Change Stubborn Text in Finale Quickly, Easily & Globally with Finale Script

In “Finale Text Sized, Placed & Styled – Document Options & the Category Designer, we looked at how we can set up a Finale document’s overall font choices using the Document Options > Fonts and the Category Designer.

Changes to the Category Designer and Set Default Music Font affect your score in real time; however, some of the text objects in Document Options > Fonts can only be set prior to starting work on your score; problematic if your score is already completed, or you need to update your House Style after the fact.

So, since some of the Document Settings don’t update in real time in Finale, how do we change the font settings for text types such as Lyrics*, Measure Numbers*, Staff Names* and Text Blocks* which we have already entered?

This is where writing a few short lines of Finale Script can help you. Wait! You don’t have to be a computer programmer. It’s really simple, I promise. And it will save you hours of work over time with minimal effort up front.

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Finale Text Sized, Placed & Styled – Document Options & the Category Designer

There are two main requirements for managing Text in any notation program. First, we want to be able to define in advance how the musical and text elements will look, so that our score is following the same appearance rules throughout. This is part of what music publishers refer to as a “House Style”.  Secondly, we need to be able to “break the rules” easily for special cases (for instance, if the title is to be in an ornate font where text is otherwise a more standard serif or san-serif font.)

For existing scores, knowing how to set up defaults for Text in Finale will also help us quickly locate  font, size and attribute information about a particular string of text, and quickly make changes, if needed.


Initially, there are two main locations where we define Text in Finale. The first of these is found in Document Options > Fonts, and is the place where we determine the exact “look” of the music notation itself, as well as the default font, size and font attributes for some other Finale text.

The second “default setup” area for text is Finale’s Category Designer, where we choose the font, size, style and location of all instructional text for the piece associated with staves or systems. These categories include Dynamics, Expressions, Techniques, Tempo and Rehearsal Marks etc. Let’s take a look …

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Creating Fractions & Other Symbols in Finale & Sibelius using Unicode

noun /ˈyo͞oniˌkōd/

An international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts, by which each letter, digit, or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different platforms and programs.

More recent versions of Finale and Sibelius both feature Unicode font support. Among other things, this means a number of new symbols useful for music notation are now readily available in addition to the 256 “regular” characters we’ve always had access to. This cross – application Unicode support represents an important step for digital music preparation, as we not only have access to the comprehensive set of accented and diacritical characters used in Latin based languages, but we can now enter the text and symbols for titles, credits, lyrics and directives in non-Latin based languages such as Russian and Chinese.

One useful type of symbol sometimes used in music scores not built in to the Sibelius Word Menus or the Finale Expressions Selection Dialog in Finale are fractions.  Without Unicode, fractions need to be displayed as two numbers with a slash between them, e.g. “1/2”. Directives such as “½ section trem.” or “Slow ¼ tone bends” or “trill ½” appear frequently in modern scores, for instance, so it is great to finally be able to display these properly and easily in both Finale and Sibelius.

On the PC, you should be able to type the most common fractions directly into either Sibelius 7 or later or Finale 2012 or later using ALT codes. Hold down the ALT key, type 0188 on the numeric keypad, and then release the ALT key to insert the symbol ¼. To insert the symbol ½, use the character code 0189. To insert the symbol ¾, use 0190.

Unfortunately, there are no designated keystrokes for fractions on a Mac, and if you are like me, you may have trouble remembering obscure ALT codes, anyway.

The good news is that with Unicode support, you now can simply copy and paste these characters into your music, and recall them again quickly at any time. It just takes a couple of minutes to set up, and from then on, they’ll always be there when you need them.

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Controlling Part Name Visibility Using Text Inserts in Finale

Q: I  am having a weird issue with Finale where the part names aren’t showing up in parts (Flute 1 etc.). Any new text I write to create instrument names shows up in each part. How do I make the part names show up correctly?

A: Finale uses a type of “wildcard” text called Inserts for page text which allows the instrument names to show up correctly. Inserts can created for all of the most common text information you would display in your score and parts.

Title, Subtitle, Composer, Arranger, Lyricist, Copyright, etc. each have a corresponding Field in Finale’s Score Manager. These are global text fields that apply throughout the piece. In other words, text items such as the Title and Composer name appear in both the score and the parts. When you type information into the File Info section of the Score Manager (or File>File Info in earlier versions of Finale), the information in these various fields is propagated into the corresponding text Inserts you have placed on the page. Once you exit the dialog, you will see the global score information you entered.

If there is a text Insert on the page, but there is not yet any information filled in for File Info, you will see brackets around the Insert name, such as [Title] or [Composer] or [Copyright]. These brackets tell you that rather than typing directly over this text, you should instead fill in the fields of Score Manager’s File Info (or File>File Info in 2011 and earlier.)

The Instrument Name text Insert is unique in that it doesn’t gather its information from File Info; rather it gets it from the names you assign it (or which have been assigned when new parts are created) in Document > Managed Parts. Unlike the other text inserts above, which are sharing global information across all parts, *this* Insert is placing unique information into each part.

If you happen to delete a text Insert for the title or composer, you might never notice it, because naturally, you’d simply retype the title or composer text on the page. Because this global information is common to all parts, it remains visibly the same in the score and parts whether you use the fields in File Info or type the text directly onto the page.  The information contained in the Title, Subtitle, Composer, Arranger, Lyricist, Copyright and Description fields is common to both the score and parts.

However, if the Insert for the Part / Score Name is removed, anything you type directly on the page in the space where the Insert belongs will now appear in every part! If you see the same Instrument name on every part (or nothing at all), it most likely means that the Part / Score Name Insert was inadvertently deleted. . .

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Finale – Type Harp pedal markings as text into your score

Q: “In Finale, I have notated the starting and ending notes of a gliss which is in C minor. The full version of TGTOOLS has the Harp Pedaling… plugin, but since I’m not displaying enough pitches at this point in the score to outline the C minor tonality, I can’t get the plugin to work. Can I manually type in the harp pedal marking for C minor as text into Finale?”

A: Yes. To indicate the pedal changes at the start of a piece or new section, there are two standard conventions:

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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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