FAQ


After installing an update, I get an f.leaf error message and the program won't run. How do I fix this?

This rare error message results from an incomplete installation. Uninstalling and re-installing does not fix the problem, but you can fix the problem manually by deleting or renaming the "FINALE Fireworks" folder and installing again. For Windows 7, this "FINALE Fireworks" folder is usually in yourname/AppData/Roaming/ though it can be in a different place on different operating systems. You can find where it is by running the Finale installer. The location is shown in the first dialog in the "Destination Folder" field.

All I want to do is import a packing list, which my supervisor gives me. How do I do that?

Finale makes a distinction between two kinds of lists: a product list which describes what products are, and a packing list which defines the target quantities of products for a show. If you want to import a CSV file of products and quantities for a show and then draw down from those quantities as you build your show, you need to do this in two parts: first import the CSV as a product list, to import the product definitions into your Master Inventory (ignoring the quantities). Then set the show's target device quantities with the same CSV file (setting the quantities for the products you imported to Master Inventory).

You can use the function, "Inventory > Verify product list CSV before importing..." to see how your product list is going to import before importing it. Then when you get the columns right, select "Inventory > Import product list to Master Inventory" to import the list of product definitions, but no quantities.

There are two kinds of quantities: stock quantities, and target quantities. Stock quantities pertain to inventory management at a facility (of facilities) at which inventory is stored. Managing stock quantities is part of the Finale's company inventory management product but not part of the free personal inventory management product. Target quantities pertain to a packing list for a particular show. Target quantities are a feature that comes standard with Finale Business. You don't need stock quantities to choreograph a show to packing list; target quantities are all you need.

The target quantities are the desired quantities of the products to be used in the show. After importing your product list, you can set the target quantities on a show with "Inventory > Set target device quantities for show" passing in your packing list CSV that contains the product IDs of the products you previously imported and the desired quantity for each. These quantities become properties of the show, which you can see in the far right column in the Inventory View (press control-i). To filter the inventory view down to show only the devices you currently have in the show and the devices you want to have in the show, change the "All quantities" filter in the inventory view to "Show or Target > 0". Then the Inventory View will show only those items that are either in the show or supposed to be in the show. The colors of the "Show" column and the "Target" column helpfully are displayed in green or red depending on whether you have too many or too few. Once all the green and red are gone, you know your show's devices match the packing list.

Can I download a video and use it in a PowerPoint presentation?

Select the menu item "File > Make / download video" to create an mp4 video of your show. Mp4 is the modern, high quality video compression that the world is moving to very quickly. PowerPoint, however, doesn't yet support Mp4, so you have to convert the mp4 that Finale creates to a wmv file. If you search on Google for "powerpoint mp4" you will get a number of results for free conversion programs that will do what you need.

Can I import a jpeg or other format picture to use as a site-specific photo for a sales presentation?

Yes, you can import a jpeg of your site as the background in the videos for making sales videos. A lot of people do this.

Can I save sections of shows for re-use and import them later into another show?

Yes, the menu item "File > Load into copy buffer from disk..." will load a previously saved show into the copy buffer so you can paste it into a new show. Save the section of a show that you want to re-use to disk as a show, then later when you are constructing a new show load the re-usable section into the copy buffer and paste into the new show! If the saved section made use of multiple launch positions, then when you paste it into a new show, the paste function will automatically look for launch positions with matching names, and will reposition the pasted fireworks on the matching launch positions in the show, wherever those launch positions happen to be. If the fireworks in the saved section all come from a single launch position, then paste will reposition them on the currently selected launch position in the show.

Can I use Finale on multiple computers?

Each license of Finale is for single user, single computer use. A lot of customers want to use Finale on both their desktop and a laptop, so we offer a second computer key for the same account for $79 for PRO or $129 for Business, one-time. Some people have asked why we do that. The explanation is that we are trying to keep the basic cost of PRO at $199 because that makes it possible for amateurs and hobbyists to buy Finale who couldn't otherwise if we charged more. But in order to keep the price so low (the competition costs $4000) we have to charge for some of the extra conveniences. We hope nobody gets too upset by $79, and hope that people may just think of it as paying $279 total rather than being charged for something unfairly.

Can you load more than one single song or do you have to combine the songs together outside of Finale?

You have to combine the songs using an audio editor like Audacity or Gold Wave (both free). The audio editors are very good. You may have to download a patch for them to save as MP3.

Do the two activation keys that come with Finale arrive in the mail or require me to telephone the company?

NO, the two activation keys are automatic. The application identifies the first two machines that you run it on and connects those to your account. Later, if you want to change machines, you can just send us an email and we'll reset the activation keys to reinitialize on the next two computers you run the app on.

Does Finale have horse tail shells or falling leaves shells?

Though there aren't any horsetail or falling leaves shells in the standard inventory, you can make them and save them to your "My Fireworks" inventory.

  • Beginning with an empty show, insert a peony shell.
  • Select it, and click its "edit" button to customize the shell.
  • In the customization panels at pop up, decrease "Shell burst > Burst force."
  • Increase "Star > Longevity."
  • Increase "Star body > Weight."
  • Increase "Star > Abridgment" (randomizes durations).
  • Optionally increase "Firework > Prefire" (to make break occur after apex).
  • On the right side of screen, click "Apply."
  • Select the firework and click the menu item "Inventory > Save selected firework to My Fireworks."

You can fiddle with the other physics parameter to get it tuned the way you like, but these steps will get you started.

Does the software work offline?

Yes, the software works both offline and online. If you launch the app without internet access it will start up in offline mode. Internet access is required to download initial fireworks and for some inventory management and video features, but you can choreograph/edit shows and export reports and scripts while offline. No special step is required to work offline. The program automatically switches to offline mode if network access is not available.

Finale puts my cakes and shells on the same firing module. How can I get it to put different types of devices on different modules?

Finale's pin assignment algorithm for computer fired shows always assigns the next available pin at the launch position to the next shot. If you want to split up your modules so that they each module is used for only one type of device, the easiest way to do that is to create multiple launch positions, one for each type of device. For example, if your show initially had three launch positions, Left, Center, and Right, and if you wanted to separate the cakes from the shells on the modules, then just duplicate each launch position, so you've got Left-Cakes, Left-Shells, Center-Cakes, Center-Shells, Right-Cakes, Right-Shells. Put your cakes in the cake launch positions, and the shells in the shells launch positions, and that will keep the modules separate.

For a pin board show, I have multiple devices of different sizes on the same cue but I want them to launch at the same time. How do I do that?

Finale has a feature just for this: "Show > Options > Align prefires on cue markers (for manual fire)." After setting this option you will need to re-position your devices on the cues because it only takes effect at the moment the devices are being snapped to the cue markers, but what this option will do is cause your multiple effects of different prefires to be aligned on the timeline such that they all launch at the same time, with the first burst occurring at the time of the cue marker.

