match one of the existing suffixes in the current library.

In addition, some symbols, like the Triangle ∆ (Delta symbol) sometimes used for MA or MA7 chords isn’t an obvious keystroke. Furthermore, some chord fonts, such as the JazzCord font, are designed to display each suffix and any of its alterations using a single font character (e.g. “∆7” isn’t two keystrokes in JazzCord, it is a single character).

To locate, display or edit these suffixes which can’t simply be typed in, and for which you don’t know the shortcut: enter the chord name without the suffix, (e.g. “C”) then right-click to select “Edit Chord Definition”. This will allow you to manually choose the chord suffix.

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Creating lyric elision slurs more easily in Finale 2012 and earlier


Elision is defined as the omission of a vowel, consonant, or syllable while pronouncing or writing something, sometimes as a natural shortening, as in “he’s,” sometimes for literary or poetic effect, as in “’tis”.

In vocal music, elision slurs are the curvy ligatures used to connect two lyric syllables under one note. This type of markup is quite common in vocal music in a language other than English:


In Finale, the process to show two elided syllables on the same note should be very straightforward. One could ideally type a specific keystroke to produce the elision (it’s a underscore in Sibelius) and you could type these in on the fly.

In Finale, you use a single keystroke to create the elision character; SHIFT-I. But even in Finale 2012, the process described in the User Manual requires several steps:

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More Advanced Alternate Notation Techniques in Finale

Typically, a score and its parts show identical information. Sometimes, however,  it is necessary for the score and parts to show the same notation in different ways. A transposing part is a good example of this. Enharmonic pitches in the part is another.

Finale has a great Enharmonic feature which allows you to create an enharmonic unison for specific notes. The same pitches are enharmonically spelled differently in the part to allow the part to be read more easily.

In the Part, enter the Speedy Edit frame, select the pitch you want to change, and type 9 on the keypad to change the pitch to its enharmonic equivalent without changing it in the score.

Occasionally, it is necessary for significantly different notation to represent identical passages between the score and parts.

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