Shape Designer

You can create your own shapes and symbols in Finale using the built-in Shape Designer. You’ll find this built-in graphics program as easy to use as any standard drawing program. In fact, the Shape Designer is even better, because shapes you create in it can be musically intelligent! They can stretch along with the score, affect playback, or appear in every staff at once.

You might create, for example, a harp pedaling diagram, or a custom barline. You can also design rectangles to use as text enclosures when you’re creating Text Blocks, block rests to serve as multimeasure rests in extracted parts, and special shapes for use as custom stems.

Font changes are saved and read with Shape Libraries. As a result, fonts embedded in shapes created with special characters in the Shape Designer will maintain their appearance when imported into another file.

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To enter the Shape Designer

  1. Choose the Expression tool icon.
  2. Double-click where you would like to attach the marking. The Expression Selection dialog box appears.
  3. Choose the desired category on the left and then click the Create button at the bottom of this dialog box. The Expression Designer dialog box appears.
  4. Click Shape then Create to enter the Shape Designer. Alternatively, click Select, choose a shape, and click Edit to edit an existing shape in the Shape Designer. (There are various other ways to enter the Shape Designer. See Shape Designer dialog box.)

To create a shape

  1. Enter the Shape Designer as described above.

    If the shape is to be very large or very small, you can “zoom in” (or out) by using the View dropdown menu. Using the Shape Designer menu, you can tell Finale to display rulers or a grid to help you draw precisely-sized objects.

  2. Click the tool you want to draw with; then drag the mouse in the main drawing area. The kind of line you draw is determined by the tool you click. For example, to draw a line, you click the Line Tool and drag in the drawing area. When you release the mouse, the line is a distinct object whose length, thickness, and angle you can easily change at any time. See Shape Designer dialog box for details.
  3. Use the selection tool and click on the shape. Change the way the shape looks by dragging a position of a handle (or control point). Or, use the selection tool, click on the shape (so the control points appear) then click and drag the shape (but don’t grab any of the control points) to reposition it relative to the ClosedoriginA handle in the Shape Designer that anchors your shape, acts as the zero point for the rulers and positioning coordinates, and indicates where your shape’s handle will appear once you’ve placed it into the score. The origin appears as a small circle in the center of the drawing area.. By editing the numbers in the H: and V: boxes you can also change the shape’s position relative to the origin. H: means the point’s Horizontal position, relative to the origin (the small white circle); V: means its Vertical position. The units of measurement are whatever you select using the Rulers and Grid command in the Shape Designer menu.

    When you drag one of the eight bounding handles of a multiline object or polygon shape, you resize the object. To view the individual control points that define a multiline, polygon, or bracket shape, double-click the object. To edit a curve or slur, click once to see the three draggable shaping handles; double-click one of these handles to see the four control handles for even more control. (Use the arrow keys to nudge a selected handle by one EVPU [1/288th inch].)

  4. Combine elements of your drawing, if you wish, by selecting them and choosing Shape Designer > Group. To select several objects, click the Selection tool. Then either SHIFT+click the objects you want, or drag-enclose them. Or, if you want to select all the objects, choose Edit > Select All. Once grouped, the objects are locked in relation to each other, and may be moved or resized as a unit. You can create nested groups, too, by combining groups together using the same method. To ungroup, select a group and choose Shape Designer > Ungroup.
  5. Create layered effects using Shape Designer > Send to Back and Bring to Front commands. See Shape Designer menu for more information.
  6. To specify the shading for an enclosed object, click the object and select the fill amount by choosing Shape Designer > Fill submenu. You can specify Black, White, or any degree of gray.
  7. Press ENTER twice. If you’re creating an Expression mark (as opposed to an Executable Shape for playback), you arrive at the Shape Expression Designer.

    If you select Allow Horizontal Stretching, Finale permits the shape to stretch out along with the music if the measures are widened. For example, you wouldn’t want to Allow Horizontal Stretching for a fixed-shape symbol such as a harp pedaling diagram—but you would for slurs, crescendo hairpins, or glissando lines.

  8. Click OK or Select in each dialog box until you return to the document. Once the shape is in the score, you can adjust its position by dragging its handle. To stretch it, double-click the shape’s handle; its eight bounding handles appear. To completely reshape the graphic, double-click a second time. Its Control+point handles appear, which you can then drag exactly as you would in the Shape Designer.