From within the choreography product, how do I remove a product from Master Inventory that I added by mistake?

To remove a product from Master Inventory, change its category to "Non-Choreographed", which you can specify in a "Category" column in your imported CSV. If you want to change just one product, you can do so by importing a CSV with just two columns labelled, "Product ID" and "Category". The CSV can have a single row for the product, plus the header row. After changing its category, the next time you launch the application, that product won't appear.

How can I put multiple songs together in the same show?

If you want to combine multiple songs in a sound track, you have to mix your songs together using an audio editor. A lot of pyros use a free audio editor called Gold Wave. You may also need to download an extension to save your mixed song as an mp3 file, since wav files are too big.

How can I tell what version I have, Business or PRO?

The version of the software you own (e.g., Business, Pro, Trial) will appear on the window titlebar when you launch the application.

How do I adjust the angle of trajectories precisely, instead of in 5 degree increments?

By default, the angle grid is set to 5 degrees. If you hold shift or if you are moving a firework that is not at a launch position, then the grid is turned off and you have single degree precision. You also always have single degree precision in the firing view.

How do I delete a product from Master Inventory?

You can remove products from being displayed in Master Inventory by setting their category to "Non-Choreographed". To remove a collection of products all at once, import a product list that contains two columns: Product ID and Category; include a row for each of the products you want to remove, specifying its Product ID in the Product ID columns, and specifying the word "Non-Choreographed" in the Category column. Later if you want to resurrect any of those products, you can import a product list that changes their categories back to any of the other six possible values (Shells, Comets, Cakes, Mines, Candles, and Other).

When you set a product's category to Non-Choreographed, it won't disappear from inventory until you relaunch Finale.

How do I delete a video?

Videos are generated automatically when you save your show to network, though you can delete them if you don't want them or if you accidentally made them public. From the menu option, "File > Make / download video..." you can download a video MP4 to your computer, or you can delete the video from the server.

How do I make a candle with multiple effect types and have it consume a single mortar?

Add your multiple effects on the timeline, then select them and do "Make cake".

Then click the effect's edit button to edit the simulation, and change its category to "Candle".

Then when you use these candles in your shows, set their "Tube" in the firing view to the sleeve caliber of the mortar you'd like them to use. By default, candles don't use mortars in Finale, but by setting their "Tube" in the firing view, you can stipulate that they do.

How do I make a peanut shell simulation?

First of all, just to make sure you have all the advanced editing panels, you need to start by editing a simulation that you imported or that you created with the menu item "Inventory > Create simulation", not by editing one of the standard fireworks from the icons. I'll assume you've done that.

Then in the editing panels, the launch projectile (proj-L) can have two breaks, defined in the pink panels: "Proj-L first break" and "Proj-L second break". By default the first break is not used and has zero projectiles, and the second break defines the lift time.

To add the first break of your peanut, set the first break's "No. of projectiles" to 50 and set its "Time to break" to "0.9" to cause it to break at 90% of the full trajectory (10% before the second break). Then set the "Type of projectiles" of the first break to "Proj-B" (assuming that the second break goes to "Proj-A") and then go on to define "Proj-B" in the purple panels (e.g., checking its "Has tip" box in the first purple panel and then setting the color in the "Proj-B tip (if used)" panel.

How do I specify modules or slats for launch positions?

To add your modules to your launch positions in Finale, follow these steps:

  • (1) Click "Show > Add launch position" for each launch position.
  • (2) Click on the launch position, then click its white/yellow "edit" button.
  • (3) If you have Business Edition, a square window will appear. Click on "edit modules" to get the module window. If you have PRO, skip this step because the module window wil llaunch directly when you click the "edit" button.
  • (4) Click on the "Add firing system unit" link at the bottom of the module window.
  • (5) Add the module address in the address field.

Please see the "Features/Export Overview" section (Export Overview) for more detailed instructions.

How do I use my own music in FINALE?

To add music to FINALE, first check that the music is an MP3 or a WAV file (file name should end in .mp3 or .wav). If the file is not one of these formats, you'll need to use third party software, such as Audacity, to convert the file. Second check that the file is no larger than 60MB. One you have a file that should work, use the menu item "Show > Set Music > Add new music file..." to select the file and add it to the program. The open file dialog only displays .mp3 files by default. If you are using a .wav file, you will need to change the filename filter in the lower right corner of the dialog.

How does the "Make chain" feature work? What is the difference between a "Factory Chain" and a "Field Chain"?

To make a chain, add all the individual devices to the show separated by the appropriate delays (or at the same time if there are no delays). Then select all of them by dragging a selection box on the timeline or in the sky view, and click, "Edit > Make chain". This function combines the selected items into a single chain that requires a single ignition point. A chain constructed in the editor like this is called a "Field Chain" to represent a chain constructed in the field from individual products (i.e., the devices). In the firing view the field chain will continue to appear as the individual products though since the chain is an assembly of those products, but on the timeline and sky view it will be a single selectable item.

If you save a field chain to inventory or if you import a chain to your inventory, the new inventory item is called a "Factory Chain" to represent a chain pre-assembled at the factory. A factory chain appears in the firing view as a single item because it is single product, as opposed to an assembly of products.

I bought Finale as a package deal from Pyromate or ATF. How do I get it?

First, download Finale from www.finalefireworks.com/download and choose a username and password. By default, the downloaded product will work in "trial mode", which has many features disabled. Then email your username to service@finalefireworks.com and also include your name and the firing system company that you purchased from. We will promptly upgrade your account to PRO and next time you login you will have access to all PRO features.

I can't find the shell I want. How do I create a 6" ring, for example?

You're only a few clicks away. Launch Finale and insert a 3" ring into the show from the Shells/Smiley category. Then click on its trajectory and click its "edit" button. Some panels appear on the top of the screen to edit properties. On the leftmost panel, change caliber to 6". Then click save on the right.

You now have a 6" ring in your show. Leaving it selected, go to the menu bar and select "Inventory > Save selected firework to My Fireworks". That will add the new 6" ring to your inventory.

I do not have an international credit card. What other forms of payment do you accept?

Some credit card companies reject international orders even if the address information is correct.

The easiest payment solution for international orders is to create an account with Paypal at www.paypal.com using your credit card. This just takes a minute, and is free. Then you can buy Finale Business from our site using your paypal account.

Two other possibilities are by sending us a money order using Western Union, or doing a bank transfer.

All three options will give you Finale Business immediately. If you pay using Paypal, your account will be automatically updated. If you pay by Western Union or a bank transfer, just send me (Will) an email at service@finalefireworks.com with the confirmation number and I'll manually upgrade your account immediately.

I fixed the caliber of some shells in my Master Inventory but it doesn't seem to affect the shells in my show. Why not?

