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The Selection tool

Selecting, copying, transposing, and working with measures.

The Selection tool is Finale’s universal editing tool. It can be used to select, move, delete, copy, paste or otherwise edit any region of measures and virtually any individual item in the score. In this section, you will learn to take advantage of several Selection tool editing capabilities.

In this lesson, you will learn how to:

  1. Select measure regions
  2. Expand selected regions
  3. Transpose
  4. Delete extra measures

Selecting measures

The selection tool can highlight partial, full or multiple measures. Choose the Selection tool and then do the following (selecting alone won't change your music).

To select a region of music

  • Selecting a full measure – Click on the staff lines (without clicking on a note) to select a full measure. (Click only once).
  • Selecting a partial measure or measure region – Click outside and above the staff and drag diagonally across any measure region (partial or whole measures) to select a measure region.
  • Expanding partial measure selection to full measure selection – Double-click a partial measure selection to expand to full measure selection.
  • Selecting a measure stack – Double click a full measure to highlight it in every staff. This is called a measure stack and is indicated by highlighting that extends from the top to the bottom staff, including the area between staves. Many edits in Finale, including deleting measures and some copy and paste functions, require you to highlight the entire measure stack.

Expanding the selection

Any time you highlight something in Finale, you can expand that selection to include more music. Keyboard shortcuts are particularly helpful for this.

To expand selection

  1. Select the Selection tool .
  2. Click measure 16 in the vocal part.
  3. Hold SHIFT and press the DOWN ARROW once to highlight the staff below.
  4. While still holding SHIFT, press the DOWN ARROW again until the entire stack is highlighted.

Tip: You can also expand selection horizontally using SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW and SHIFT+LEFT ARROW.


You can now copy this music and paste it anywhere else in the document. The quickest way to do this is called drag-copying. If the source (highlighted music) and target (blank measures) are both visible on the screen, you can drag it from one place to another.

To drag-copy

  1. With the entire measure stack selected, click and hold on measure 16.
  2. Drag over to measure 17.
  3. When measure 17 is outlined in green, release the mouse button.

Noteman says: The green highlighting indicates you are copying a full measure stackA selected region including full measures in every staff is called a measure "stack" and is indicated by highlighting extending from the top to the bottom staff, including the area between staves.. The target region is highlighted in black if copying a region that is not a stack.

Copying with the clipboard

Finale can also copy and paste using the clipboard. This is useful if the source material and the target measures are not visible on the screen at the same time, but can also be used when the measures are right next to each other.

To copy with the clipboard

  1. Click on measure 9 in the vocal part to highlight the measure.
  2. Hold down SHIFT and click on measure 17 in the vocal part.
  3. Type COMMAND +C.
  4. Click on measure 9 in the Clarinet part.
  5. Type COMMAND +V.

Transposing by interval

You’ll notice that Finale not only copies the music into the Clarinet staff, but that it automatically transposes it up a step so the Clarinet can play it back correctly. For now, let’s view everything in concert pitch.

To view the score in concert pitch

  1. Click on the Document menu.
  2. Select Display in Concert Pitch.

Now you can see the concert pitches the Clarinet will play, which, for now, is unison with the vocal line. Using the Selection tool, you can easily turn this into a harmony part by transposing the Clarinet line.

To transpose by interval

  1. Select all measures of the Clarinet staff. The easiest way is to click to the left of the staff.
  2. Press the 6 key twice. The music moves down two steps. It's now a third lower. This is one of four built-in transposition Metatool keyboard shortcuts.

Noteman says: You can also press 7 to move up a step, 8 for down an octave, and 9 for up an octave.

Tip: For more transposition options, select a region of music and choose Utilities > Transpose. See Transposition dialog box for details.

Deleting extra measures

The Selection tool is also the easiest way to add or remove measures from your document. Let’s try this to delete the remaining blank measures in this example.

To delete extra measures

  1. Double-click on measure 18 to highlight the measure stack.
  2. Hold down SHIFT and the END key to highlight to the end of the piece.
  3. Press the DELETE key.

Tip: Hold down the SHIFT key and press the RIGHT ARROW to expand the selection. If the measure has music in it, SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW highlights the next beat and OPTION+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW highlights the entire measure).

Noteman says: To add measures to the end of the score, choose Edit > Add Measures.

More Selection tool functions

The Selection tool will activate the correct tool when you double click on an element in the score, allowing you to make even further edits.

More edits with the Selection tool:

  1. Click measure 17 in the Clarinet part and press DELETE to clear the measure.
  2. Double-click directly on the whole note D in measure 16 of the clarinet part.
  3. Observe that the note has turned purple and that the Simple Entry tool is now activated in the main tool palette.
  4. Use the arrow keys to move the D down to an A.
  5. Press the ESCAPE key twice to return to the Selection tool. (If the Caret is active, you will need to press ESC three times).

Noteman says: Many other tools in Finale have context menus giving you quicker ways to add or change elements in your music. Try selecting the Time Signature tool and right-clicking on a measure to quickly change time signatures as you write.

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