Quick Finale Tips from Jon Senge – Creating Macros for Finale

Jon SengeJon Senge engraves music for several major U.S. music publishers as well as for notable entertainment companies around the world.

In this new blog series, Jon shares his favorite time-saving Finale tips.

Every day it feels like more work lands on my desk than leaves at the end of the day. In order to have a chance at keeping up, I am always searching for ways to shave time off everything. A day’s worth of saved seconds add up to extra whole minutes I get to spend with my kids!

Today I’ll start with one of my very favorite (and most-used) Finale time savers:

Creating Macros with Keyboard Maestro (or similar shortcut/macro apps)

The Keyboard Maestro application is a tool I use on my Mac to create customized keyboard shortcuts, or “macros,” for the notation programs I use everyday. If I have to do something more than twice, it’s nearly always worth the effort to write a quick little macro that’ll do the task faster than I can click through menus. In the words of Tobais Fünke, “then you have it!” for next time.

Both Finale and Sibelius have built-in keyboard shortcuts, but with an app like Keyboard Maestro, I can create keyboard shortcuts that do a little more than the built-in shortcuts, and I can ensure that the shortcuts are the same for me on both programs.

I have simple keyboard commands for the simple stuff:

  • Opt+w = Save & Close
  • Cmd+Opt+p = Create PDF
  • Opt+m = Make Multimeasure Rest from selection
  • Opt+Shift+q = Change note size to 75% for cues
  • Customized shortcuts to all toolbar functions

Macros can do some pretty heavy lifting as well with the right programming. I have had macros that perform a number of functions to upgrade older Finale files into newer templates, updating fonts, layouts, etc., across entire folders of files. Some of these processes can have a dozen steps to do in each file, and I just don’t want to devote mental energy and time to repetitive tasks when there’s a better (and quicker) way.

If you’re new to creating your own Macros and would like a little guidance, leave me a comment below or send a tweet to me @jonsenge.

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