Finale Blog: Tom’s Eight Great Tips

Tom Johnson praises QuickStart Videos under the watchful eye of Dan Rhinhart, our International Sales Associate.

So far 2011 has been a busy year. I’ve been gallivanting around the country giving three to five Finale clinics a week – sometimes more. While I’ve discussed a variety of Finale-related themes in my travels, the one clinic topic that consistently receives the most enthusiastic response seems to be “Tom’s Eight Great Tips.”

When I began blogging about Finale, almost a year and half ago, one of my first posts was the start of a list of my favorite tips. Since then I’ve refined the list and arrived at eight as being the right number.

And so, without further ado, here are my eight great Finale tips! While I typically provide more specific detail in a live clinic, today I hope to give you enough info to begin experimenting with each tip on your own:

1. QuickStart Videos: Find them in Finale’s Help menu or Launch Window. Don’t know how to get started? Don’t read manuals? These videos were created for you!

2. The Selection tool lets you do nearly anything. To select it with a two-button mouse, right-click. Have a one-button mouse? Then ctrl-click. With the Selection tool chosen, you can click on just about any item in Finale and subsequently manipulate it.

3. Selection tool keystrokes: Once you’ve selected something with the Selection tool, you can change it:

  • Easy interval transposition? Experiment with typing 6, 7, 8, or 9
  • Move measures? Use up/down arrows to move measures to adjacent staff systems
  • Check range? Go to Plug-ins> Scoring and Arranging>Check Range

4. When using Simple Note Entry, these keyboard shortcuts can really speed things up:

  • Entering an eighth note? Type a 4 on your numpad. Want a larger duration? Use a larger number, and so on.
  • Type 0 to enter a rest for a selected duration
  • Type r to change a note to a rest
  • Type . (period) to add an augmentation dot to a note or rest

5. More Simple Entry tips!

  • To select an existing note, ctrl-click it (Windows) or option-click it on a Mac
  • Remember the Re-pitch tool on the Simple Entry Palette: it’s the whole note with arrows
  • Have a laptop? Go to: Simple menu>Simple Entry Option>Edit Keyboard Shortcuts>Keyboard Shortcut Set

6. Other Simple Entry shortcuts: the x and * keystrokes (the ` keystroke on laptops) allow you to select the Expression and Articulation tools from within Simple Entry. From there you can use the same keystrokes you’d use within the Expression and Articulation tools, like:

  • Expressions – to enter a forte: 4
  • Articulations – to enter a staccato: s

7. Drag-Select: Within the Expression and Articulation tools, you can hold down a keyboard shortcut (like the 4=forte expression above) and drag-select several notes to add multiple staccatos.

8. SmartShape tool shortcuts:

  • Select the slur tool: s
  • Select the crescendo tool: <

Again, the idea with the tips above isn’t to provide an exhaustive list of every keystroke, but to point you in the direction of ways to save time and effort, and to encourage you to experiment.  If you’re like me you might not remember all the specifics, but if you figure out that < creates a crescendo, you might simply try > when you need a decrescendo.

More detail on most of these tips can be found right here in the blog. Want to learn more about Simple Entry, for example? Look in the right column of this blog for Search, type “Simple Entry” and you can pick from a handful of related posts.

Please let us know what tips help you, or ask a question, by clicking on “Comments” below!

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