Dorico vs Finale

Good Morning People of Dorico,

My name is Ian Hook. I am a VERY young composer. I’ve only ever used Flat (where I started) and Musescore (what I’ve been using for the past 6 months or so). However, I’m ready to switch to a professional program (yes I’m aware Musescore is a pretty good program but it doesn’t scream “professional” to me). I’ve narrowed it down to Finale and Dorico. I was wondering what Dorico does better than Finale and also what Finale does better than Dorico. Overall, from what I’ve seen so far, Dorico is slightly better but there could be some things I’m missing, also Dorico is very new and has a lot of room to grow vs Finale which really doesn’t get many updates anymore.

Thanks in Advance,
Ian Hook

(Please Note: I’ve reached maximum replies as a new member so I have to wait until tomorrow to reply to everyone, I apologize).

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I’m sure many will pipe in with lots of details but I’ll just say that I used Finale for decades until Dorico came along. It’s faster and easier to get a clean score with minimal tweaking and the support here on the forum from users and especially from the designers is non-pareil.

Also, get trial versions of both software and see how you get along. But I will add, that Dorico is the better choice. Now - but especially for the future.

I will say that I have tried Finale but I haven’t gotten to Dorico yet. I highly doubt I’d be able to pick up Finale in 30 days however. Finale is VERY technical.

Okay, I’ll keep that in mind, Thanks for your Feedback!

For Dorico, the YouTube tutorials are your friend. You get a pretty good feel for the programm, even without using it. Obviously you could use the free Dorico SE to get started, but a trial version of the Pro edition is probably going to further.

And if you plan on buying it, don’t forget the educational discount.

I plan to use the free trial of Pro for 30 days and then use SE until I can buy Pro. Thanks for the reminder.

If you want to produce scores that look like George Crumb, then Finale will be for you. But if you’re remotely toward the more “traditional” (for lack of a better term) end of the spectrum, I highly suspect that you’ll be much happier with Dorico. Many users on this forum have sought refuge from Finale here. I’m not aware of a great trend in the reverse.


I still own all of the Big 3, and I’d personally go with Dorico. I recently finished a very large project on Finale, and there were seemingly random objects missing from the PDFs I made with the program, the updates have become very irregular and with strange priorities (many longstanding bugs noticed over the years since I started with Finale 2005 have gone unaddressed while new features are implemented), and the community is nowhere near as helpful as this one. Finale will do anything you want it to, but you can do it in a fraction of the time with Dorico. Dorico will meanwhile jump into help you even when you don’t ask which can make some things lengthier than Finale, but it just depends on your preference. If Dorico is getting a bit bolshy, there’s always the clamp tool.

I do a lot of big stuff with a lot of parts, and so Dorico’s instantly near-perfect layout is winning with me at the moment.


Ian, why don’t you let us know what your musical goals are. Are you looking for a composition tool? Are you engraving existing scores to learn from them? Are you music student?


I’m currently a Sophomore in High School. I plan to go to college (Either Full Sail or Ball State probably) for Music Composition and I also want to pursue a career in Music Composition. So yes, I am looking for a Composition tool.

Thank you so much for your feedback, I very much appreciate!

I want to eventually write professional scores, hopefully even movie music.

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Reasons for using Finale are as follows:

  1. you’ve been using it for 25 years and are very familiar with it;
  2. you’ve got 25 years’ worth of legacy documents;
  3. a publisher or colleague demands you use it;
  4. you want to spend a lot of time manually adjusting things on the page.

The UI is a monstrous accretion of lumps over 33 years. There are bugs that are older than my children. It remains the only major notation software without any vertical spacing or collision avoidance.

As for Dorico, perhaps the best thing I can say about it is that I used to be an enthusiastic advocate for Finale until I starting using Dorico, which opened my eyes to the possibility of what notation software could, or should, be.


Amen. I was SHOCKED when I did a 30 day trial of Finale last year (with an eye towards using Robert’s Medieval plugin) and realized the UI was identical to when I had last used it in 2009…

Good for you Ian, and best of luck on your journey!

I agree that Dorico is the way to go, but you should also see what program is used in your choice of colleges, as it might be required that you use it. Being the newcomer, Dorico has yet to displace Finale and Sibelius in that arena.

Okay, Thanks, doesn’t seem like Finale has a whole lot going for it.

Oh wow, I bet!

My story is almost identical to @benwiggy. Moving from Finale to Dorico was a professional revelation.

There are far better musicians than I that use Finale. Of course it’s a tool that works just fine, and there’s no reason to switch if you’re happily entrenched. But for those entering the profession, it’s really not a contest which one they should use. Dorico.


I am totally in control of Finale V26 and I have no problem with it.
Finale can do everything and is the most powerful software available.
It is a software think like a drawing software.
Dorico is going to be as powerful as Finale in some time and I think it will overtake it because of the great team with people like Daniel Spreadbury or Dan Kreider etc. But Dorico is a software that can be used to make a lot of drawings.
But Dorico is a software that can be dangerous.
Dorico uses burning rules that you can store as default rules.
If you configure it wrong, it can become completely impractical.
But if you configure it carefully it will save you time.
At the moment it is already very successful.
Some things go faster on Finale and some things go faster on Dorico.
Dorico seems to me to be a better choice because it forbids nonsense while Finale allows everything and that can also be dangerous.
Dorico is also better at layout and avoids collisions very well.
Other functions are also very appreciable such as the fingering edition which is simply amazing.
Congratulations to all the Dorico team who do an extremely neat job.
I recommend Dorico more than Finale even though it is a software that I totally master.
Switching to Dorico when you have mastered Finale perfectly is an investment in the future because Finale seems to have reached the end of its performance given the updates that do not bring any real novelty but I could be wrong.
Maybe with Dorico Make music will move to make Finale advance by a big step.
Case to follow…

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