SmartMusic Finale Garritan MusicXML

Streamlining Part Layout with Finale 2011

Photo Credit: Sergey Petrov

Your score is finished, and it looks great. But before anyone can perform your music you’ll need to prepare and edit your parts. Prior to the introduction of Linked Parts in Finale 2007, you had to extract parts before you could edit them. While you could set page formatting options for the parts before extracting, in practice this often necessitated some time consuming trial and error before arriving at your desired layout settings.

With Linked Parts, you can view any part in your score, at any time, from Document Menu > Edit Part. While Finale’s default part layout settings are often sufficient, if you have specific layout needs you can quickly edit these defaults and apply them to all parts in your score without the need to extract, spot-check, and repeat.

I answered many questions related to this topic in my days as a technical support agent. Sometimes users would be so used to the old way of doing things they’d just assume they’d have to layout each individual part of their orchestral score; it was a fun call when I could point someone in the direction of the Manage Parts options, and save them so much time.

By following the steps below, hopefully you can save some time as well:

  1. Navigate to Document Menu > Manage Parts > Part Creation Preferences > Page Format for Parts.
  2. In the Page Format for Parts dialog, set your desired page size, orientation, and margin values then press OK.
  3. In the Part Creation Preferences dialog, set your desired options for multimeasure rests, music spacing, and how many measures Finale should place in each system, then press OK.
  4. In Manage Parts, click Generate Parts.

Now go to Document Menu > Edit Part and select a part to see your results. While some situations may require some additional editing, I’ve found this process to be a huge timesaver.

Let us know how part layout is working for you by clicking on “Comments” below.


  1. by Justin W. Phillips

    Absolutely! I'll pass on those requests to our development team!

  2. by SF

    The reason some of us separate the linked parts into individual files is that link parts do not allow you to… 1. Unlink hairpins (hard to understand why this hasn't been addressed yet). 2. Copy measure adjustments like Extra space, Measure Widths, Note Positioning to other measures within a part. If those two items would be addressed then it would make sense to leave the parts linked within the file.

  3. by Justin W. Phillips

    Hi Chris Hoh, There isn't a way to set the expression placement automatically as you described, but I can submit that as a feature request to our development team. I can also submit a feature request for auto naming if you want the name to be different.

  4. by Justin W. Phillips

    Hi Brian Megilligan, You can do this by creating a new part in Manage Parts. This allows you to add whatever staves you want to a sub-score (like for percussion or strings). No re-generation should be needed to do this. -Justin at MakeMusic

  5. by Justin W. Phillips

    Hi JCMusic251, All extracting does is create an .mus file for the specific part selected and does not remove the part from the score. The benefit of linked parts is that any change you make is reflected back on the score and vice versa. If a part is extracted, it is a separate document sort of like doing a Save As. Some people extract if they need to do some very specific editing or major layout changes on the part which would not be best for a linked part. -Justin at MakeMusic

  6. by Chris Hoh

    Thanks for the reminder. This is a huge timesaver and was a welcome improvement. Would be great if we could set default placements for things like expressions in parts separately from in the score. Also default options for naming parts in parts that wouldn't change them in the score. Do those features exist somewhere that I have missed? chris

  7. by Brian Megilligan

    I like the integration of score and parts in recent versions of Finale. Overall, it works well, but I am frustrated by two aspects of this feature: 1) groups. I cannot figure out how to manage groups. It seems that the grand staves are not always put together, or if I want to make a percussion group so that multiple parts appear together, I have a hard time creating a group that is grouped as a "part" the same way it appears on the score. 2) Is there a way to add a new part without being forced to erase all the formatting and editing already done on previous parts? I don't understand why I have to lose that. What I usually end up doing is a "save as…" add the part I want, ignore the formatting for existing parts, and use the new score for the new part. Not sure if I explained that well. I don't like having two separate scores though, that seems to defeat the point of having a score with linked parts. Any insight into these issues would be much appreciated!

  8. by JCMusic251

    Being a late adopter to Finale having used another program for a long time (I now use both based on the clients needs/wishes) and still rather new to many features, and in some ways, completely "blind" to the old ways of having to do things on Finale. But I'm wondering – is there ever a real "need" to extract parts in Finale now? Other than the idea of having a separate "file" for each part, which really, since all of my finished product is delivered in PDF form, is really not a need for me that I ever see. I find it VERY scary to "detach" all of my parts from the score should I desire to make changes in the future or in the process of the work on the chart. (I can be in the middle of editing/formatting parts and get a call for a need to change something in the entire score – thus I'm glad my parts are not extracted at that point!) Right now I edit/format parts all from within the Edit Parts menu while everything is still linked to the score and basically never extract parts ever now. Is there any reason why I don't want to work this way? Thanks!

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