Reusing document settings

Noteman says: When you install a new version of Finale on your computer, document styles, ensembles, templates, and libraries are not copied from the previous version. To migrate these files, see To migrate settings and support files from one version of Finale to another.

There are several time-saving options when you work frequently with common document settings:

  • Document Styles and ensembles. While you can create any kind of document using the Setup Wizard, you can make this process even faster by using a document style, which includes many different settings that you don't have to configure after a document is created. Additionally, if there is an instrumentation that you use frequently, you can reuse those instruments using an ensemble in the Setup Wizard. Finale includes several predefined Document Styles and ensembles.
  • Templates. Templates are useful for situations that are not easily created through the Setup Wizard; for example, a certain musical genre may use specialized notational conventions, such as a 2-staff choral work combining Soprano/Alto and Tenor/Bass in staff names. Templates include document settings, existing elements like text blocks, and a specific instrumentation. Finale includes a number of preset templates organized into genre categories.
  • Libraries. In cases where you only want to share certain document options and settings with other documents, use a library. You can specify exactly which elements from your existing document will be saved in a separate library file, which can then be imported into any document. Finale includes a wide variety of libraries for many different situations and many different fonts.

Finale also includes a Default document that can be edited. This document is only used in two very specific situations: when choosing File > New > Default Document and when importing a MusicXML file.

Document Styles

In Finale, you can reuse all document settings from any existing document by designating it as it as a Document StyleA Document Style is a model document with settings that can be inherited by new scores created with the Setup Wizard. Document Styles differ from templates in that you still need to specify which instruments appear in your score; you can also associate a Document Style with a particular Setup Wizard ensemble so that it is always used for that ensemble. Like templates, Document Styles can use the Finale Template File extension, .FTMX, or they can be regular MUSX files.. A Document Style is basically a model document with settings that can be duplicated while designing a new score in the Setup Wizard. When you designate a file as a Document Style, you are telling Finale you would like to use its articulations, expressions, fonts, Score Lists, staff styles, page layout and all other document options and libraries alongside the instrumentation and other settings you specify in the Setup Wizard. For a list of all document-specific settings, see Document Settings and Program Settings.


You can define a custom ensemble that can be selected whenever you begin a new score with the Setup Wizard. You might use this feature if, for example, you regularly compose for an ensemble that uses a unique instrumentation.


Noteman says: If you do not want the Setup Wizard to be displayed when you use a template file, deselect Display Setup Wizard When Opening a Template in the Preferences - New dialog box.

When you open a template document, Finale opens the last two pages of the Setup Wizard where you can customize the template’s title, composer, time signature, key signature, and other settings. Upon finishing the Wizard, Finale opens a new untitled document based on your settings (so you don’t accidentally change the original). You’ll find more than 30 different kinds of blank scores (piano-vocal scores, choral setups, chamber orchestra scores, and so on.) Each of these templates, like the Maestro Font Default file, has a selection of libraries already loaded. These include the Chord Suffix, Articulations, Shape Expressions, Text Expressions, Text Repeats, Allotments (medium), Quarter Tone, and Executable Shapes libraries. Each has also been defined to have sequential measure numbers, page numbers, and a sample title. Staves for the transposing instruments (e.g., clarinets, horns) have been set up to transpose automatically (see Transposing instruments).


If you want to save a set of document options to apply to other documents, or move document options from one document to many, you have a couple options depending on your needs. You can transport the settings in the Document Options dialog box using a Document Options library. Or, to transport a collection of settings (or “house style”) including Document Options, page format and others, to many files at once, use the FinaleScript plug-in.

For information about the diverse collection of preset libraries included with Finale, see Finale libraries.

Leave feedback on this topic
Finale 2014 for Windows

7007 Winchester Circle, Suite 140

Boulder, CO 80301

Copyright and trademarks