FinaleScript™ Tip : Search and Replace

More recent versions of Finale have a powerful tool called Text Search and Replace (TSAR), found in the Edit Menu:

As the name implies, from this dialog you can search for specific text and replace it with something else. For example, you can quickly replace all occurrences of “1/2” with a proper “½” symbol:

This TSAR dialog also has a filter which allows you to selectively search a specific area of Finale; only replacing, say, a specific lyric spelling or a particular articulation character with another:

Which is great!

However, one thing which would make this search and replace a lot more powerful: The ability to SAVE and RECALL common search and replace commands somehow so you didn’t have to keep typing them in manually each time…


FinaleScript offers a way to do just that.  FinaleScript automates Finale’s Text Search and Replace dialog, following the constraints of any parameters you supply. These little scripts can be organized and saved in whatever way improves your workflow. Here are a few basic examples to get you started.

search “1/2” replace “½”
// replaces any occurrence of the string “1/2” with the single ½ character, as shown above (without having to open the TSAR dialog).

search ”  ” replace ” “
// any time there are two spaces between words, contract to one space.

As with the Finale TSAR dialog, you can also Match / specify Text Case.

search “Ritardando” case replace “rit.”
// searches the string “Ritardando” and replaces with a lower case abbreviation. The term “case” in the string sets the Match Case option of the TSAR dialog.

Another powerful feature of the TSAR dialog is the “Whole Words” checkbox, which, for example,  allows you to make sure that only the abbreviation “rit.” is replaced with your preferred replacement, while other variants of “Ritardando” are left alone. Here is how to express this in FinaleScript:

search “rit.” whole word replace “ritardando”

What would be useful to you?  search “Play” case replace “PLAY!” etc.

You may have noticed the “Style…” buttons in the TSAR dialog, which allow you to specify font, size and attribute(s) for either the search criteria, for the replacement, or both.

Not only can FinaleScript control these settings, but once created, these simple scripts provide a way to save and recall your search and replace criteria so you can quickly slice through redundant cleanup or formatting operations.

(…the quotes without anything between them means “everything”…)

search lyrics “” replace “” [Arial Narrow] 14 plain
// replaces / reformats all lyrics using Arial Narrow 14 plain.

In addition to “plain” (roman) a number of Finale’s text attributes can be specified as part of a text search and replace operation via FinaleScript:

non italic
non bold
non underline
non fixed
non hidden

In the TSAR dialog, you uncheck “Search Everywhere” and filter for specific items like lyrics or articulations. In FinaleScript, you just type in the name of the focus area as part of the search and replace. For instance:

search “>” [Maestro] replace “>” [EngraverFontSet], articulation
// searches for an articulation which is the accent character in the Maestro font and replaces it with the Engraver Font version of the same character.


…plus several other focus areas within Finale are supported. We’re just scratching the surface here. For more information, see the Search and Replace section of Using FinaleScript in the Finale Reference Manual.

Do you find yourself manually editing / correcting / finessing various types of Text in Finale quite a bit? Write yourself some short search and replace FinaleScripts! I hope you will share your favorites here.


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