You can re-import your product list with an explicit column labelled "Caliber" to change the product definitions, though existing shows will not be affected by changes to the product list. In other words, if you have already created a show with effects that have wrong calibers, changing the Master Inventory will not fix that problem. Once an item has been inserted into the show, it is independent of the inventory. We do this so that you can share show files without having them tied to inventory, and so changes to inventory do not retroactively change shows that you've already made.

So to change shells already in a show, you can edit the prefire and launch times in the firing view (control-F). You have to edit both, because changing the prefire time preserves the launch time rather than the break time. You can also use the "File > Find and select..." function followed by the "File > Replace..." function to make a global substitution of one product type for another.

I have an existing show that I've scripted, and I have a list of device quantities. Is there a way I can see what the differences are?

To see the differences between the target device quantities for a show and the actual device quantities for the show, the commands are, "Inventory > Import product list from CSV" to get the product imported, then "Show > Set target device quantities from CSV" to set your desired target quantities for the show. Then press control-I to see the "Inventory View" which will show you the differences between the device counts currently in the show, and the target device counts for the show.

I just got a Master Inventory account. How do I upload and see my inventory from an Excel document?

You can upload your inventory from a CSV file, which is a file format that you can write from Excel. First do "Inventory > Verify product list CSV before importing..." to make sure it will import correctly, then do "Inventory > Import product list CSV to Master Inventory". Press control-i to see the Inventory View.

I need to be able to fire two items with different prefire times and durations at the same time. How?

Cue markers actually have a special mode specifically to support the need to align launch times of items with different prefires. Click the menu item "Show > Options > Align prefires on cue markers (for manual fire)". With this option on, whenever you drag an item to a cue marker, all the items on that cue marker will readjust to launch at the same time, with the earliest break occurring on the cue marker itself.

I ordered Finale from the website and it hasn't arrived in the mail yet. Why?

Finale is a 100% online product, so you can download it from www.finalefireworks.com/download. We come out with upgrades approximately once a month, and you get free upgrades for a year, so check the News and Announcements section of the forums regularly to get the latest. One benefit of the frequent releases is that you can request features or fixes on the forums, and we can implement those features or fixes with quick turnarounds.

I shoot mainly 1.4g shows with cakes from various manufacturers. Will Finale have simulations of the 1.4 cakes that I need?

The Finale PRO product does have the Dominator pro line as real world examples of 1.4g cakes (as well as 6,000 1.3G effects), but since there is such a diversity of 1.4g cakes across so many brands, the approach Finale takes is to make it easy for users to create simulations of the specific cakes they use, rather that attempting to cover all the cakes from all manufacturers. Finale PRO has an editor that lets you edit specific shells and firing patterns visually by dragging sliders, as well as a menu item to combine multiple shells into a cake. Also, if you are choreographing a show and want quick stand-in simulations that have the right timing but you don't care if the visual effect is all that accurate, you can import your entire inventory in one fell swoop from a CSV file saved out from Excel or your database. Finale will construct cakes matching the name/descriptions and timing given in your imported inventory CSV file.

I understand by purchasing "Finale Business Edition" I can have the program in two computers but how do I buy the service plan?

The first year of the service plan comes with your initial purchase for free. After the first year, we will send you a notice and provide a web page in which you can renew the plan for another year for $99.

I use Pyrodigital modules. I want the first 15 pins to be chains, and the last pin to be a cake. Do I have to manually address these?

You can manually assign addresses, but that makes it harder to make changes to your show later on. If you use the addressing filters on the modules, then you can usually get the customization you want while still taking advantage of Finale's real time auto-addressing. The advantage of that is if you later add or remove a shot from the show, the addresses will automatically shift around to accommodate.

In the "edit modules" dialog accessed from the "edit launch position" dialog, on the right there are two filters. Using these two filters you should be able to get the automatic addressing to do most of what you want by restricting the module to chains or certain calibers or angles. Then, you can fine tune the addressing by splitting modules or changing the module's number of pins. If you have 16 pins and you want to use 15 of them for chains and then use the last pin $0f for a cake, you can add the module twice, splitting up the pin ranges. The first copy give it first pin # = 0 and number of pins = 15; the second copy give it first pin# = $0f and number of pins = 1. Then set the filters on the first copy to restrict it to chains and the filters on the second copy to restrict it to small calibers.

I usually load my finale chains in fanned racks.  How do I make chains and do that in Finale?

Lay the shells out with the correct delays on the timeline, then fan them, then do "Edit > Make chain", then "Inventory > Save to My Fireworks". Then after building your show and inserting these chains, for each launch position click the launch position's edit button, and click the "add racks for fireworks" link. By default it adds straight racks which you can snap together in fans (the "fan of racks" approach). If you want each rack to contain a fan (the "fan racks" approach), then in the launch position editing grid, click each rack's edit button, then set its "angle option" to "Multi" and then set the angles of each of the mortars in the rack, fanned out. Finale automatically fills racks intelligently.

I want my racks each to be 100% chains or 0% chains. Same for modules. How do I force it to come out that way?

Finale allows you to add constraints to racks (click their edit button) to limit them to a particular module. You can also add constraints to a module (filters in the "edit modules" dialog from the launch position's edit button), to limit the module to particular angles or calibers or chains. In order to understand how these constraints work, it is helpful to understand the algorithm by which Finale assigns modules, pins, and racks to shots in your show. The algorithm is:

1. Assign modules/pins to all shots, subject to whatever constraints the user has put on the modules in the "edit modules" module configuration (e.g., specific caliber, or chains, or angle, etc.).

2. After finishing step (1), then load the shots into racks, subject to whatever constraints the user has put on the racks (e.g., angled, assigned to a specific module, etc.). For example, if a shot has been assigned to module 50 and a rack has been constrained to module 51, then a shot assigned to module 50 in step (1) cannot be loaded into that rack.

A common misunderstanding happens when a user has added angled racks to a launch position and then constrained them to be to a specific module that itself doesn't have any constraints. The user expects that since angled racks are constrained to the module that the module will only get pin assignments for angled shots. The expectation is wrong, though, because constraining racks to a module has no effect on the module's pin assignments according to the algorithm -- step 1 assigns modules and pins independently of the racks, then step 2 fills up the racks as best as possible given the assignments produced in step 1.

I want to create a new show from parts of old shows. Can I cut & paste? How do I get the launch positions to line up?

When you cut and paste from one show into another, if both shows have the same named launch positions, then the effects will be re-connected to the launch positions of matching names in the show into which you are pasting. So: (1) Create your reference show with the launch positions correctly positioned; (2) Import or load your old show (if importing, make sure its launch positions have the same name as in your reference show); (3) Select-All and Copy; (4) Switch to the reference show on the Views menu; (5) Position the playhead at the time at which you'd like the first shot to fire; (6) Set the duration to be the correct length ("Show > Set duration"); (7) Paste.

I want to dedicate one of my modules to chains only. How do I add that restriction?

(New feature) In the "Edit modules" dialog, where you add your list of modules, you can set a module's "Caliber filter" to "Chains." This has the obvious effect of restricting the module's pin assignments to chains only. In your list of modules, though, you must list most restrictively filtered modules first regardless of their address. For example, if you have one module with a caliber filter set to "Chains" and a second module with no caliber filter, then list the module with the caliber filter first. The reason is, the pin assignments are made to the modules in the order in which they appear in the list, so if you list the module with the "Chains" filter first, it will get first dibs on any assignments. It will accept only assignments for chains. Any assignments for non-chain devices will spill over to the next module in the list. If on the other hand you list the modules in the other order, then the unrestricted module will get first dibs on the assignments, and it will accept both chains and non-chains, including the chains that were intended for the other module that accepts only chains.

I want to make a waterfall. How do I get fireworks to launch from different heights in the scene?

(Pro version required) Add a launch position to your show with the menu item "Show > Add launch position". Click on the launch position and its edit button to get its "Edit position properties" dialog. In that dialog, set the height of the launch position to the desired height. The launch position will move up in the scene. After that, just drag and drop fountain/gerb fireworks to the launch position, and then drag the end of their trajectory to rotate it downward.

I'm missing a voice cue where there ought to be one. What could be the problem?

If you are missing a voice cue, the reason may be that two break times that you are thinking are separate cues actually correspond to the same launch time, which is possible when the later break has a longer prefire. If this is the case, you can separate them by dragging them apart on the timeline such that the left ends of their purple bars are not perfectly aligned.

I'm ready to set up a second computer in the office for my partner. Do I need another license or how do the activation keys work?

Each license that you buy comes with two "activation keys" that automatically activate on the first two computers you login into with your user name. Most users use the two keys for a desktop plus laptop. To use the second key, just download of copy the program from www.finalefireworks.com/download to the second computer, and login with the same username (same account).

If you want a second account, which comes with an additional two keys, you can buy that at 35% discount in the bottom left of www.finalefireworks.com/buy page. When you buy an additional account license, you can have it connected to the same username (the default), or if you want a different username then just email service@finalefireworks.com the username that you'd like to transfer it to and we'll switch it over.

I'm shooting a manual show. My rails have 15 pins each. Can Finale create a voice cue track with 1-15 for each rail?

Yes. Obviously you have to tell Finale how many pins your rails have. To do that, you first must have all your shells launching from launch positions that you add with the menu item "Show > Add launch position". Then you must set the properties of that launch position to tell it about your rails. Click the launch position and then click the yellowish "edit" button that appears. A dialog will appear titled "Edit position properties." In the lower left, click on the "Add firing system unit" link, and add one rail that will act as a template for all the rails at this launch position. Fill in the boxes for this added rail by first adding a description "My rail", then in the address field enter "A" to give it a letter address (Finale always uses letter addresses for voice cues, so enter a letter here even if you would otherwise use numbers). Then enter 1 in the "first pin" field, and 15 in the "no. of pins" field if your rails have 15 pins each. Typically, firing systems can ignite more than one e-match per pin simultaneously, so change the "matches/pin" to the maximum number your system supports. Or if you just want Finale to put all simultaneous launches on the same pin, enter a big number, like 30, so you don't have to worry about it.

You're done. Finale will automatically add additional rails to the launch position, B, C, D, etc., following the template of the first one you laid down. If you select "File > Set voice cues on while editing" you'll hear the voice cues come out "Alpha 1, 2, 3, 4, ..., 15, Bravo 1, 2, etc.". One final step you need to take is to select the option "Shows > Address sequentially (for manual fire)" so that the pins read off sequentially, rather than jumping around as is possible for computer fired shows.

If I recommend or sell Finale to other people, can I get a commission? How much?

We are willing to pay a commission of 35% of every sale to the person responsible for the sale (e.g., $70 of $199)! Our standard program is that each user has a "code". If you send an email out to folks that contains a link with that code, and folks click on that link to get to Finale's site to register or download, then if they buy the software (immediately or at a later time), you get a credit of 35% of the sale and we send you the money by Paypal. You don't have to do anything other than send the email. You can get the code from www.finalefireworks.com/partners.

Another idea we've just started to experiment with is the idea of physical "payment vouchers", which you can sell directly to people at fireworks shoots and other events (i.e., they give you the money, you give them the voucher, then you paypal us 65% of sale price). If you are interested in this pilot program, please email service@finalefireworks.com.

If I want to scab wire a device to a different location from its firing module, how do I do that?

If you want to run scab wire from a launch position A to a launch position B for a device, the most natural way is to add a copy of the module or slat at A to the launch position B. However at B, configure the module copy with a single pin, and give it a description that will remind you it represents a scab wire scenario rather than a physical module (e.g., just call the module "Scab wire from A"). Then manually assign the firework at B to the single pin of the module copy.

Import/Export: How do I export scripts for Pyromate NiteTime software?

Pyromate NiteTime can read Pyromate SmartShow files, so to export a script, simply select, "File > Export script > Pryomate Smartshow".

Import/Export: How do I import my FireOne inventory?

The "Inventory > Import new inventory" menu item imports an inventory file stored in the CSV (comma separated values) format. You first need to convert your FireOne inventory database to CSV formatted file, either by exporting it with FireOne software or by loading and exporting it with Excel or Microsoft Acces. The CSV file must have header row at the top with the names of each of the columns.

Once you have a CSV, open Finale and select the "Inventory > Import new inventory" menu item. This will then prompt you to open the CSV file with your inventory. After selecting the file, you will be presented with a dialog containing two panels. In the top part of the dialog you tell Finale what columns in your file correspond to the fields that Finale uses. Finale uses the column headers in the CSV file to try to guess what the columns mean, but you can override and specify the columns manually. The second panel displays a preview of the fireworks being imported.

Once you've specified the columns, hit the "IMPORT" button in that dialog to complete the process. In a few seconds the inventory panel will load up with the fireworks that you've just imported. All the existing fireworks will be available as well: the left most drop down menu that starts out as "All inventories" lets you filter which inventories are included in the inventory panel.

Finale attempts to create a visual simulation for each firework using the information specified in the source CSV. The automatically created simulations work pretty well for shells, but less well for cakes since there typically isn't enough information in a short description to fullly describe the effects in a cake.

Import/Export: I need "Pack List" reports that include magazine numbers. How do I generate custom reports?

Export your inventory as a CSV file from your other software or through MS Access, then import into Finale with the menu item "Inventory > Import new inventory". Finale will import all columns from the your inventory file, and will ask you the meanings of some columns so Finale can construct simulations for you. After using Finale to script a show, if you want to generate your own custom Pack Sheet, Show Script, or Loading Report that includes data from your imported inventory like magazine number, location, or manufacturer information, the easiest way to to this is to export a generic CSV file from Finale with all your data, and then take that into Excel or Access and delete the columns you don't want, and sort it the way you do want. This does require some Excel handiwork, but it lets you get exactly what you want. To export the generic CSV from Finale, use the menu item "File > Export > Finale Generic CSV".

