Finale and PDFtoMusic Pro

I recently attended the annual conference of the Major Orchestral Librarian’s Association (MOLA) where I was asked to talk about music scanning. In my first clinic I mentioned turning PDF files into TIFFs as a way to take a PDF and turn it into a Finale file. I explained that although Macintosh computers come with a free PDF to TIFF converter, Windows users need to start by finding a conversion application like PDF995. While I’ve had some success with this entire process, I have to admit it’s cumbersome at best.

In the process of explaining all this I noticed one man in the audience typing away frantically on his computer. Eventually he raised his hand and offered: “I just found the website of a program called PDFtoMusic Pro that might help.” I promised to check it out that night and report back at my subsequent clinic the next day.

I was impressed with what I found. PDFtoMusic Pro converts a PDF file to a MusicXML file which can be opened in Finale and other music notation programs. I’ve spoken about MusicXML on this blog before; it’s a file format created so that musicians using different software packages could communicate with each other.

The PDFtoMusic Pro website suggests some of the uses for their product: You might have created a lot of files in an old music notation program that can’t be saved in any file format recognized by your new program. Or you have a PDF created by a music notation program, but not its source file, and you need to make edits. These are just a few examples.

The site makes it clear that PDFtoMusic Pro was not created to work with all PDF files: it’s designed to process PDF files that have been exported by a music notation program. Even with this caveat mentioned, many folks at the MOLA conference immediately saw the benefits it could offer them.

More good news? There’s a free demo you can try out before you buy.

Of course I did just that and offer this glance. The image on the left is in the PDFtoMusic Pro application. From here I hit the Export button (circled in red) to create a MusicXML file. Then in Finale I went to the File menu and chose MusicXML>Import. The results I obtained are seen on the right.

I thought the results were pretty impressive, but suggest you try out the free demo for yourself.

Was this a helpful tip? Let me know by clicking the “Comments” button below.

get the best from finale

Composing, arranging, and engraving tips delivered to your inbox.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By viewing or browsing our site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Read our Privacy Policy for more information.