Finale : Using Linked Parts, Finalescript & House Styles for Commercial Parts

Back in 2011, I posted Making Efficient Use of Linked Parts In Finale which outlined a few of the advantages of using Linked Parts in Finale vs. the “old school” method of individual part extraction, or pasting parts into a separate template file.

Recently, a conversation with an industry colleague made me realize that even 6 years after the introduction of Linked Parts in Finale, some of the very best veteran professional music copyists working in LA and elsewhere still are not taking advantage of Finale’s Managed Parts feature.

Commercial copying for film scores is typically an assembly line process. The composer hands off his sketches to an orchestrator, who fills out the orchestration for the full score. From there, the scores go to the copyist who prepares the parts. I thought the procedure my company currently uses in Finale for creating parts, when we receive score files in Finale format from an orchestrator would be informative. While there are a number of steps to the process, it is actually very straightforward. Here it is:


1) Open the source score in Finale. We want to make sure to keep the orchestrator’s original score intact without any changes, as a proofing source etc.

2) Save off a separate copy of the score as a parts score. At RPM, for film score projects, we use the syntax “project title-cuenumber-parts.mus” for the parts file names. So, the filename for a parts file of particular cue on a film project with a working title of “debate” might look something like:


You should now have two copies of the score, one, the original score from the orchestrator or composer, and the other, your newly named copy.


Go into File Info of this new parts score, and enter the appropriate information.

Here is how we fill in the Score Info fields on a commercial project. (note that some fields are entered in all caps, which is somewhat common for commercial copying).

Title (for film score, cue / reel number, all caps) – RPM house style
Subtitle (“name” of the cue in mixed case)
Composer (all caps) – RPM house style
Arranger (if the orchestrator gets credit, their name goes here, all caps)  – RPM house style
Copyright (PROJECT or FILM title here, all caps) – RPM house style

Sometimes orchestrators will fill in the information in the File Info dialog of their scores, but typically it is incomplete or we need to move it or retype it in the appropriate fields.

OK the File Info dialog to get back out into the score.


Up until Finale 2007, the only way to create parts was to extract them. Finale did not have a Linked Parts feature at that time. LA commercial copyists, though, soon discovered that they didn’t have to “extract” parts in the way Finale was designed.

Their method, which allowed them to create parts with a distinctly different look from the score was to copy and paste each line of score one at a time into a Template file which had been set up with page and staff sizes, and title page text and subsequent headers for parts in the ideal location, fonts and sizes.

Another advantage of this method over extraction was that once you had created a horn 1 part, if the layout for horn 2 was the same, the layout was already done – just save the horn 1 part as horn 2, then paste the horn 1 part into the layout.

Of course, since we can now copy the layout between parts using plugins such as JW Part Layout (Finale 2012 mac / windows), or TGTools Modify>Transfer>Layout (earlier versions), copying music into an existing locked layout is no longer an advantage.


We use several Finale Scripts to get the current score to conform to our commercial house style. This method requires that you have previously set up a parts template file, as mentioned above.  However, rather than copying notes again and again into this template and re-saving the file with a new name each time, we are going to use this document to import our “house style” settings into our copy of the parts score using a FinaleScript.

Note that some of the following scripts can be combined to speed up labor and computer processing time.

1) Open the .mus Parts Transfer doc –  this is your template file mentioned above. This file has our page sizes, staff sizes, margins etc for our parts pages.  Make sure the Parts transfer file is the foremost document, and that the only other open doc is your newly saved parts score, which should be located right behind it on screen.

The house style settings must actually be included in the template’s document options, not just visible changes you have made on the page.

2) Run the Import House Style finalescript. This copies the doc settings from the topmost doc (rpm transfer doc with our house style) and copies them to the parts score we have created from the orchestrator’s score. This is a very simple 3 line Finale script:

process all open docs
don’t process current doc
import house style
// end script 

This FinaleScript, and the ones that follow can be copied from this web page and pasted into a new FinaleScript.

