Create a sparkling Christmas tree in Finale


It’s the holiday season, so what better way is there to celebrate than by creating a sparkling Christmas tree directly in Finale. And yes, this tree sparkles and the lights twinkle as well. It’s quite fun to watch.

In case you want to try creating the tree for yourself, here’s a guide to getting started.


In this post, we’ll learn how to set up the tree from the pre-made source files. That way, you can get up and running as fast as possible. If you want to create the tree from scratch, see this accompanying post from our friends on the Of Note blog. It’s worth a read to learn more about Finale.

Here’s an overview of the process:

  • Downloading the files
  • Configuring color settings
  • Setting up the Keyboard Maestro and JW Lua scripts
  • Enjoying the tree

Check out this video to see the final result.

Downloading the source files

To get started, first download the source files. These will save you an hour or more of work than creating the tree from scratch. The files include:

  • Finale source file
  • JW Lua script to animate the tree
  • Keyboard Maestro macro to run the JW Lua script

Configuring the color settings

To color the tree, we are going to use the Finale display color preferences. Keep track of your existing preferences so you can revert back to your preferred color scheme.

Go to Finale > Preferences > Display Colors. You should see a window like this.

Change these settings to their appropriate colors:

  • Layer 1: #009800, rgb(0, 152, 0)
  • Layer 2: #E53B28, rgb(229, 59, 41)
  • Layer 3: #F8E42C, rgb(248, 228, 44)
  • Layer 4: #60D9FD, rgb(96, 217, 253)
  • Ossia Measures: #009800, rgb(0, 152, 0)
  • Page Text Blocks: #E93929, rgb(233, 57, 41)

That was easy!

If you want to use the font I chose for the “Merry Christmas” text, download and install the Lobster 2 font.

Let’s make the tree sparkle.

Setting up JW Lua and Keyboard Maestro

JW Lua

If you’ve not installed the JW Lua plug-in, it’s definitely worth installing. More and more people are writing scripts that can significantly speed up your workflow.

Once you’ve installed the plug-in, we’re ready to configure the JW Lua script. We’ll need to add it to the plug-ins menu. To do that, go to Plug-ins > JW Lua > JW Lua… and go to the Manager tab.

In Plug-in Groups, select the [Menu] plugin group, then, from Items in Group, select New… .

Search for the tree_script.lua script wherever you saved it, then select it. You should now see the Christmas Fun script in the Items in Group section. Then close JW Lua and restart Finale.

You should now see the Christmas Fun script in the Plug-ins > JW Lua menu. Great! If you select it and run the script on the Christmas tree Finale file, you should see the lights change colors. If you do, then it’s working correctly!

Keyboard Maestro (or other macro program)

All the Keyboard Maestro macro does is run the JW Lua script multiple times (60, to be exact) —  so you can watch the tree sparkle on its own.

If you’re on Mac and are a Keyboard Maestro user, just double-click the Make it Sparkle.kmmacros file to open it in Keyboard Maestro, set the hotkey to anything you’d like, and enable the macro (you can disable the macro later in case there’s a hotkey conflict).

Double check that the macro is correctly pointing to the JW Lua script, and you’re done!

Keyboard Maestro is Mac-only, so if you’re on Windows, you could set up AutoHotkey to do something similar to this:

Of course any other macro program can do this as well, so use your favorite one.

Enjoying the tree sparkle

If the system locks are showing and you want to hide them, just go to View > Show > Page Layout Icons and uncheck it.

Then, all that’s left to do is open the Christmas Tree.musx Finale file and run the Keyboard Maestro macro. Then watch the tree light up. Sit back, and enjoy your very own sparkling Christmas tree.

Happy holidays!

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