Finale Layout and What I Couldn’t Say

Last week I had a support contact with a composer whose work I greatly admire. He was editing a large score (more than 100 parts) that had been optimized. While in Scroll View he had recently added a staff. After investing significant time composing with the new staff, he returned to Page View to print his score only to discover that his new staff, and everything in it, was gone. If you have ever worked with optimization in Finale, you may see where this is going.

Optimization is the process Finale has long used to both hide empty staves in the score and to make elements of each staff system independent from other systems. Despite having a somewhat mysterious proprietary name, and being difficult to explain, optimization works great — provided you work in a specific order.

If, for example, he’d entered all his notes first, and then optimized, everything would have been fine. Add notes after optimization, however, and problems like this can occur. One solution is to simply turn optimization off and back on. This works fine as long as you haven’t utilized the other benefit of optimization; namely individual positioning of staves and other related items. With optimization on you can, for example, make the distances between staves on this system different from all others. Turn optimization off, however, and these edits are lost.

Confused? I understand. Even the most advanced users encounter these types of issues and the solution isn’t obvious; it often requires contacting support or spending time troubleshooting instead of composing.

Thankfully in this case, turning optimization off and on worked fine and had no adverse side effects. Once that was established I was dying to mention that Finale 2011 completely eliminates this problem as well as the need to work in a specific order. Unfortunately, because we’re asked to not discuss features in future Finale versions before they’re announced, I couldn’t let the cat out of the bag quite yet.

Now that we’ve announced Finale 2011 I can let everyone know that we’ve made this so much better! Click here to see a short video showing some of Finale 2011’s Staff Layout advancements in action. These changes allow you to decide your workflow, freeing up the creative process.

I’m excited to be able to start sharing these improvements with everyone via the blog, as well as through the Finale Forum, Twitter, and our Facebook page.  Keep tuned in the coming weeks for more announcements and posts regarding Finale 2011!

Have any comments or questions about Finale 2011? Share them by clicking on the “Comments” button below.

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