3) RPM’s commercial parts house style shows instrument names in all caps in the parts. It is easy to change the case of staff text with a script. The script changes case of each individual letter to a capital, and then handles grouped names with their actual text string. The script also does some formatting of numbers for consistency. Here is what it looks like:

// start script
process current doc

search ”  ” case replace ” “
search “1,2” replace “1, 2”
search “2,3” replace “2, 3”
search “3,4” replace “3, 4”
search “4,5” replace “4, 5”
search “5,6” replace “5, 6”

search staff names “1.” replace “1”
search staff names “2.” replace “2”
search staff names “3.” replace “3”
search staff names “4.” replace “4”
search staff names “5.” replace “5”
search staff names “6.” replace “6”

search staff names “a” replace “A”
search staff names “b” replace “B”
search staff names “c” replace “C”
search staff names “d” replace “D”
search staff names “e” replace “E”
search staff names “f” replace “F”
search staff names “g” replace “G”
search staff names “h” replace “H”
search staff names “i” replace “I”
search staff names “j” replace “J”
search staff names “k” replace “K”
search staff names “l” replace “L”
search staff names “m” replace “M”
search staff names “n” replace “N”
search staff names “o” replace “O”
search staff names “p” replace “P”
search staff names “q” replace “Q”
search staff names “r” replace “R”
search staff names “s” replace “S”
search staff names “t” replace “T”
search staff names “u” replace “U”
search staff names “v” replace “V”
search staff names “w” replace “W”
search staff names “x” replace “X”
search staff names “y” replace “Y”
search staff names “z” replace “Z”

//keyboards, harp, percussion

search “Harp” case replace “HARP”
search “Piano” case replace “PIANO”
search “Celesta” case replace “CELESTA”
search “Celeste” case replace “CELESTA”
search “Percussion” case replace “PERCUSSION”
search “Violins” case replace “VIOLIN”
search “Violin” case replace “VIOLIN”
// end script

4) We also run a simple script that changes the bar numbering font and size to something appropriate for the parts. Bar numbers don’t get changed as part of the Import House Style due to Finale’s design. Since we don’t care about bar numbers in the score view of this parts file, it can be a very simple global script. Note that the bar number location still needs to manually be changed in the Measure Number dialog for Parts:

process current doc
search “” replace “” [FontName] 11 plain, bar numbers

Make sure you remove enclosures around sequential measure numbers for parts. We set our bar numbers to show on every bar, under the bottom staff of the part. Bar numbers at the left edge of each system are aligned separately to clear the tails on treble clef instruments.

You can use a similar type of font substitution FinaleScript to change specific articulations to a different font. For instance, for our house style, we change the accent and accented tenuto etc. to the Engraver Font Set:

search “>” [Maestro] replace “>” [EngraverFontSet], articulation
search “˘” [Maestro] replace “˘” [EngraverFontSet], articulation
search “fl” [Maestro] replace “fl” [EngraverFontSet], articulation 

For vocal scores with Latin lyrics, some ensembles prefer all caps for sight reading Latin. A very similar search and replace script makes quick work of this:

// start
process current doc

search lyrics “a” replace “A”
search lyrics “b” replace “B”
search lyrics “c” replace “C”
search lyrics “d” replace “D”
search lyrics “e” replace “E”
search lyrics “f” replace “F”
search lyrics “g” replace “G”
search lyrics “h” replace “H”
search lyrics “i” replace “I”
search lyrics “j” replace “J”
search lyrics “k” replace “K”
search lyrics “l” replace “L”
search lyrics “m” replace “M”
search lyrics “n” replace “N”
search lyrics “o” replace “O”
search lyrics “p” replace “P”
search lyrics “q” replace “Q”
search lyrics “r” replace “R”
search lyrics “s” replace “S”
search lyrics “t” replace “T”
search lyrics “u” replace “U”
search lyrics “v” replace “V”
search lyrics “w” replace “W”
search lyrics “x” replace “X”
search lyrics “y” replace “Y”
search lyrics “z” replace “Z”

// end script

Depending on the orchestrator’s attention to these types of details, search and replace can correct mixed case on techniques or system text:

search “Rit.” whole word case replace “rit.”
search “Rit” whole word case replace “rit.”
search “Ritard” whole word case replace “rit.”
search “Arco” case replace “arco”
search “Div.” case replace “div.”
search “Div” case replace “div.”
search “Pizz.” case replace “pizz.”
search “Pizz” case replace “pizz.”
// etc.

