Understanding .mus versus .musx

Finale Legacy Notation files (file extension .mus) are files created in Finale 2012 and earlier. The Finale file format was redesigned in Finale 2014 and the file extension was changed to .musx.


Opening legacy .mus files in Finale 2014 or later creates a new file in the .musx format. Changes made to the score will be saved in the newly-converted .musx file, leaving the original .mus file as-is. Here are some tips for streamlining the process of opening legacy files in more recent versions of Finale.



Open Legacy documents as "Untitled"

By default, Finale 2014 and later open legacy .mus files as “Untitled” .musx files. When saving an untitled file, you must retype the filename. If you’d prefer, you can adjust Finale’s Open Preferences to automatically populate the original filename when saving.

  1. Choose EditPreferences (Windows) or FinalePreferences (Mac) from the top menu. The Preferences dialog box appears.
  2. Select Open from the left sidebar.
  3. Deselect Open legacy documents as “Untitled” and click OK.

Legacy .mus files now retain their original filenames when opened in later versions of Finale.



Do I need my .mus files?

After saving a .mus file as a .musx file, use the newly-saved .musx file as your working copy if you are making changes to the composition.


After you save a legacy .mus file as a .musx file, you will have two copies of the score. While it's not necessary to keep the original .mus file, we do recommend that keep your original legacy .mus files as backups; however, they will not retain any edits you've made to them in your current version of Finale. If managing multiple copies of a score becomes cumbersome, you may consider organizing legacy files into their own folder within File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).



Managing my new .musx files

You can specify a default location where you want future Finale files to be saved from within Finale's Preferences. This will also tell Finale where to look for files to open when you select Open from the File menu or Launch Window. Note that this will not move existing Finale files on your computer to this location; instead, it will only affect where you save new Finale files. If you want to move existing Finale files, you will need to do so manually within File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).


To specify a default saving location:

  1. Choose EditPreferences (Windows) or FinalePreferences (Mac) from the top menu. The Preferences dialog box appears.
  2. Select Folders from the left sidebar.
  3. Windows: Next to Music:, click Browse.
    Mac: Click the Music button. 
  4. Select a location from the File Explorer dialog (Windows) or Finder dialog (Mac) that appears. Click OK twice.

Finale will use this location when saving new files for the first time or when saving as.



For more articles on opening legacy files, see: