Tutorial: 4 Easy Steps to Your Perfect Score Layout

It is an important procedure to set up your score layout in order to finalize your music. In this article, we will show you four steps to get the perfect score page. Please note that FORTE Free and FORTE Basic provide only limited layout options. FORTE Home and FORTE Premium support all possibilities that are displayed here. You find your layout options in the main menu “Score” in the group “Layout”. In this video, I’m going to explain to you each of the tabs step by step.

Video too fast? Read the transcript!

Step 1 – General Setup

The tab “Setup” gives you the general layout options. You can define the more general style guidelines here. Select the displayed instruments, for example. Define the name of the score. Select the sizes of the texts, the lyrics and the staves.

On the right hand side, there’s a little preview. This preview is a great help for your layouting. The gray boxes symbolize the staves. Please keep the gray boxes within the dotted frame. You can see the effects of your layout editing immediately displayed in this preview box.The option “Staff Size” allows you to scale the size of the staves up or down. If you select a different staff size, you can preview the result in the preview box on the right hand side. If you write music for several instruments, a scale of 70 to 90% will be optimal. We recommend the value of 70 to 90% when you’re planning on many systems per page as well.Let’s look at “Fonts”: you can edit the global font types and sizes for your score here. You can edit the lyrics as well as the numbers which are used to count the measures and the pages. Of course, you can also adjust the styles of the general text, the chord names and the style of guitar charts. The principle applies to all elements.

Step 2 – Margins

Set up the page margins of your score under “Margins”. In the upper area you can select the paper size and you can switch between portrait and landscape orientation.The item “First System Indent” helps you define the indent of the first system from the left and from the top of the page. In the lower area, you can set up the format for your left and right pages. In case you want to print on single pages, keep the values the same for both pages. We recommend 2cm margin for your pages. If you need more printing space for your music, you can reduce the margin. Please note: not all printers support borderless printing. Once you set up all the margins, the settings are applied to your whole score.

Step 3 – Spacing!

​Watch out! Here are the most important layouting options for your FORTE score! Changing and adjusting the values of this tab influences the spacing of your staves, your lyrics and all the elements around your notes. Hence we are at “Spacing”. The values for “Staff Spacing” and “Symbol Spacing” refer to ledger lines above and below. They do NOT represent metric units. For example: If you select “5” as your staff spacing above, the space of five ledger lines above the staff will be respected. If this number is too small, you will not be able to write notes above the staff at all. We recommend you settle for three to five spaces in each category. Your adjustments are immediately visible in the preview of your layout on the right hand side. If you write for a piano or a grand staff, there is a separate spacing value. With “Symbol Spacing” you can decide upon the spacing between the staff and your elements. If I increase the value here, the piano symbol will shift upwards. Set up the spacing value for your lyrics as well. “Default Setup” sets the general amount of measures per system and systems per page for your score. If you write a song with lots of lyrics and small note values, you’ll probably find two to four measures per system agreeable. The option “Systems per Page” edits the, well, amount of systems per page. With larger scores you’ll find one or two systems quite enough for one page. Check the layout preview on the right hand side! If the gray boxes don’t fit within the borders, decrease the values until they do. If you still need more space on your page, go back to the spacing options, the margin options, or the staff size above.

Step 4 – Detailed Options

With the last tab, “Options”, you can edit the display of page and measure numbers. The option “Enable multi-measure rests” is also here. Within a part of your score, you can automatically merge rest measures. With this option activated, any amount of more than four rest measures is merged. Furthermore, you can activate the display of clefs and keys at the beginning of each system. You can also disable the automatic beaming of notes. This option can be quite vital for your choir music.
For now: Have fun with layouting your beautiful scores!

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4 replies
  1. Matthew Bertram
    Matthew Bertram says:

    Is there a way to print a cover page or front page? I want to print a 4-page score so the first page is on the left and second page on the right, which means I need to print something on Page 1 – either a blank page or it could be a cover/title page.

    • FORTE Admin
      FORTE Admin says:

      Dear Matthew, unfortunately FORTE doesn’t support this yet. What you can do, however, is print the cover page separately (e.g., in MS Word), and then delete all title texts in FORTE. Then you can export both the .doc an the .fnf file to .pdf and bundle them together this way. It’s more of a workaround than a solution, but it might help. Best, Felix from FORTE

    • FORTE Admin
      FORTE Admin says:

      Dear Bromberg,

      unfortunately, no, it’s not possible to import mp3 and convert that into music notation.
      You can import midi files and MusicXML files.

      Kind regards,
      Your FORTE team


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