In the above script, note that there are two versions of some of the lines of script. This is to prevent a result with two periods. The first case catches the mixed case version if it has a period, and then what’s left is the possibility of the same thing without the period, which the plugin processes second.

5) If Expression text is already assigned categories, the best solution is to use the Category Designer to bring the doc fonts and sizes to our house style. For scores created without category assignments, we can either use a script that swaps out the fonts, or, we can copy the various bits of expression text into their proper categories, where they will inherit the master house style settings.


Quite a few commercial scores use oversized time signatures. The way these work in Finale is that the meter changes only show at the various instrument choirs, or at the top and bottom of the score. This means that the meter changes are currently unchecked (invisible) in some of the staves.

Depending on the orchestrator, you might also get scores in which the Default Whole Rests are invisible.

Both time signatures and visible whole rests are required in all of the parts. To correct this, run the Scoring and Arranging > Global Staff Attributes plugin on your parts score, making sure “Display Rests In Empty Measures” is checked as well as “Display Time Signatures” for all instruments.

Here, you can also uncheck measure numbers for all instruments, which will allow you to specify that the bar numbers only appear on one staff (top or bottom) of every part.


In more recent versions of Finale, if Expression text is assigned in the categories of the Expressions dialog already, a fast and simple way to control the way the document looks (e.g. fonts and their attributes) is to use Reset to Category Fonts in the Category Designer.

In order for this to work, each text expression needs to appear in its appropriate category. In some cases, the orchestrator will have text already sorted into the proper categories, which makes this easy. Otherwise, as mentioned above, we can move Tempo marks, techniques, dynamics and expressive text where they belong, and they will then inherit the master settings in Category Designer.

Of course, you can use whatever font families and attributes look right to you. Here is an example of the Category Designer fonts / attributes used for a recent RPM commercial copying project in Finale:


Dynamics Text: Myriad Pro Black Condensed Italic 12
Tempo Marks: Myriad Pro Bold 13
Tempo Alterations: Myriad Pro Bold Italic 13
Expressive Text: Myriad Pro Black Condensed Italic 12
Technique Text: Myriad Pro Semibold 12
Rehearsal Marks: FPRehearsalSans 15


Dynamics: Maestro 24
Tempo Marks: Engraver Text T 12
Tempo Alterations: Engraver Text T 12
Expressive Text: Maestro 24
Technique Text: Engraver Text T 24 (12)
Rehearsal Marks: Engraver Text T 12

I personally use a Quickeys macro to open the Category Designer dialog and enter all of our house style fonts, sizes and default locations in a few seconds.

In all cases, when using “Pro” level fonts such as Myriad, we uncheck the Bold and Italic attributes for these fonts, and use the ROMAN version of actual font with the name above, for instance “Myriad Pro Black Condensed Italic” as a separate font, *not* Myriad Pro Condensed with bold (black) and italic checked. This is to insure that the font bold widths are identical in Mac and Windows.

For part layout projects where we aren’t copying pencil scores, the positioning will already be pretty close – the orchestrator has probably adjusted much of this, and you will only need to tweak a few individual positions in the parts as you go. However, for pencil scores, you will want to set initial default positions.


In addition to importing the Document Settings from our template into our Parts Score, we also want to recreate the look of the title page and header fonts and locations from our Parts Template file, which we refer to as the Transfer Doc. We use the Modify>Transfer plugin from the pro level of TGTools to move all of the title and header text into the parts score:

1) Delete all page text on all pages of the parts score, e.g. titles, composer, page headers, etc. (remember that you already entered this information in File Info). Some composers use Page Text for Clix, so be sure you don’t lose this.

2) Now bring the Parts Transfer Doc forward again, making sure that the only other open doc is your source score.

3) Open TGTOOLS>Modify>Transfer>Objects and check Page Text. With the Parts Transfer Doc forward, click the COPY button.

4) Close the Parts Transfer Doc without saving.

5) With the Source Score document open and forward, click the PASTE button in the TGTOOLS Transfer dialog. Your source score should update with the proper settings.

A typical film score has the same composer and film title text for every cue on a film score, but we use  Text Inserts (wildcard text) for fields like title (cue / reel), subtitle and orchestrator, so each specific cue’s information will be propagated automatically to the title pages and headers of our parts from the information we enter in File Info of the Parts Score.


