Imitating the look of Finale files in Dorico

About ten years ago I engraved a set of 100 songs for an edition. Now the publishers want to expand the selection of songs to 150, including the previous 100 and with 50 extra. I did the previous assignment in Finale and, since I nowadays only run Finale to create XML files, I’ll need to set the 50 new songs in Dorico. The question is, what to do with the 100 previous songs? I dread the thought of creating 100 XMLs, transferring them to Dorico, filling in the missing elements, comparing the results with old PDFs and trying to imitate the previous layout. Besides, I can’t expect the publisher to remunerate me for this huge amount of effort, as it’s not their fault that I’ve switched notation software.
My plan is to try to create Dorico files which are virtually indistinguishable from the old Finale files. Fortunately, I can use the Engraver Font in Dorico, but it’ll be quite a challenge to find the exact settings which will make this possible, including the custom notehead size I used in Finale. The fact that Finale differentiates between staff reduction and page size reduction makes finding the right font size settings even more complicated. I’m also aware that elements like slurs and ties will probably look slightly different, but it should be possible to recreate the staff lines, stems, spacing, etc. I’m wondering if anyone has done this successfully and if so, I’d be very interested to hear about the process.

I’ve done a lot of this.

For starters, export your old files to PDF and check the font size in Acrobat or something similar. That will allow you to see the “real” font size. You can also measure your staff size in Acrobat.

Line thickness and such is a bit more of a pain. Trial and error is best. At some point, it becomes indistinguishable.

This may be helpful: Comparing Finale and Dorico line thickness

I guess I’m just surprised that you wouldn’t use Finale and let it go at that. You only say that you don’t use it. Surely the original files were of good quality.

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An interesting experiment (test case) might be to enter the notes in Dorico (if that is faster) and then transfer them to Finale via XML for final formatting. Granted, that’s the opposite of the way we usually think of XML here, but in this special case…

Would you really want to do an additional 50 pieces in a piece of software that you otherwise don’t use any more? I certainly wouldn’t want to do even five pieces in Sibelius these days, despite my decade-plus-long direct association with it, let alone 50.


You can set Finale’s Document Options to show values for things in Spaces; which should then be easy enough to enter into Dorico.

The calculations for Page Reduction/Staff Reduction are not too esoteric for those familiar with Finale - it’s just one % after another. You should just need to calculate what the ‘true’ staff size is for Dorico; there’s also the question of text sizes for staff-attached objects and non-attached text.

Don’t forget that Finale works on a ‘standard’ of 24pt to the staff; while Dorico uses 20pt. I’m not sure where that might be relevant or useful. Possibly in scaling the noteheads.

I had to make some revisions recently to some pieces I had done in Finale; not only have I forgotten so much about how it works; but I was constantly frustrated by the slow and awkward processes involved.

Best of luck, Vaughan. In many ways, trying to make one app’s output look like anothers is a real test of the users’ skill, and the capabilities of the app!

Thanks to all for the responses! I must agree with Daniel in that it’s hard for me to imagine trying to use Finale again for those 50 songs, even though the original files were of good quality. Besides, I tried using Finale briefly recently and I realised that I’ve almost completely lost track of how to work with it, even after having used it for more than 20 years.
I’ll do some calculations and invest time in a lot of trial-and-error. I’m looking upon this project as a fun and challenging experiment!