The Finale Tool Pallet Order Should Influence Your Workflow

Have you ever noticed that the Finale tool pallet is actually set up in the order that Finale prefers you enter things?

Finale 2014 Tool Pallet

Finale 2014 Tool Pallet

The tools for adding instruments, adding measures, changing key signatures, and changing time signatures are first on the pallet. That means Finale wants you to create a canvas so that pitches and rhythms can be added properly.

The note entry tools are next. This is because Finale is ready for you to enter pitches and rhythms with whatever note entry tool you’re most comfortable in. If you’ve already added enough measures, and plotted your key signature and time signature changes, you should theoretically be able to go to town on your note entry task without changing tools.

Dynamics are next on the tool pallet. Once you have all your notes entered, Finale wants you to go through your score and put in dynamics. As you know, this assists in playback as well. Finale understands how loud or soft to play back your notes just like an instrumentalist: it reads the dynamic markings first.

Articulations are next. You see, Finale doesn’t expect you to worry about dynamics and articulations as you’re entering the notes. Although you’re welcome to do so, you’ll just have to switch tools or know your keyboard shortcuts. Still, Finale is cool with you slapping those in as an after thought.

This on is important: The page layout tool is near the bottom of the tool pallet. Finale doesn’t even want you to worry about the spacing of the staffs or the layout of the page until after your music is entered, with dynamics, articulations, chords, lyrics, and all the other junk you might need. Only then does Finale think you’re ready to start laying out the page for print. If you keep this in mind, you could save yourself a lot of time. Try to stay out of the habit of monkeying around with page layout before you have all the other markings you need entered.

If you like adding articulations and dynamics at the same time that you’re entering notes, Finale can accommodate you. Learn these keyboard shortcuts if you’re a Simple Entry Tool fan.

And of course, with the new Score Manager tool, found in the Windows menu, Finale makes it easier than ever to add and remove staffs as an afterthought.

Have a Finale workflow question? Leave me a comment!

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