Finale Quick Tips: The Control/Option Paste Trick


When you copy music in Finale, do you select “Copy” from the Edit menu?  If you answered YES, today’s blog will save you time and effort.

If you answered NO, because you use the keyboard shortcut for copy (or select “Copy” from the contextual menu), today’s blog will save you time and effort, too.

Let’s say you want to copy measure one to measure two. My trick is to click on measure 1 (notice how it becomes “selected”), and then Ctrl-click (option-click on Mac) on measure 2. Done! (Note that this also works with multiple measures, and then you only need to click on the first of the destination measures.)

While that’s faster than clicking on a source measure(s), selecting “Copy” (or the associated keystroke) then clicking on the destination measure(s) and selecting “Paste” (or the associated keystroke), it isn’t a game changer.

It becomes a game changer when you:

  1. Do it a lot, and
  2. Add some additional control.

You get that additional control by simply adding another key. For example, select the source measure(s), then Ctrl+Alt (option + control on Mac) click on the first destination measure: now the Paste Multiple box appears. Here you can choose to repeat the selected region in subsequent measures (horizontally) or in subsequent staves in the same measure (Vertically). Anytime you’d like to repeat a section more than once, or want many staves to play the same figure, this is a crazy time-saver.

Here’s another additional control: say you don’t want to copy EVERYTHING in the measure. Maybe you only want to copy chords, or expressions. Add the Shift key! For example, select the source measure(s) and Ctrl+Shift (option+shift on Mac) on the first destination measure. The Edit Filter box lets you determine EXACTLY what gets copied.

Combined, I think these represent a great power-user tip, but only if you remember them. The trick I use is this: I want more “control” (Windows) or more “options” (Mac) so I use the control or option key when I paste. If you remember the control/option keystroke, the other two modifier keys are easy: simply pick one of the adjacent keys, if it’s the wrong one, no harm is done, simply try the other.

Are you using the control/option paste trick? Tell us how it’s working for you by clicking on “Comments” below!

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