A number of LA orchestrators use a score template in which the default multimeasure rest shape has been modified. RPM uses a subtle variation of Finale’s default multirest shape rather than the infamous “stubby” multirest which seems to be prevalent.

To retrieve the default rest shape, you may need to import the default multirest shape into your parts score. A fast way to get the shape is to go to File>New> Document Without Libraries to create a new blank document. Then, with this new doc open, choose File>Save Library… and check SHAPES. After importing this shape library into your parts score, go into DOCUMENT OPTIONS, select MULTIRESTS and choose this default rest shape from the list.


1) While some orchestrators set up their scores with proper transpositions in place, most often, you’ll need to go into the Staff Attributes for each transposing instrument and set the appropriate (chromatic) transposition and clef, since orchestrators are most typically creating concert scores, and, not typically being responsible for parts, don’t always define the transposing instruments.

If you were pasting into a template file, you would do this in each “Save As” version of the template file. Here, transposing instruments are handled in a single list within the Parts Score.


1) In the Manage Parts… dialog, click the part creation preferences, and UNCHECK Space Systems Evenly, if checked (your imported template doc settings should have the staff spacing you find works with the particular size of parts page you are using for this project).

2) Make sure the appropriate Default Multirest Shape is selected (See MULTIMEASURE RESTS above)

3) Generate a new set of parts. If there is already a set of parts defined, overwrite these (simply click the Generate Parts button and say YES to the dialog asking if it is ok to overwrite any existing parts).

The reason to overwrite the existing parts completely is this: In Finale, the Document Settings you imported will not update existing parts, only newly created ones, and you want the parts to inherit the settings you imported from Import House Style. Also, if you changed case of instrument names, you will only see the new name text by generating new parts.


For some divisi parts (besides strings) which are combined into a single staff in the score, you will need to define their voicing.

Alternatively, you can create new staves for each instrument within your parts file and use a plugin designed to split out the separate voices to these individual staves as unique parts. See below.

1) For any two voice part such as TRUMPET 1, 2, the procedure is very simple. First, rename the existing Bb TRUMPET 1, 2 part to be Bb TRUMPET 1. Click the EDIT VOICING button, and assign this part to always be the top voice OR Layer one if two layers.

For TRUMPET 2, click the NEW PART button, add TRUMPET 1, 2 from the list on the right hand side and in EDIT VOICING for this part, choose BOTTOM note or LAYER 2 if multiple layers. Change its name to Bb TRUMPET 2.


There are some issues with Finale’s Managed Parts > Specify Voicing. For instance, grace notes don’t space properly in voiced parts, and there are issues where the various lines aren’t totally homophonic. For some staves, it is faster to break out the notes of the line into several staves.

After creating staves for each instrument below the combined staff in the parts score, you can use the JW Quick Explode plugin (mac / windows) for this, which does this all in one step:

You can also copy and paste the multi-voice part manually into the added separate parts staves, and then use TG TOOLS Process Extracted Parts, included with more recent versions of Finale:


Staves that you have combined together in Managed Parts will need to have brackets applied (e.g. new groups will need to be created with brackets for these parts). Percussion, Choir and Violin 1, 2 are the most common part groupings you will create in any project.


Finally, remove any redundant parts that may have been created in the Manage Parts when you generated them. For instance, for film scores, the individual Violin 1 & 2 staves are combined into a single part, as is the percussion and choir, which leaves parts that will no longer be used in the list of managed parts. This housecleaning step will make it clear to the proofreaders which parts are to be proofed.

When a copyist completes the parts for a cue, they add their initials to the bottom left hand corner of the page (this footer text can be added to each copyist’s version of the Transfer doc). The proofreader will do this as well after proofing the cue.

At RPM we use Apple file labels to indicate workflow. Dropbox also supports color coded file labels. Parts are color coded orange when copying is complete, red when they are being proofed, yellow when proofed, and blue when printed.

That’s it! I hope this somewhat exhaustive overview of our procedure for commercial parts copying in Finale has been informative and helpful.


One Reply to “Finale : Using Linked Parts, Finalescript & House Styles for Commercial Parts”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.