Finale and the Creature of Habit – Part 2, Document Styles

In my previous blog post, I talked about the power of creating your own Ensembles for use in Finale’s Setup Wizard. I’ve since heard from a few folks who, like me, are big fans of Finale’s Templates. Before I discuss Templates, however, I want to share a related tip about creating your own Document Styles.

But before I do even that, perhaps I should review what each item offers, and when you might use it:

Ensembles contain your instrumentation and can be linked to a specific document style. They are very easy to use and create, and always appear in your Setup Wizard. If you currently use the Setup Wizard to create new files, don’t do a lot of super-tweaking of group names and staff positioning, and often work with the same instrumentation, these are for you. Learn more here.

Document Styles don’t contain instrumentation, but contain all libraries (including any expressions or articulations you’ve created) as well as any page-attached text and document options.  They are simple to create (details to follow) and also appear in the Setup Wizard. Because they don’t contain instrumentation, they are very flexible — you might, for example, have one document style that you use for a variety of ensembles. Document Styles work hand-in-hand with Ensembles, and are similarly best suited for folks who aren’t doing a lot of super-tweaking of group names and staff positioning. More details below.

Templates combine all the control of Document Styles with the specificity of Ensembles. If you are repeatedly writing for one specific group of fixed instrumentation, and really want ultimate control over things like group names and staff positioning, Templates are the choice for you. We’ll talk more about Templates in my next blog post.

Okay, now for a really great tip. How do you create a Document Style? Take any Finale file that contains library items or document settings you like, and simply copy it into your Document Styles folder. Here’s where to find this folder on a Macintosh computer:

HD>Applications>Finale 2010>Document Styles

Windows users will find it here:

C:\Program Files\Finale 2010\Document Styles

Inside the Document Styles folder you could place your file in any of the existing subfolders (Band, Choral, General, etc.) or even create your own folder and place your file in that. Whatever files or folders you put inside the Document Styles folder will appear in Finale’s Setup Wizard.

In the example above, I simply created a folder titled “Scott’s Custom Doc Styles,” put my document titled “Scott’s Fine-Tuned File” in it, and tossed the whole thing in my Document Styles folder.

Note that I said you could use ANY Finale file. What I mean is that you don’t have to delete notes or staves or anything – just toss it in there. What makes this such a cool tip is that Finale automatically knows what to retain from your score, and what to ignore (like the instrumentation). This means that when you next use the Setup Wizard, and select your file as a Document Library, the resulting piece will contain the music font, the libraries, the page-attached graphics, and the program options from your piece, but not the notes or the instrumentation, which you can freely change every time (either by choosing a pre-existing ensemble or by specifying each instrument on page two of the Setup Wizard).

Now here’s my final tip of the day. You can edit any aspect of the existing Document Styles just as you can edit ANY other Finale document.  Let’s say you like the Engraved Style, but never use the Subtitle text insert (and you find yourself deleting it all the time).  Simply open the Finale file called “Engraved Style” in your Document Styles folder, remove the text insert, and save your changes. Done! One added bonus is that Finale protects edited Document Styles files during installs and will never overwrite any Document Style (or Template) files you’ve edited.

Next time we’ll talk about templates, but in the meantime, I encourage you to experiment with Document Styles and see if you’re tempted to incorporate them in your new habits.

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