Staff Attributes dialog box

How to get there

The Staff Attributes dialog box can be accessed in two ways:

  1. Choose the Staff tool . The Staff menu appears.
  2. Choose Staff > Edit Staff Attributes.


  • Double-click a staff handle, or a staff name handle.

What it does

In the Staff Attributes dialog box, you can specify many staff-specific traits, including whether or not certain musical elements should appear in this staff, such as measure numbers, default whole rests, time signatures, and repeat ending brackets, to name a few. You can also define other properties of the staff, hide staves, and designate independent elements to the staff that are generally the same among all score staves (like the key and time signature). Other elements of staves, like the staff name, transposition, and clef, are part of Finale's instrument definition, and available in the Score Manager.

  • Allow Hiding When Empty. Use this option to control whether Finale removes the staff during the Hide Staff process (see To hide empty staves). Click to select this check box if you want to allow Finale to hide this staff (if it contains no music). Deselect the check box to prevent Finale from hiding the staff--the staff will appear, even if it contains no music. For example, you might select this option for the Treble and Bass staves of a piano score, because scores usually display both staves of piano parts, even when other parts drop out. (If these staves include a group bracket/brace, it is recommended to use the "Only Hide if All Staves are Empty" option (under When Hiding Empty Staves) in the Group Attributes dialog box for the group containing these staves).
  • Break barlines between staves • Break repeat barlines between staves. Normally, when you group some staves together, the barlines are drawn continuously through them (including the blank spaces between them). Select "Break Barlines Between Staves" if you want barlines—both normal and repeat barlines—not to continue through to the next staff above this one. (If this staff isn’t part of a staff group, you won’t notice any difference. You group staves by selecting their handles with the Staff Tool and double-clicking one of the selected handles.)

    Select "Break Repeat Barlines Between Staves" if you want to break repeat barlines that would normally continue through to the next staff above this one. This option doesn’t affect normal barlines.

  • Display rests in empty measures. To save you time, Finale normally draws a default whole rest in every blank measure. Deselect this check box if you don’t want Finale to draw these "false" whole rests for this staff. You might wish to suppress them if, for example, you simply want to print out blank score paper.
  • Flat Beams. Select this option to force all the beams in the staff to draw flat instead of at an angle.
  • Force Hide Staff; Cutaway • and Collapse • in Score Only. Select this option to hide staves that contain notes or create cutaway scores. (To hide staves without notes, removing empty staves from systems entirely, see To hide empty staves.) Use this control when you want to hide a staff used for ossia measure source staves, or if you’ve created a staff that contains playback effects such as written out trills or tremolos. The word "(hidden)" appears in Staff Lists next to the staff name for any staves that are hidden. While creating a staff style in the almost identical Staff Styles dialog box, choose Cutaway if you would like to define a staff style that hides a staff so that it begins or ends halfway across the page (when the other staves in the system continue all the way to the page margins). See Cutaway scores. (The Cutaway feature will always hide the entire staff when used as a Staff Attribute). Choose "and Collapse" if you want to remove the staff from systems entirely. Choose "in Score Only" to collapse in the score, leaving the part as is.
  • Ignore Key Signatures. Finale retains this setting for compatibility with older version files. Select this option if you want Finale to transpose all the notes in the staff to the key of C for the entire piece, regardless of any key changes that occur.
  • Redisplay Accidentals in Other Layers Within Measures. Choose this option to display accidentals on notes that appear for the first time within a particular layer within a measure. For example, if an A# appears in layer 1 on beat one and in layer 2 on beat 3, Finale does not, by default, display the accidental on the layer 2 note. Choosing this option displays the accidental on the layer 2 note.
  • Independent Elements: Key Signature • Time Signature • Notehead Font; Select. "Independent" means that these elements are allowed to vary from staff to staff. These options let you specify key signatures, time signatures, music font, or notehead shapes for each staff independently.

    For example, click Key Signature or Time Signature if you want this staff to be in a different key or meter than the other staves in the piece. When you click the Key Signature or Time Signature Tool, a handle appears on every barline of each staff for which you’ve selected Key Signature or Time Signature. Click the handle to access the Key Signature or Time Signature dialog box for that staff alone.

    You can choose any font for your noteheads without affecting flags, rests, and accidentals on the notes in the staff. When the Notehead Font check box is selected, Finale uses the font you select for the current staff. When this check box is not selected, Finale uses the font specified in the Select Default Fonts dialog box for Instruments in the Standard Notation Style, or, for Percussion or Tablature Notation Style (see Score Manager), whatever font set for Tablature or Percussion Noteheads under the Notation drop-down menu in Document Options - Fonts. Click Select to display the Font dialog box.

  • Use Note Shapes. Check this box and click Select to open the Note Shapes dialog box, where you can define note shape appearance for the staff. See Note Shapes dialog box.
  • Alternate Notation • Select. Use this check box and select button to set alternate notation for the entire staff. See Alternate Notation dialog box.
  • # Full Name • Position. It’s important to understand that you establish the position for staff names globally using the Set Default Name Position command in the Staff menu. Use the Position button here only to override the global position for this particular staff. To do so, click the Position check box, then click Position, to display the Position Full Staff Name dialog box (see Position dialog box.)
  • # Abbr. Name • Position. Here, too, you should realize that you set the global position for staff-name abbreviations using the Set Default Name Position command. Use the Position check box and button here only to override the global position for this particular staff.
  • Items to Display: Augmentation Dots • Barlines • Chords • Clefs • Endings and Text Repeats • Fretboards • Key Signatures • Lyrics • Measure Numbers • Repeat Bars • Rests • Staff Lines • Staff Name in Score • Staff Name in Part • Stems • Stem Settings • Ties • Time Signatures. These check boxes specify which musical elements will appear in this staff. For example, you probably wouldn’t want measure numbers to appear in both staves of a piano part; to omit them from the bass-clef staff, you’d deselect the Measure Numbers check box. Click the Select button to the right of the Stem check box to customize your stem settings. See Staff Stem Settings dialog box.

    Tip: If you don’t want barlines to appear in a particular measure in all the staves in your piece, select the "Invisible" barline in the Measure tool. Or, if you don’t want barlines to appear in your entire score, deselect Display All Barlines in Document Options - Barlines.

  • OK • Cancel. Click OK to confirm, or Cancel to discard, the settings you’ve made in this dialog box and return to the score.

See also:

Staff Styles

Staff Setup

Percussion Layout Selection

Percussion Layout Designer

Note Shapes


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