Sharing Finale Files

If you have Finale 2010, you are essentially a superhero. You can leap tall buildings in a single bound AND open up Finale files created in all current and past versions of any Finale-family music notation program. On the other hand, let’s say you’re collaborating with someone using Finale 2007: Finale 2007 can’t directly open the Finale files you save. What does a caped crusader like you do in the face of such a dilemma?

You might use MusicXML.

MusicXML is a file format, created so that musicians using a variety of software packages could all communicate. Huh? If you’re familiar with saving and opening MIDI files, MusicXML files work much the same way, but better.  Users of Finale 2010 can save their scores as MusicXML files and anyone using Finale 2003 or newer can open them. Best of all, it’s easy to do:

  1. While viewing the music you wish to share in Finale 2010, go to the File menu and choose MusicXML>Export
  2. Give the file a name (let’s call it KRYPTON.XML) and note where you save it
  3. In Finale 2007, go to the File menu, choose MusicXML>Import, and select the file (in this example KRYPTON.XML)

It’s that easy. Your Finale 2007-using friend can now make any changes they wish to your piece, and simply save the results as a Finale file to send back to you.

In the interest of full disclosure, there are a few caveats. Features not found in earlier versions (Linked Parts come to mind) are not supported, which means they won’t appear when you reopen the 2007-saved file.  Similarly, if you’ve configured fancy sounds to play back, this may not transfer back and forth. My rule of thumb is this: If you’re working on collaborating on what the notes should be, and aren’t working on final layout or playback, MusicXML can be a lifesaver. 

But what if you are working on final layout and your collaborator doesn’t have Finale 2010? Superheroes always have lots of cool gadgets and you’re no exception.

Both Finale Reader and Finale NotePad 2010 can read Finale 2010 files. If your collaborator needs to view, play, and print your score, but not actually edit it, Reader is a perfect – and free – solution. If they need to make some minor edits, and you need to make sure that nothing else changes in the file, NotePad is a bargain at $9.95.

I hope these low-cost file sharing tips help you in your work, whether it’s creating new music, arranging old music, or foiling the plans of supervillains!

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