Is it possible to add devices to a chain that I insert?

To add devices to a chain that you insert, you have to break apart and reassemble the chain. Insert the chain and then select, "Edit > Break apart chain or cake". The select the individual devices of the broken apart chain and also select the devices you want to add to the chain, all with the appropriate delays in between, and then select "Edit > Make chain". See the other FAQ post on the difference between Factory Chains and Field Chains for more information.

Is it possible to restrict a single module to a range of calibers, e.g., 3" and 4"?

Currently the only option per module is picking a specific caliber filter or the "Same" caliber filter in the module window. However, you can split up your two modules into smaller virtual modules each restricted to a single caliber. For example, instead of having a single module #10 with pins 1-100, you could have module #10 with pins 1-50 and another copy of module #10 with pins 51-100. Then each of those two modules can be filtered to a specific or "same" caliber. You set the pin ranges by setting the "first pin" and "number of pins" of the modules to 1/50 and 51/50 respectively. Since the two virtual modules have the same module address (10 in this example), they are parts of the same module from the perspective of your firing system.

Is there a way to group various creations in "My Fireworks" section? It sure would be nice to show only the 1.3g stuff, for example.

The Inventory View (control-i) now has full text filtering in the little white text box. You can edit your My Fireworks by clicking on the "edit" link to the right of the Inventory View in the current pre-release, and you can add information in the Product ID or Mfg ID field that you can use as filter terms to filter to a specific category. For example, you can enter "1.4g" as the Mfg ID field of all your 1.4G effects, and then when you type "1.4G" in the text field of the Inventory View, you will only see those effects.

It seems I can only create a fan shape when editing candles. How can I create a fan candle made of comets and mines?

From your description, it sounds like you are starting with a candle effect, and then clicking its "edit" button to modify it. Rather than starting with a standard effect of any kind, please start with an effect generated by doing "Inventory > Create simulation..." That will guarantee that you have all the advanced editing panels when you click its "edit" button after inserting it into the show. The advanced editing panels include all the panels that are present with the standard candle effects.

That is not the full answer to your question, though. If you make a chain, it appears as multiple rows in the firing panel, but if you make a cake it only appears as a single row. Thus, to make a candle design with a comet and mine, use the "Edit > Make cake" command by inserting the individual effects into the show, then selecting them all, then doing "Edit > Make cake". After making the cake, click its "edit" button and change its category to "Candle".

Kindly advise if I can load in the inventory from Fireone or ShowSim so Finale is able to grab the data to display out the 3D site layout.

Yes, Finale can import inventories and complete shows (including launch positions!) from ShowSim or FireOne or any other choreography software that is able to export CSV files. To import, use the functions "File > Import show..." and "Inventory > Import new inventory...". Please see the instructions at www.finalefireworks.com/features/importinventory and www.finalefireworks.com/features/importshow The basic idea is that Finale can import an inventory or show from a CSV file that contains a certain set of standard columns that are found in other software packages or easily generated as reports. For FireOne, the "break time report" typically has all the required columns except a prefire column, which you can add in Excel by creating a column that subtracts the launch time from the break time. For reference, a quick way to calculate seconds from a launch time column and break time column in Excel is using the formula illustrated by "=(B5-C5)*86400" for row 5 where the column B is the break time and C is the launch time. It turns out that Excel stores dates and times as fractions of a day, and subtracting two times (such as break time - launch time) results in a fractional value that is the percentage of the day that is the difference. Thus the formula multiplies by seconds / day to get prefire in seconds. After importing, to get the 3D layout diagrams, you simply have to edit each launch position by clicking its "edit" button and then click "Add racks for fireworks" on the plan view that appears. After doing that, and optionally moving around the racks into pods of your own choice, then simply do "File > Print layout diagrams".

Launch positions can be dragged horizontally, but what about depth and height?

You can adjust the distance from audience (Z) and height (Y) of the launch positions by clicking the launch position's edit button. In PRO, the window that appears allows you to specify distance and height underneath the name. In Business, the window that appears has a link to "edit position properties" in the upper right, which lets you specify all the coordinates in addition to width and height dimensions. Also in Business, you can click "File > Bird's eye view on/off", which displays the shoot site from overhead and lets you drag the launch positions around on the ground in both axes.

My hard drive crashed. I want to reinstall Finale but want to save my second activation key for the future. What should I do?

Go ahead and use the your name and password on the computer after you re-install which will automatically activate the license on that computer. When you start using the laptop with Finale you will get a warning about using more than two computers. Send a note to service@finalefireworks.com when that happens and we'll reset your activation records so that you can use Finale on the two computers that are active.

My question is about licenses.  If I buy the software soon and download it on my old laptop, will I be able to transfer the software to my new laptop once I get it?

Yes, each license is good for two machines. They will automatically activate on the first two machines you log in from. If you change machines or buy a new machine, just email service@finalefireworks.com and we'll reset your activation keys for the new machine.

My voice cues don't match my cue numbers. What is wrong?

The problem is easily fixed and you won't have to redo all your cuing. What is going on is that the voice cues are based on the shots/launches, not on the numbered cue markers, which are purely a graphical aid for building the show. The shots/launches and corresponding voice cues will always correspond to the printed reports (firing report, loading report, etc.), so they are what actually matters.

Numbered cue markers just get numbered in chronological order. Shots also get numbered in chronological order. The numbered cue markers can be out of synch with the shots if (a) you have an extra numbered cue marker without a shot attached to it, (b) you have an extra shot not attached to a numbered cue marker, (c) you have two launches that occur at the same time and launch position (and are thus part of the same shot) but are attached to two different numbered cue markers.

If you care about aligning the numbered cue markers to the shots, pull up the firing view from the File menu, and look at the "cue" column and the "pin" column. If all your shots are on cue markers and you have no cue markers without shots, those two columns will be identical. To fix problems, drag the numbered cue markers on the timeline slightly to make sure the correct fireworks are attached to them.

If you attach multiple shells of different calibers to the same numbered cue marker, you typically want something different to happen depending on whether you are firing your show electrically or with computer fire. For electrically firing you generally want the cue marker to align with the first break, and subsequent breaks (still attached to the cue marker) will occur after the cue marker such that all of their launch times occur simultaneously and thus their matches can be connected to a single pin. For computer firing your generally want the cue marker to align with all the breaks, and the launch times which will hence not be simultaneous will get assigned to different pins. You can set the preference for either way of handling these circumstances from the options menu, "Show > Edit > Options > Align prefires on cue markers (for manual fire)".

Please explain the option "Show > Options > Align prefires on cue markers (for manual fire)".

