Finale v.25.3 maintenance update is released


Today MakeMusic released the third update to version 25 of Finale (25.3). This is a free update for all registered users of Finale v.25. Users can update directly through the software or through their MakeMusic account.

While there are a few new features and bug fixes, the focus of this release was Finale’s underlying code, including Unicode improvements. In a post on the official Finale blog, Michael Johnson, MakeMusic’s vice president of professional notation, said: “We continue to make significant investments under-the-hood, improving Finale infrastructure (or code base) to set the stage for additional improvements in the future. While much of this work may not produce measurable improvements in the way Finale works today, to not mention them would seriously under-represent the work we’re doing on the behalf of Finale users.”

In addition, Mark Adler, MakeMusic’s notation product manager and senior editor, told me: “On the Windows side, I’d especially like to point out the authorization fix for Windows 10 users. This has been an annoying bug that has affected a number of our Windows users.”

Separately, earlier this month Jari Williamsson released long-awaited 64-bit versions of many of his popular freeware Finale plug-ins, for both Mac and PC, making it possible to use these plug-ins in Finale 25 for the first time.

Here’s what’s new in Finale v.25.3.

Separate aperture width for short and long hairpins

The aperture width for short and long hairpins can be set independently, thanks to new options in the Tools > Smart Shape > Smart Shape Options dialog:

Here’s an example that demonstrates these settings:

The apertures “of complementary hairpins should match in width,” according Elaine Gould’s music engraving reference Behind Bars and general good judgment, so the example above is more for demonstration purposes than an example of good notation practice.

Of course, you can still manually adjust the apertures of hairpins on an individual basis, just as you could before, but this will make it a little easier to get the desired results automatically. If you save a .musx file in Finale 25.3 and open it with an earlier version, the Long span opening width setting is the one that’s retained in the file.

Sibelius and Dorico have similar features; Sibelius works exactly like Finale, while Dorico scales the aperture width linearly.

Restrict MusicXML formatting on import

Building upon the feature first introduced in Finale 25.2 which made it possible to import a MusicXML file directly into an open document, Finale 25.3 now allows you to Restrict MusicXML formatting if that box is checked in File > Import > MusicXML Preferences and Use current document if empty is selected.

This discards some formatting information upon importing a MusicXML file, such as page size, forced system breaks and the distance between systems, so that you can more quickly get to the business of formatting the music to your own specifications.

Canceled key signatures are now correctly displayed in transposing scores when changing from a key to a keyless area

Finale 2014 introduced the very useful ability to have a “keyless” key signature (also known as an open key or atonal key). But there was one problem: In a transposing score (Document > Display in Concert Pitch turned off), Finale didn’t cancel the key signatures on transposing instruments when going from a key to a keyless area, unless Cancel Outgoing Key Signature is checked in Document Options > Key Signatures.

This meant that if your preference was the more accepted modern convention of not canceling the outgoing key signature, you could encounter a situation like this:

Notice how the clarinet and horn don’t display a change of key — potentially resulting in confused players and a lot of wrong notes.

Thankfully, this has been corrected in Finale 25.3:

Other new features and fixes

  • Unicode musical symbols can now be used as accidentals in nonstandard key signature definitions. To do this, you need a gold medal in nested dialog Olympic achievement: Tools > Key Signature > Nonstandard Key Signature > Special Key Signature Attributes > Symbol List > Symbol Selection. Cue the trumpets! Are there any national anthems written in a nonstandard key signature? Anyway…
  • Metadata for Finder and Spotlight has been improved and updated to 64-bit (Mac only), making more robust searches possible.
  • The Simple Entry cursor color reflects the currently selected layer.
  • SMuFL Symbols. If a SMuFL font is installed locally, SMuFL symbols are imported when a MusicXML import or export is performed.
  • MusicXML export supports nonstandard key signatures created with Unicode symbols.
  • Patterson Beams has been updated to respect Keep Octave Transposition in Concert Pitch.
  • Audio device failure detection has been improved. An Audio Initialization Notification dialog box now appears to allow you to disable the device, quit Finale, and/or wait (Windows only).
  • All characters display correctly in a file when opened between minor releases and cross platform.
  • The Clef Designer dialog box accurately previews new character selections (Mac only).
  • Characters above 127 can now be selected in the Clef Designer dialog box (Mac only).
  • Finale files that previously didn’t open on Windows 7 machines now open successfully (Windows only).
  • Authorization is successfully maintained on Windows 10 machines (Windows only).
  • Unicode characters can be used in the Fretboard Styles dialog box and are maintained through a MusicXML export and import.
  • Switching between open windows works automatically when using Command-` (Mac only).
  • Patterson plug-ins correctly close when pressing Esc (Mac only).
  • Percussion MIDI Map Editor supports unicode in the MIDI map and custom note type names
  • Finale printing can be accessed through Applescript or by dragging a file to the printing queue (Mac only).
  • Printing custom page sizes no longer crashes Finale (Mac only).
  • When printing, the scaled size of the printed result adheres to the Scale value set in the Page Setup dialog box (Mac only).
  • The Rebeam to Time Signature dialog box is now fully functional (Mac only).
  • Finale’s playback cursor no longer vanishes when using DAW playhead to reposition in ReWire mode.
  • A staff template displays correctly by selecting Shape Designer > Show > Staff Template (Mac only).
  • Unicode characters can now be used for category staff lists, repeat staff lists, and staff assignment lists.
  • In Simple Entry, flipping stems in a linked part does not affect the score.

See our coverage of the 25.2 and 25.1 updates, and read our review of Finale 25.


  1. Steve Steele

    Good to hear about the addition to MusicXML import. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

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