Nailing navigation in Finale


Listen to the podcast episode

On the Scoring Notes podcast, David MacDonald and Philip Rothman talk with Jason Loffredo about preparing music for the world of musical theatre and his Conquering Finale video tutorial series, which can help you better master that sophisticated software, whether you’re a new or long-time user. Listen now:

Scoring Notes
Scoring Notes
Conquering Finale with Jason Loffredo


Hello and welcome to Conquering Finale! I’m Jason Loffredo, your host and tutor for this tutorial series.

I have over 25 years worth of experience with Finale, and as a copyist I have worked on everything from Hollywood movies, to Broadway shows, to published classical music, and everything in between — mostly with Finale.

I hope you enjoy the videos, and more importantly, I hope that this tutorial series will get you all on your way to Conquering Finale!

Editor’s note

We are very pleased to introduce the Conquering Finale series on Scoring Notes. Conquering Finale was started by Jason Loffredo and has grown into a comprehensive series of video tutorials that cover the many areas of this professional software, and break them into easy-to-understand sections.

I’m so pleased that Jason has partnered with Scoring Notes to cross-publish his tutorial series here. You will be rewarded as you work through each of the videos with Jason in his patient and thorough presentations. We’ll be rolling out new topics on a regular basis, but if you can’t wait, check out the Conquering Finale web site and YouTube page, where you’ll find all of the videos.

I’ve used Finale since 1995. Although I’ve kept current with all the recent updates, and we cover them all here on Scoring Notes, sometimes I find myself stuck in an “old-school” way of doing something. What’s great about Jason’s videos is that they are completely up-to-date with the latest versions of Finale, and by watching them I’ve either learned new ways of working or reminded myself about a long-forgotten feature.

And if your primary notation software of choice is another program, but you find yourself needing to work with Finale sometimes, Jason’s Conquering Finale series is the perfect way in — you can easily figure out what’s going on.

To get started, have a look at the following introductory video where you’ll get a glimpse of Jason’s philosophy about learning Finale, some starter information about how the program is laid out, and some basic information about how the tutorial series itself is presented.

Then, move right on to the first series of lessons: Nailing Navigation. Clicking on the video will start the entire playlist. Or, if you’re interested in a specific topic, just click the link on the title to be taken straight to that video.

— Philip

Nailing Navigation

Lesson 1: Tools

Finale is a tools-based program, so knowing the basics of the tools and the Main Tool Palette is essential to being successful. There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious things that you can do with the tool palettes in Finale. In this video I will cover all of that information and cover some other tricks to help you navigate between the tools.

Lesson 2: Page View

Page View is the WYSIWYG view of Finale. What you see on the screen in Page View is what you will get when you print your music. In this video, I’ll show you how to navigate through your music in Page View (with both the mouse and with keystrokes), a few options that are available for different types of page views, and some miscellaneous settings that are also available.

Lesson 3: Scroll View and Studio View

Scroll View will show your music in one continuous horizontal scroll. There are some unique (and very helpful) properties and functions in Scroll View which can make your workflow a lot quicker in certain circumstances. I’ll show you how to program and use Staff Sets (7:32) (only found in Scroll View), which will allow you to view specific sets of staves while temporarily hiding all the others. Studio View is very similar to Scroll View but has a few extra features that are useful for playback.

Lesson 4: Zoom

It may seem fairly basic, but, like a lot of things in Finale, there’s a bit more to Zoom than you might imagine. Zooming in and out is a basic, yet essential operation. With a few pointers, you can save yourself from wasting a lot of time doing things the long way.

Lesson 5: Go to Measure… Bookmarks

In this video I’ll teach you all about the Go to Measure… feature (0:29) and Bookmarks (3:11), two essential navigation tools that may have eluded even many long-time Finale users. Do yourself a favor and check out this video to see what you might be missing!

Lesson 6: Windows and Tabs

It’s possible to have multiple windows open for the same file in Finale. Those windows can also be merged into tabs if you want. This video will show you how to do all of that. This is one area where Mac and Windows diverge a lot. Since these videos were made on a Mac, this lesson may only partially apply to Windows users.

Hot Tip! Shortcut for Tools

Did you know that you can program shortcuts for tools in the Main Tool Palette? Well, you can! This short video explains how to do it on a Mac or Windows computer.


  1. Tom

    The best tutorials on the web.

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