If you are making a script to be fired automatically by your firing system hardware, the cue markers that you insert in Finale using the menu item "Show > Add cue marker" are merely user interface tools to allow you to group and move items together on the timeline. They have no bearing on the exported script file for your firing system. The "Cue" field in the firing view shows the number of the cue marker that each item is attached to, if it is attached to any cue marker at all.

For automatic fired shows, the cue markers are aligned to the break times of the items. If different items have different prefire times, their launch times will be staggered so as to keep the break times aligned on the cue marker. This cue marker behavior is the default setting in Finale, and is also settable with the "Show > Options > Unaligned prefires on cue markers okay (for computer fire)" menu item.

For manual fired shows, however, you should set the option "Show > Options > Align prefires on cue markers (for manual fire)" prior to creating your show if you intend to use cue markers. With this setting on, Finale will align the launch times of all the items on the cue marker such that the item with the shortest prefire time breaks at the cue marker, and the other items launching at the same time as the first but with larger prefire times break after the cue marker. For manual fired shows, using cue markers with this setting keeps the cue markers aligned with the cue times at which the operator presses a button (the "operator cue times").

Pyrodigital uses hexadecimal. Can I see hex numbers in Finale?

For Pyrodigital (or if you just happen to like hexadecimal) Finale allows you to write your firing system unit addresses in hex by preceding the number with a dollar sign, e.g., $a in hex is the same as 10 in decimal. You can also use hex in the pin numbers, and the format will be carried through to the reports. For firing system units that have modules and slats you can separate the two components of the address with a dash, e.g., firing system unit 14, slat 15 can be written in hex as $e-$f. Detailed explanation of the allowable syntax is given here: www.finalefireworks.com/features/exportoverview

ShowDirector has an "add cue" options which let's me fill space with cues at a given interval. How do I do that in Finale?

An easy approach is to insert a bunch of shells at the starting time of the period you want to fill, drag one of them to the right on the timeline to the ending time, then select all of them and do "Edit > Distribute evenly." An alternate approach is to add the correct number of shells, select them, and do "Edit > Stagger" to specify the interval, but that still requires you to know the number of shells. Holding shift down to multi-select shells, in combination with ^C and ^V to cut and paste, can make it very easy to lay out sections. After you paste, you can drag the selected items en masse on the timeline to fill out a section.

SmartShow displays different "view times" for shells that I've combined manually in to a chain on the same pin. Is that okay?

Yes, if you combine multiple shells into a chain using the editor ("field chain"), rather than inserting a pre-assembled chain from the inventory ("factory chain"), the shells in your chain will appear as separate rows in the firing view and in SmartShow because they are separate pieces. Technically, all the shells involved are still on the same shot, because a single electrical impulse on a pin ignites all of them. But if there are delays between the shells, they will burst at different times.

SmartShow displays the view times (burst times) of shells, and implicitly calculates a shot time based on subtracting the prefire from the view time, so in the case of field chains with delays between the shells, SmartShow calculates a different shot time for each shell even though they are ignited by the same pin. The result is a little strange to look at because it looks like the same pin gets fired multiple times, but it is harmless. Only the first firing event matters.

Whenever you have multiple rows with the same pin number, SmartShow will give you a warning when you run/load the script just to call it to your attention.

The labels don't seem to print correctly on the Avery 5260. The size doesn’t match the label. What is the problem?

The problem is that you are printing the pdf with the "scale to fit page" option. When you print the pdf, the print dialog will contain a "properties" button or a "print scaling" selector. Depending on your operating system, you may have to click through the "properties" button to another dialog to find a tab (e.g., the "paper" tab) that contains the "print scaling" selector, but this may be on by default on your computer, and you will have to turn it off ("none").

The logo in my video is the wrong size. Why isn't it properly in the lower right corner?

If the logo in the lower right of a generated video appears the wrong size, or if only part of it appears, the problem may that Finale is expecting the logo in a different format than you are uploading. In particular, Finale expects the logo to be the actual size, in pixels, that you want. Finale doesn't resize the logo in order to enable you to use the logo feature to create a foreground overlay of the entire video. If part or all of your logo is missing, the problem may be that the logo is saved as a JPG with transparency. If you save your logo out of Adobe Illustrator, this may occur by default.

To remove transparency from your logo, you can load it into Adobe Photoshop, convert the image to RGB with no alpha channel, and save out again as a JPG. Video title pages in Finale do not support transparency, and if you upload a title page as an image with transparency, it may appear entirely white.

Troubleshooting: How do I resolve the "Waiting for Media" error when creating a video?

The FINALE software creates videos of shows on our servers. To create the video, the servers need the show file and also any media, such as music or background images, used in the show. The "Waiting for Media" error means that the server is unable to create the show because some of the required media is not available on the server.

When music or background images are added to the show, they are uploaded to a secure storage area on our servers. Sometimes the upload does not complete due to a network error or if the user quits the FINALE application.

While the file is uploading there will be an animating icon in the upper right corner of the screen (the icon is the small box in the black area below the red X in the picture to the right). Be sure not to quit the application while the icon is displayed to avoid ending the upload prematurely.

When a show is saved to the server to create a video, usually all the media used by the show have already been uploaded to our servers. If any of the media have not been uploaded, the application attempts to upload the media again after notifying the user. While the application is uploading the media it will display a "Waiting for Media" status for the show. If this second attempt to upload the media fails, then the "Waiting for Media" status will be permanent and the video for the show will not be created.

Once a piece of media, such as a music or background image, has been uploaded as part of one show for an account, then it can be used in other shows without being uploaded again.

There is a 60MB limit for uploaded music or background images. If you are using a long .WAV file for your music, you may hit this limit. Converting the file to MP3 for use in FINALE will avoid this limit.

Troubleshooting: I can't download and install the application? What do the errors mean?

The two most common causes of problems reported with installing the Finale application relate to either having multiple copies of Finale or the Finale installer running at once or problems downloading the software.

The first thing to check if you have an error while installing is to make sure that the Finale application and the Finale installer are not already running. Check this by looking in the task bar since the application's windows might not be visible if it is minimized.

The Finale installer is a small application that downloads and installs the complete Finale software. Problems downloading the software are often caused by security software that is blocking the small application from installing the complete Finale application. In this case it often works to download and install the complete Finale application directly from this link http://www.finalefireworks.com/installer/download/latest.

If you are unable to install from that link, you can disable security software by rebooting your computer in "safe mode with networking" and trying to download and install again. Instructions for that are here (as well as other places): www.computerhope.com/issues/chsafe.htm .

Troubleshooting: I click on the download button and just get a "Thank you" message. Where is the download?

If you click on the green "Download" button and only get the "Thanks for trying Finale" message, then what is happening is your web browser is intervening before allowing you to download the file, as a precaution. Depending on your browser, it will have some text at the bottom of the window, or the top, asking you to confirm that you want to download the executable. Typically the text includes yes/no buttons. It is also possible that your browser has put up a confirmation window behind the main window, making it impossible to see unless you move the main window out of the way. In any case, one of these scenarios is the most likely problem.

