This summer I spent a lot of time teaching workshops (both live and online) to teachers, composers and arrangers using Finale and Sibelius. One of the most common questions I receive is how to address the page layout of a piece.

Here is my short list of page layout steps for Finale 2008 and Sibelius 5.

First, I don’t typically address the page layout until the entire piece is entered. I like to use Scroll View in Finale and Panorama View in Sibelius 5 so I first focus on getting the notation and markings entered. Then, when the entire score is entered, I address the page layout. Sure, there may be times when this must be addressed ahead of time, for example, adding space between certain staves for lyrics, but I try to wait as long as possible to address the page layout whenever possible.

Finale 2008/2009 Page Layout steps – the short list:

1. Set the number of measures per line for the entire piece or a portion of the piece: Utilities > Fit Measures

2. To move a bar up or down a system: choose the Selection Tool (press Escape up to three time). Select the bar and press the up or down arrow key to move the selected bar or bars up or down a system.

3. Select the Page Layout Tool. From the Page Layout menu, choose “Space Systems Evenly.” Set the number of systems per page.

4. Use the Resize tool (looks like a percent sign) and click at the very top of the first page to change the size of the print out. Be aware that scores are reduced in size. A choral score could be 75% reduced and a band or orchestra full score 45% reduced. Setting the page percentage is important.

5. Understand how the Page Layout tool works to move individual systems. The handles on the left and right of each system control the space above or below that system. To move just one system, click anywhere inside the system box except on the handles.

After the short list, you can dive into the Page Layout tool and adjust margins, and just about every aspect of a score.

Do watch the series of videos on Page Layout. In Finale, from the Help Menu, choose Help > QuickStart Videos. From the main menu of videos, click on Wrapping Up Your Project and then the Page Layout options. There are several videos addressing page layout.

Sibelius 5 Page Layout Steps – the short list:

1. Open House Style > Engraving Rules and click on the Staves tab. Set the distance between staves and systems for the entire piece. I also change the justify amount to 95% for most scores. Do this before dragging staves manually. If a staff is manually adjusted, the Engraving Rules settings are ignored.

2. Set the number of bars per line using Plug-ins > Other > Make Layout Uniform.

3. Move bars down to the next system be selecting the barline and pressing the return/enter key.

4. Make custom systems by selecting a group of bars on different systems and choosing Layout > Format > Make
into a System.

5. Open the Document Setup window (Layout > Document Setup) and adjust the staff size. Scores will often need the staff size reduced to fit the staves and bars per line.

6. After making these changes, drag systems to make more room or to indent system: triple-click inside any bar of a system to select it for the entire piece. Drag the staff with the mouse.

I recommend watching the Sibelius tutorial video for Sib. 5 # 10: Layout and House Style. The tutorial videos are available from the help menu.

Remember, once you start dragging staves in Sibelius, it overrides the settings in the Engraving Rules window. You can deselect the manual changes by selecting the staff and choosing.

Page Layout can be one of the most difficult tasks to master in notation software. What tips for Finale or Sibelius have you found helpful?