I am so glad that you asked for help with templates. I was hesitant at first because I have always had issues with them myself. I had found workarounds for my issues, but they were still causing me problems and I have been meaning to look into these issues closer. Your requests for help have pushed me into this and I ended up learning SO much about templates and how they work in Finale and I am excited to share it all with you.
I have found that almost every time I have an issue figuring out how to do something basic with Finale, it's usually not because of any issue with Finale itself (although it's easier to blame the program than to admit that there's a gap in my knowledge), but simply because it doesn't always work the way I initially thought it would. I'm not saying that it is set up oddly, rather that I might have had an idea in my head of how I thought it was going to work (perhaps based on my experiences with other software such as MS Word or any other unrelated product) and when it didn't work the way I thought it should, my reaction was to blame the software.
In reality, if I had taken five minutes to look it up in the manual, I would have found out very easily and quickly how things work. This is DEFINITELY the case with templates. I had actually looked them up in the user guide/manual before, but I had been trying to fit the information into the mold of "how I thought it was going to work" in my head, and when those two didn't line up, I just created workarounds instead of learning how to actually use them.
For this article, I went back to basics and approached this topic with a Beginner's Mind, assuming nothing, and HOLY SMOKES...get ready to supercharge your workflow!
At first glance, the templates included in Finale don't really seem very helpful, beyond that they handle some of the initial set-up for you, but I found that I often need to tweak them anyway due to slight instrumentation differences, as well as changes to particular Document Settings. I found that after I had spent all that time making the changes I wanted, I really hadn't saved much time. I heard that you could save your own template to reuse, but the process never quite worked for me...I just couldn't get it to work. It wasn't working because I was doing it wrong.
What I really wanted was to be able to open a new document and not have to manually make all of my custom adjustments anymore. It takes a while and there's always the chance that I'll miss one along the way and have to go back and find/fix it later. My workaround was to take a document that I liked and once I saved it, to erase all of the notes and rhythms and save the skeleton as a template in one of my folders. Whenever I started a new project, I would open that template and begin my new project, often including changing the instrumentation and making a few slight adjustments right off the bat. Then, out of habit, I would press ⌘S to save it, then would later realize that I had been saving my new piece called Template in a random folder. Over time I would make tweaks, and use that new file as my template, and eventually I had 10 different files called "template" in different folders and had no way of easily knowing which was which. Does this sound familiar at all?
There's a different way of doing it.
There are two words you need to know...
Document Style and Template
This is exactly what I've been searching for.
You can save and reuse document settings from any file by designating it as a Document Style. There are several ones included, easily accessed through the Startup Wizard, but you can (and should) make your own. When you designate a file as a Document Style, you are telling Finale you would like to use its articulations, expressions, fonts, staff lists, score lists, staff styles, page layout and other document options and libraries alongside the instrumentation and other settings you define in the Setup Wizard.
Here's how you do it.
1. Open the file that you want to designate as your Document Style. For the sake of this demonstration, I'll use a pep band tune I just completed. It has TONS of changes from the default setting...a series of custom 3rd party fonts (both music and text), formatting changes, and many changes to the default document settings. This is the syyle I use when writing pep band charts as well as jazz and other commercial music.
2. Select "Save As" and save it to your desktop. Also, change the name to what you want to use as the description. I'm using "My Commercial House Style." You'll want to be specific, because you'll likely be making a few of these in the future and you'll want to easily be able to tell them apart by their title.
3. In Finder, to find your way to the Document Styles folder...
Select the "Go" drop down menu. Hold down Option. This is make the "Library" visible.
Click Library. From there, it's...
Library > Application Support > MakeMusic > Finale > Music Files > Document Styles
4. Drag the file from your desktop into this folder.
5. Go back into Finale, and let's start a new document. When you open the Document Setup Wizard, you'll see your custom Document Style listed in the options.
6. Continue working through the Setup Wizard (I assume you know how that works) entering the instrumentation you want, the title, composer, arranger, key and time signatures, etc.). Remember that this isn't a template...you can use whatever instruments you want, it will not import the instrumentation from the file you used to make it. Just to demonstrate, remember how I used a pep band chart to make the Document Style? For this demonstration, I will select My Commercial House Style as the Document Style, but Brass Quintet as the Ensemble.
If you look around the file, you'll see that everything has been imported....the document settings, and expressions or articulations that you may have added or customized. Everything.
Isn't this great!
Templates are useful in different situations, especially for ones which are not easily created in the Setup Wizard. The user manual gives the example of a 2-line choral staff with Soprano/Alto and Tenor/Bass staff names. Another example would be a piece involving customized percussion staves, perhaps a percussion staff with three lines and elaborate work involved in creating/implementing percussion maps.
In order to make a template, the process is very similar.
1. Open the file you wish to use as a template.
2. "Save As" it to your desktop and change the name to match the description.
3. Save it to the "Templates" folder
Library > Application Support > MakeMusic > Finale > Music Files > Templates
Now, when you start up Finale, go to
File > New > Document from Template
And there you go.
I don't know about you, but I have several Document Styles to make, now that I know how easy it is. I do projects for several different publishers, each with their own house styles. Not to mention my own different styles that I use for different projects of my own. Utilizing this function is going to save me so much time and frustration, constantly checking the file against other projects I've done to make sure I haven't missed anything, in terms of settings and adjustments. I hope you find this as helpful and useful as I have.