If you look everywhere on the main window and behind it, and you don't see a confirmation dialog anywhere, then the two remaining possibilities are that your web browser's security settings don't allow you to download applications (such as it might be configured if it is on a work computer), or your anti-virus software is interfering with the download. In the first case, you need to reconfigure your browser or download a new one (e.g., www.google.com/chrome). In the second case you need to reboot your computer in safe mode with networking (explained here: www.computerhope.com/issues/chsafe.htm).

Troubleshooting: I import my inventory file and a firework is missing. What do I do?

Start by opening a copy of your inventory CSV file in a Excel or Notepad and deleting all the lines except the firework that goes missing and two to three other fireworks that work. Import this new small file and see if the firework is still missing. First check that the firework is appearing in the preview panel that appears in the import dialog, and then see if it appears in the inventory panel itself. It may be the case that FINALE is importing the firework but is putting it in the wrong category (since Finale doesn't yet have inventory search it can be hard to find fireworks sometimes). If the missing firework still doesn't appear even in this simple scenario, please email your inventory csv file to service@finalefireworks.com so we can help resolve.

Troubleshooting: I know I get two activation keys, how do I put Finale on my home computer and laptop?

The two keys are attached to your username, the same username you used when you bought the program. The first two machines you log into with that username activate automatically. If you replace your computer or want to change to another computer, just send an email to service@finalefireworks.com and we will reset your activation keys.

As long as you are logging in with your username connected with the purchase, you will always have all the features, independently of what machine you are on or whether that machine has been activated or not. You can verify this by looking at the words on the window title bar. If it says "Finale Business Edition" or "Finale PRO" then you know that you have access to those features. If it says "FREE Trial Version" then you know something's wrong -- possibly you are logging in with the wrong username or there was some problem with the purchase. If you are logging into a machine that is not activated, you will at first get a warning message and then eventually you will not be able to login.

Troubleshooting: My videos have the sound of the shells, but no music. What do I do?

The usual explanation for this problem is that your music file failed to upload. First, convert your music file to mp3 with a new name. WAV files are often too big, and the bigger the file is the more likely you'll have a network problem during upload. The size limit is 60Mb.

Next launch Finale and load your show. Click on "Show > Set music > Add new music file..." to set it to the new music file. Then click on "File > Save as to network..." to save your show to net. If your new music has already uploaded, then the save operation will complete normally. If your new music has not yet uploaded, then you will get a dialog saying, "Your music has not completed uploading, please wait." Wait until that dialog goes away; do not close the app or turn off your computer until then. Once the dialog goes away, your music is safely uploaded, and you can create videos with it.

Troubleshooting: What does "network error: communication failure" mean when I try to login?

This error is the result of the Finale application being unable to reach the Finale servers. This could be because the computer does not have network access, there is security software blocking the Finale application, or there is a problem on our servers.

If you see this error, first verify that you can reach other websites in your web browser. If you can't see other websites, then the problem is with your computer's network connection.

Second, verify the you can open the Finale website at www.finalefireworks.com in your web browser. If you are unable to reach the website, then there is a problem with our servers or with your network access to our servers. You can verify the status of our servers by checking our external monitoring service web page. If this says our servers are not working (red box in the status column), then we've been notified about the problem so please wait an hour or two and try again. If this says our servers are working (green box in the status column), then you have a network access problem reaching our web site which is most likely caused by your ISP. In this situation we recommend waiting an hour or two, and if the problem persists contact your ISP.

If you can open the www.finalefireworks.com website, then the "network error: communication failure" most likely means that there is anti-virus or security software, such as a firewall or a corporate VPN that is blocking the Finale application from accessing the network. To verify, disable the anti-virus, firewall or VPN and try connecting again. You can disable security software be rebooting your computer in "safe mode with networking" and trying to log in again. Instructions for that are here (as well as other places): www.computerhope.com/issues/chsafe.htm. If Finale can connect under these circumstances then you need to configure your anti-virus or security software to allow Finale to have access to the internet.

Professional and Business users should not see this error once they've successfully run the application on their computer, since the application will prompt them to work offline in this situation.

Voice cues have a "fire on number" option and a "fire on beep" option, but they seem the same. What is the difference?

With both options, the number precedes the shot by the same amount of time. The thinking is that you need the same reaction time to press the button whether there is a beep or not. Some people like the beep as a reconfirmation, whereas others argue that it causes people to fire accidentally in fast sections. So we created both options. The difference in preference is most significant in fast firing sections where there is not enough time to articulate the numbers. In such sequences, both patterns of voice cue articulation have to replace numbers with beeps to accommodate the pace. The "with beeps" option has to prepare you for the replacement by uttering "sequence!" on the onset so you know not to expect numbers, whereas the "numbers only" option can do the replacement without prior declaration on the expectation that you will always fire on the next utterance, whether it is a number or a beep. The "numbers only" option can also accommodate faster sequences without requiring replacement. The choice of which option to use is a matter of personal preference and the pace of the show.

We use European-style chains with varying calibers and different delays between the shells of different calibers. Can we do that in Finale?

Yes you can make chains with varying shell calibers and delays between the shells. It is very easy, actually. Just layout all the shells of whatever calibers you want on the timeline with the correct delays between them, then select them all, then do the command "Edit > Make chain", which combines them all into a single ignitable item taking one pin on your firing system.

We use chains with pyro-delays. How can I set up a chain with a 3s delay before the first shell launches

The solution is to make your chains by inserting shells onto the timeline with the correct delays between them, then select them all, then do "Edit > Make chain" to turn them into a chain. The delay of the chain will be equal to the lift time + fuse delay of the first item in the chain. If the first item's delay is what you want, then you are done. If it is not what you want, then before creating the chain edit the first shell by clicking on its edit button at the base of its trajectory; then adjust its fuse delay and prefire (in the first editing panel). The old simulations do not have a fuse delay option when you edit them, but all the new simulations that you create by importing inventory or using the command "Inventory > Create simulation".

What are the system requirements?

The short answer is Windows XP or later OS, plus decently fast computer (1.6GHz or higher) and internet access. There is no 3d video card requirement. Macintosh users can run Finale under Boot Camp or Parallels.

The faster the computer, the more responsive the program is, but Finale pretty much works on everything (even computers slower than 1.6GHz). Finale uses software 3D rendering rather than the computer's 3d video hardware, even if the hardware is available. The benefit is that Finale is extremely robust, but the drawback is that the bigger your window and the more stuff on it, the slower the program will run. If your computer is slow, shrink the Finale window to improve performance.

What does the $99/year service plan include? What happens if I don't renew?

