5 amazing shortcuts to speed up your workflow in Finale

Finale is a very complex program which uses lots of tools, menus and dialogue boxes. Using at the mouse is fine but unfortunately much slower than your creative mind.
Once you learned about these essential Finale-shortcuts your workflow will change forever.

1. instant swipe- auction

this one is  a secret feature few people know a bout but once I learned about it I can’t work without it anymore.
Finale, by default activates the playback window, the small floating window with playback controls.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 11.22.24

First thing: deactivate it. Close it. You won’t need it. Ever (ok. almost never)
Once you closed this window a new audition feature is activated.

Let’s say you wrote a passage of 5 saxes and you want to audition how it sounds. This is how it works:

Press first ALT and then press and hold the SPACEBAR at the same time. Now while you keep those keys pressed drag your mouse pointer (which changed into a speaker-kind of symbol) over the section you want to audition.
Amazing, right?
You can even drag backwards. 🙂  I love this feature and use it all the time!


2. the spacebar-click

if, in case, you want to playback the your song in tempo from a specific bar, just click and hold the SPACEBAR and  click on a bar. Your song will start playing from that bar on.
no more fiddling with the playback window…great time saver!


3. staff sets

This feature enables you to see only the staves you want to work on (and audition using the SPACEBAR-click).

To do that, first select the Staff-tool, then rubber-band-select the stave you want to include in a set.
Hold the ALT-key and go to menubar>view>staff set and select Program Staff Set 1 (or use the shortcut ctr+alt+1)

Finale switches automatically to your newly programmed staff-set. Want to go back to the full score? just go to menubar>view>staff set and select All Staves (or use the shortcut ctrl-0)

Once you have programmed all your staff sets you can switch easily between them by using the view>Staff Set>Select Staff Set menu or the shortcut ctrl-and the appropriate number.

select staff set


3. one-click copy paste

Everybody loves copy/pasting. The fastest way to copy/paste in Finale is to select a bar (or selection of bars) and ALT-click in the destination-bar. Finale will copy your content accordingly.
This will also work with multiple bars from different staves.


4. advanced copy/paste

There is a hidden feature you can easily miss. With Finale you can decide what elements of you bar exactly you wish to copy/paste. In order to do that you have to activate the filter.
Again, I recommend to learn the shortcut right away. Instead of ALT-clicking, use SHIFT-ALT-click.
Finale will open this Filter menu.



Uncheck all and select only the elements you wish to copy.
The filter is also available with the regular copy/paste key-commands. (COMMAND-c/COMMAND-v). Just use COMMAND-SHIFT-v to paste. Now first the filter window will pop up.


5. Meta Tools

Meta tools are a blessing. They are available for articulations, expressions and smart shapes. First select a tool, then press SHIFT and any letter.
Finale will open this dialogue window.

Now select an item from the list that you would like to assign to that letter and click assign. From now on overtime you hold that letter and click the assigned element will be place in the score. This is a very fast way to place articulations or expressions that you use often.

I hope you enjoyed these 5 essential Finale-tips. Be invited to subscribe to this blog here and be the first to hear when new tips are posted online.
What are your favourite Finale-shortcuts?

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