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I'm on the latest version of Mac with the latest version of Finale. My request is a bit more general in nature. I'll do my best to explain...

I create concert band scores using the setup wizard, and I do not understand why I have to perform the same edits over and over again every time I create a new score. Surely major publishers like Hal Leonard or Manhattan Beach have specific formatting guidelines. While formatting features in Finale are nice and becoming easier to use, I spend so much time trying to increase the size of pages because the staff and notes are always too small to read by any reasonable human standard. It doesn't make sense why it has to be as small as it is when the score is created. I don't understand why it should take so much effort when the default Finale score could actually use a professional publishing format actually used today.

In a nutshell, is it possible to update the default settings of a concert band score created using setup wizard to standards used by actual publishers like Hal Leonard or Manhattan Beach? It doesn't seem like it should take so much time to make a printed score readable without making nearly 2-dozen edits. Thanks!

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Hi Shaun:

 

You can modify your Document Style and then have that used when you go through the setup wizard. We do have some enhancements planned for starting a new file. I'd be curious in the specifics of what you change every time.

Document Style locations are:

Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MakeMusic/Finale/Music Files/Document Styles

Win: AppData/.../MakeMusic/Finale/Music Files/Document Styles

Cheers,
Michael Johnson
VP, Professional Notation
MakeMusic

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You can create and save your own templates. That seems a logical solution.

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Yes, a template is one option, but each piece might have subtle changes in instrumentation. It just seems like the program has been through enough updates that the default format would be professionally useful by now. Obviously things can't be 100% perfect for every single user or project out of the box, and maybe what I use Finale for isn't the most popular use of the program. But that's what developers get to decide. It's a suggestion, not a demand.

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Hello Mr. Johnson,

The biggest complaint I get from my clientele (band directors) are that my basic score (25 instrument staves) is too small to be readable. So, I'm always using the % tool to adjust the overall size of the page (not the dimensions, just clicking in the margin and adjusting from 100% to 101% on the first page and 111% on the rest), then selecting individual staves with the tool to increase their sizes as well (raising those from 100% up to 120%). It's just so tedious trying to get staves to even line up from page 1 to page 2, and the spacing for the title on page one wastes so much space (and I still haven't figured out how to raise my top staff up closer to my composition title. So I gave up trying.

Furthermore, when I create a score using the setup wizard, I have to add vertical space between each staff just to have enough room for dynamics, articulations, and other markings with the score as tiny as it already is... This seems rather tedious. Why does the setup wizard not already allocate enough space to help us avoid collisions between staves? If I have a bass clarinet in the lower register with an alto sax in the upper register and the notes are colliding, where's the space for anything else? What about Bari Sax and Trumpet 1? It just seems like these details would be ironed out by now, you know? 

Also, every time I create a new score, I have to change the names of Bb Clarinets, Bb Trumpets, and F. Horns from their default names (Finale has them by default as "Clarinet in Bb," or "Trumpet in Bb", or "Horn in F" when that's not how any major publisher (that I'm aware of at least) accepts them. Just check out a Hal Leonard, Music Works, Alfred Reed (Manhattan Beach), or GPG Music score and see what they do. We aren't listing instruments the way Finale does. I've had some very productive talks with my publisher about changing from Sibelius to Finale for concert music and it would just be significantly more helpful to have default settings that match at least one of these publishing industry standards. 

Let me just finish by saying I've been a Finale user since 1998, and I LOVE to see how much this product grows from one release to the next. The work you guys put into this program is astonishing. When Garritan sounds first came out, I was so excited. I'm really enjoying the improvements you continue to make, and I hope you'll continue endeavoring to make the program a universal standard for music composers all over the world. You've not let me down so far, so keep up the outstanding work! 

Best regards and most respectfully,

Shaun Salem

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Dear Mr. Salem:

There are industry standards for staff height and page reductions. Finale needs to be better and getting to those standards more quickly. At the same time, how the document looks is really a conversation between you and your publisher. As an example, we released updated Marching Band Templates for both letter and Tabloid paper. The former is reduced to 35% while the later is 59%. If given a choice, I'd always go with bigger paper and bigger staves. To be honest, I think Finale gives you too much control with the resize tool and can cause a world of hurt. But, that is just my opinion. 

Collision avoidance is a hot topic and an area we want to improve. Having looked at some of your scores online, I think going to larger paper would alleviate some of your problems. Perhaps that's not an option.

User preference / style of staff names. Another hot topic that I would categorize as "house style". Providing ways to have content applied with a style, for a given publisher, would be pretty cool. Yes, right now it tedious to override Finale's default staff naming conventions. As mentioned by Adrian, setting up a template might save you time in the end for setting up a file. Text Search and Replace under the Edit menu might help. Search for Clarinet in B^b and replace with B^b Clarinet

Thank you for this feedback and your continued use of the product. We have done some amazing things, but there is always more and nothing goes as quickly as I ever want. So, thank you for your support and patience. We'll get there.

Finally: how to raise my top staff up closer to my composition title. There's a coupe ways. In the Page layout tool you can shorten the top margin of the first system. The quick and dirty way is to lasso all the handles with the Staff tool and drag up.

 

Cheers,

Michael

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This is excellent! I appreciate you guys and all that you do. I hope my feedback leads to even more refinement but at the end of the day, I totally can't complain about being able to rely upon such a fantastic tool. I'll put your suggestions to use in my workflow. Thanks so much!!

-Shaun

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I agree with Shaun's sentiments here... as well as your suggestions, Michael. I'll raise one additional related issue– for simple scores created in the Wizard (like a Piano/Guitar/Vocal, Accompaniment with a couple of solo instruments, or Choir & Piano reduction) I wish there was an EASY way in the wizard to simply choose – 1) Don't display ANY instrument names, or 2) ONLY display instrument names on the first system, and 3) use the SAME margins for the left and right sides of each page. While there are certain instruments (but not all) which can be chosen that by default don't display any name, it seems that there should be some way to accomplish this for every instrument, without having a separate instrument named: Piano (No Staff Name). And it drives me nuts that the Wizard seems to always default to giving a larger margin on the left (I assume to make space for instrument names) than on the right. Could there be some form of a check box in the Wizard to either leave room for instrument names, or use even margins?

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Hi Shaun and Ric:

Thank you for the feedback and suggestions. I like your further refinements Ric and will add them to the story (FIN-4382). 

Cheers,

Michael Johnson

VP, Professional Notation

MakeMusic

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