The first year service plan is free with purchase. After that it is $99/year. The service plan includes service, support, and upgrades for twelve months. My colleague Chris and I support customers with email and cell phone, and we incorporate customers' requests, feedback, and suggestions into a new upgrade every month. Since we are constantly working on the product and tailoring it to customer needs, you can look forward to it getting significantly better every month. The basic product works even if a customer does not renew the service plan, but some features -- mainly the inventory import/management features and sales video generation -- require the service plan to work since they rely on our servers.

What is "Master Inventory"?

Your "Master Inventory" is the database of products that you build up for yourself or your company. Products in the Master Inventory are identified by Product ID, and have various properties like Mfg and Price, and an associated animation. When you import a product list from a CSV file into your Master Inventory, Finale assigns best matching animations to them automatically based on their effect names. You can edit them to change the animation based on a different description of the effect, or you can create a custom animation using the advanced simulation editing panels (click on the 'edit' button near the base of the effect's trajectory) and save the custom animation to the product to assign it.

When you design a show, you can set the show's "Target Device Quantities", which specifies the quantities of product to be used in the show. While your Master Inventory contains your entire universe of products, you specify the Target Device Quantities for a particular show with a CSV file that represents a packing list for the show, i.e., it is a list of quantities for the Product IDs to be used. From the Inventory View (press control-i) you can change the filter from "All quantities" to "Target > 0" in order to filter the Inventory View down to show only the products relevant to the show you are scripting. Similarly, you can set the filter to "Show < Target" to see only those products for which you need to add more to the show. Many other useful filter options are also possible.

Your My Fireworks, which is unchanged from earlier versions of Finale, is a personal collection of simulations, which you can make private or public. You can insert simulations from My Fireworks into a show, as with earlier versions, but the simulations in My Fireworks do not contain product information like Product ID, Mfg and Price.

The Master Inventory is hosted on the Finale Inventory service. You get a free Personal version of Finale Inventory with the Business version of the choreography product. We set up the Personal Finale Inventory account on request. All you have to do is send us an email telling us what you would like the account name to be. Most people use the name of their company, all-one-word, lower case. The Personal version of Finale Inventory hosts your Master Inventory and supports all the Target Device Quantity features but does not include stock management (quantity on hand, reserved, etc.) and reports (magazine reports, history reports, bills of lading, etc.). The paid versions of Finale Inventory provide these additional services.

What is the difference between a "Simulation" in My Fireworks and a "Product" in Master Inventory?

A simulation My Fireworks is a visual effect that can be inserted as a firework into a show or assigned to a product in Master Inventory. You can insert both simulations (from My Fireworks) and products (from Master Inventory) into shows. The only differences are that products have some additional properties (Product ID, Price, Mfg, and Mfg ID), and products used in shows can be reserved or deducted from stock quantities on hand if you are using Finale's hosted inventory management service.

What is the difference between the trial and PRO? How do I download PRO?

All versions of Finale are the same download, so if you've already downloaded the trial you don't need to re-download. When you make an order, your account is upgraded to the version you bought, and when you run the Finale application, it checks your account to see what features should be enabled.

What's the main difference between PRO and BUSINESS?

Business has 3D site layout drawings, plus the ability to put corporate logos on the generated videos, plus bird's eye view layout, plus the ability to import shows from other systems, and other features. However the PRO version is a perfectly fine standalone program for choreography; it just doesn't have the extra features.

When Finale imports a show, does it automatically create simulations by guessing at the effect names?

When you import a CSV inventory file, Finale will automatically construct visual simulations of your products based on their effect names. This process, however, is inherently difficult because effect names are not a perfect recipe or description of what the simulation should look like. In some cases such as consumer cakes the effect names provide very little useful information at all! Finale recognizes key words in the effect names that indicate the general type of effect.

When I assign slat addresses for my firing modules, A, B, and C, I end up getting a D when there is still room on A. Why?

If you have the option set "Show > Options > Address sequentially for manual fire" then shots will only be assigned to slats in increasing order, so if you have some shots at a launch position with slat A, and then some shots from a launch position with slat B, and then some more shots at the first launch position, they cannot be assigned to slat A because that would be going backwards from B. Turning this option off will allow shots to go back and forth between slats.

When I print to Avery labels, the printed labels are slightly too small, even though I know I'm using the correct size labels. How do I fix this?

When you print the pdf, the print dialog has a section called "Page Handling" which has an item called "Page Scaling" which you most likely have set to "Fit to Printable Area" or "Shrink to Printable Area". Change the setting to "None".

Where can I download the latest release, or does it download automatically?

The latest release is always available at www.finalefireworks.com/download The application's code does not update unless you explicitly run the installer that you can download from the download page. However, the new fireworks and public inventories of products by manufacturers will be downloaded automatically, so you only have to go to the download page to update the code to the latest release.

Where do I download the latest pre-release?

The latest Pre-releases are always in the "News and Announcements" section of the forums. Look for the top most post saying "Pre-release xxxx", with a link to download. Pre-releases often contain new features and bug fixes that haven't yet officially been released. After sufficient testing and validation, we take the last pre-release and make it an official release, at which point it can be downloaded from www.finalefireworks.com/download.

While I was using the editor, somehow *all* the fireworks at one of my launch positions got angled? What happened?

If you find that you've inadvertently angled everything at a launch position, the most likely explanation is that you clicked on and moved the launch position itself, which automatically selects everything that comes from it (beginning to end of show) and then you dragged a single trajectory that was visible on the screen to put it at an angle, not recognizing that other fireworks were also selected even if not visible at that time. The edit operations apply to everything selected.

The easiest remedy is simply to click on the launch position again to select all of its contents and then do the menu item "Edit > Straighten" to straighten everything on that launch position again.

This example illustrates a useful trick. If you want to select only the visible fireworks from a launch position, just click on the launch position. If you want to select all fireworks from a launch position (beginning to end of show), move the launch position and then UNDO to move it back while leaving all its contents selected.

Why do I have to pay extra for the Pyromate Edition? I just bought a Nighthawk firing system and want to download to it.

The Pyromate Edition of Finale essentially replaces NiteTime or SmartShow. If you already have SmartShow or NiteTime *and* Finale Business Edition, then you don't need the Pyromate Edition of Finale except for the convenience. The Business Edition of Finale will support timecode also. If you buy a Nighthawk firing system, you do need to buy some software to do the download. Your options are either NiteTime or SmartShow or Finale Pyromate Edition. The advantage of getting Finale Pyromate Edition is that it works on Vista and Win7, and is essentially another full copy of Finale Business so it comes with two more computer activation keys.

If you already have Finale Business and are wondering why Finale Business doesn't just come with the downloader for Pyromate Nighthawk, the answer is that Finale agreed to these business terms with Pyromate as part of an agreement about jointly promoting and selling Finale as the official choreography software for Pyromate that replaces NiteTime and SmartShow. Our objective in that agreement was to find terms that would be satisfactory for all four parties -- customers of Pyromate, customers of Finale, Pyromate the company, and Finale the company.