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Music spacing and measure layout

Adjusting your score's general spacing and appearance.

Most music spacing in Finale is automatic, but you can manually change how your music appears on the printed page.

By the end of this tutorial, you will know how to:

  1. Apply or change your music spacing
  2. Control the number of measures per line

Note. To begin at this point, open "Tutorial 7.MUS."

Music Spacing

Finale’s Automatic Music Spacing spaces the notes as you enter them and is also designed to avoid the collision of chords, lyrics, and other score elements. In most cases, you will never need to worry about this feature. However, you may encounter instances when the music does not appear to be spaced correctly. In cases like this, you can manually apply music spacing. Now is the time when Finale’s Page View function is the most useful.

To apply Note Spacing:

  1. Choose View > Page View.
  2. Click the Selection tool .
  3. Press COMMAND+A to highlight the entire document.
  4. Choose Utilities > Music Spacing > Apply Note Spacing to Current Part/Score.

When Finale’s finished, you might notice that the spacing of music and barlines is much more professional looking. Every measure is exactly as wide as it needs to be, and every note is allotted exactly the right amount of horizontal space. Music spaced in this way is said to have nonlinear spacing, as in published music: A whole note doesn’t get as much horizontal space as four quarter notes—it actually gets much less. For more information about Finale’s three music spacing types, see Music Spacing.

Tip. To apply Note Spacing to any region quickly, select the region with the Selection tool and press 4.

Measure Layout

Looking at this score in Page View, you may notice that the music is not spaced evenly on all pages. This can be made more uniform by adjusting the number of measures per line.

To specify the number of measures per system:

  1. Click the Selection tool if it is not already selected.
  2. Press COMMAND+A to highlight the entire document.
  3. Choose Utilities > Fit Measures.
  4. Type "3" in the box labeled Lock Layout With.
  5. Click OK.

You’ll notice that, in addition to adjusting the layout of your music, new padlock icons have appeared at the end of each measure. These are System Locks and show that you have manually adjusted the number of measures per system (or locked the system manually). Once in place, Finale’s Automatic Music Spacing and Automatic Update Layout will not override the number of measures in these systems. They can be removed (Utilities > Unlock Systems) or manually changed.

Notice Finale includes the pickup measure in the Fit Measures calculation. Let's move measure 4 back to the first system (and page since there is only one system per page).

To move measures across system breaks:

  1. Click outside a highlighted area to de-select the music.
  2. Click on measure 3.
  3. Press the UP ARROW.
Watch video "To change the number of measures per system."
  1. Using either the Fit Measures utility or the UP and DOWN ARROWS to move one measure at a time, change your music so that there are 3 measures per line from measures 4 through the end of the score.
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