Finale 27 – Symbol Select for Expressions, Smart Lines, and More

Finale 27 introduced a powerful new feature that is easy to overlook, especially since MakeMusic hasn’t mentioned it in any of their marketing materials.

In almost every place you can add text in Finale, there is now an ‘Insert Symbol’ command added to the text menu:

Insert Symbol in Text menu

Note that this command has the shortcut Cmd+Opt+Shift+S on the Mac (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S on Windows).

Invoking that command will bring up the new and improved Symbol Select window, including the category sidebar if you are accessing a SMuFL font. So why is this such a big deal? Because it makes actually using the ~2600 symbols in the SMuFL spec much easier.

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Behind-the-Scenes: The Music Font Comparison from

What is it ?

Music Font Comparison is an online A/B comparison of 150 music font families rendered using four musical examples. The font examples were created in a fully automatic font conversion process in Finale with a JW Lua plugin from a master document in Maestro font. No manual adjustments were made afterwards.

Online Music Font Comparison from : The images on the website are downscaled JPEG versions of the PDFs created from within Finale.

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Boxing Clever : Handwritten Font Enclosures for Music Notation

The Finale Copyist Text, Broadway Copyist Text and Jazz Text fonts by MakeMusic work with a variety of music scoring programs, including Finale and Sibelius. These fonts include the ability to surround text with handwritten looking boxes. To do this, special enclosure characters are available as part of the character set; a nice touch.

(use the regular, not extended versions of these music text fonts for this).

Finale Copyist Text and Broadway Copyist Text have a cool preassembled box which works really great with single numbers or letters. Simply type the tilde ~ character first, followed by a single digit or letter. They look like this:

For longer text strings, you could use standard open and closed bracket shapes. The main bracket shapes [ and ] produce just what you would expect. Shift-Open-Bracket and Shift-Closed-Bracket { and } produce a wider version of the open and closed bracket character.

However, if you just type either lower case or shifted open bracket followed by two or more letters or numbers and a closed bracket, you’ll see a separation of the enclosure:


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Adjusting Tracking, aka Letter-Spacing in Finale & Sibelius

Q: Is it possible to make title text appear more “expanded” (as I might do in a Word doc?) My client has a specific font request, but his letter spacing looks wider than the same font on my computer, which is more “tight”: title-text-w-tracking A: This difference is due to letter-spacing, referred to as “Tracking” in typography. Tracking refers to a consistent degree of increase (or sometimes decrease) of space between letters to affect density in a line or block of text. more >> “Adjusting Tracking, aka Letter-Spacing in Finale & Sibelius”

Legni Woodwind Fingering Font for Finale & Sibelius

Good music engravers are always on the lookout for inventive and elegant solutions to make their work easier. To me, one of the more interesting niche areas of typeset music notation are graphical fingering diagrams for musical instruments.

Fonts are the optimal solution for creating fingering diagrams in Finale or Sibelius. Since font characters are essentially vector graphics (as opposed to bitmapped graphics), they will look great when printed at any size, and remain clear and legible on screen.

There are several shareware and freeware fingering diagram fonts currently available for both woodwind and brass instruments from enterprising font designers. I covered a few of these in a previous post.

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