Creating Perfect Page Layout with Finale

Once you have finished entering your music, it’s time to tackle the look and feel of the document to prepare it for publication. Creating the perfect layout for your document is easy if you follow these steps utilizing the oft-forgotten Edit System Margins window.

First, click on the Page Layout tool to view the document in a page format. Finale’s page view is the print preview mode for a document; what you see on the screen is what you will see when you print, minus the display colors and margins. 

Once you are in Page View, the document will be covered in dashed lines which represent the margins for both the page and the individual systems. These margins work together to keep the systems within a defined space on the page and an equal distance from one another. This is the point where that oft-forgotten tool that we mentioned earlier comes into play – the Edit System Margins window.

The Edit System Margins window is the easiest and most powerful way to set the spacing of systems on a page and throughout a document. To open the Edit System Margins window, go up to the Page Layout menu and choose Systems >> Edit Margins.

Within this window you will have the ability to set a numerical value for the top, bottom, left and right system margins as well as the distance between each system. This last setting, distance between systems, is the option that will be used most often to create perfect system spacing throughout a document. The best part of the Edit System Margins window is that it is dynamic – you can adjust the distance between systems, click Apply and see the settings take effect in the document without closing the window. This allows one to quickly experiment with different settings until the desired look is achieved. 

Here’s today’s nota bene (which roughly translates as: “Dude, check it out!”): Since system one includes a large top system margin to allow for the document title, it is recommended that you use the Edit System Margin tool starting with system two of the document.

Once you have found the Distance Between Systems setting that looks good, you can then quickly apply it to the rest of the document using the Change System _ thru settings and to the other linked parts in the document using the Apply to Parts/Score settings.

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