Overview: Perfect Layout, v2.2, macOS/Windows

Perfect Layout v2.2 includes more than 100 new features, improvements and fixes.
The chronological list of changes in the sub-versions 2.20, 2.201, 2.21, 2.22, 2.23 is available here.
v2.0 customers and customers who bought the full version of Perfect Layout v1.x after the 27th of March 2020 are eligible for a free update. For all other users the update is available through our online shop.
Please read our FAQ on how to install the update, especially on Windows.

For Perfect Layout PDF Examples click here

Perfect Layout now has user dialogs in English, German, French, Polish and Italian.
A Spanish and Japanese version are also included, but still in beta state.

List of Improvements (until the latest v2.23)

New features:
-The EXCLUDE, FORCEINCLUDE, ADDEXTRASPACE or ALLOWSHIFTRIGHT feature for expressions now also works in expression category names. E.g. when you add EXCLUDE to the category names, all expressions from this category will be excluded from re-positioning.
-"Self-update": The update feature now doesn't require external software anymore. It works directly within the plug-in. After the plug-in has updated itself, you just need to restart the plug-in. Finale doesn't need to be restarted. Note: this new update feature only updates the plug-in in the Finale version in which it was started. So if you have multiple Finale versions installed, you have to update it in each version separately or run the standard update tool as before (mainentenancetool.exe on Windows or the full installer on macOS). If the major plug-in version number changes (e.g. v2.x to v3.0) on Windows, you also still have to use the original update tool maintenancetool.exe and an do a full uninstall first, before installing the new version.
-New second factory preset: "Tight Spacing". While the original factory preset has a rather loose vertical spacing, the new factory preset offers a much tighter vertical spacing.
-Collisions of two articulations (e.g. Accent+Tenuto, Accent+Staccato) under tuplet brackets can now be now handled

-Gold: New option "Hairpins->Hairpin to Stem Distance" (default 16 EVPU).
-If some (at least 18%) dynamic expressions are not set to use category position, but the others are, then a user dialog pops up which allows to harmonize all dynamics to use category positioning. In previous version this was only possible if ALL dynamics were not set to use category position.
-New "PDF" button next to the help button: opens the PDF manual of Perfect Layout.
-New expression skylines for better vertical spacing on expressions with single small height peaks, like a tempo equation with a stem being much higher than all other elements
-Gold: The feature "Optimize grace notes" can now be deactivated (activated by default). The grace note optimization which had already been included in the previous versions is described here
-"Tuplet with tie collisions" if tuplet is on note-side are now avoided:

-On "jazz" style fonts the vertical minimum distance between two accidentals is automatically set to 7 (instead of 6), if it was less than 7.
-macOS: If the "progress bar script" has been completely removed from the hard disk, you won't see a terminal warning message anymore.
-The f2n metrics file format has been slightly updated to be more stable and read faster.
-In some cases improved repositioning of MusicXML imported expressions
-Improved detection of rehearsal marks below the staff that should not be moved above the staff
-A few updates to the user dialog for the translations
-Tempo/rehearsal marks with the "EXCLUDE" tag are not taken into account anymore for broadening measures if they are wider than the measure they are in
-The "Grace Note Index" for dynamic expressions is reset to 0 on notes with few preceding grace notes to keep the dynamic correctly vertically placed below the main note.
-If a system includes a single staff only from a piano staff group, the staff on that system is now handled as a single staff and not as a group anymore. This influences a few features.
-Improved horizontal placement of empty measures with slash staff style where the hairpin ends directly on the barline
-The slur/tie/accidental to dynamic expression vertical distance offset values in the Tight Spacing preset were reduced a bit more
-Measure position correction on dynamic expressions that were attached slighlty after a note that are also connected with a hairpin that starts on the same note
-"molto", "poco" and other expressive texts below hairpins are now taken into account when centering dynamics/hairpins on group piano staves
-Improved two scenarios of centering hairpins/dynamics between grouped piano staves
-Improved metrics of beamed cross staff stem-up notes that start a beam group which don't have frozen stems
-Improved stability of Windows installer
-Improved detection of old Finale documents from the 90s
-Improved support for individually resized staves with expressions connected with hairpins
-Improved conversion of some "Top note" dynamic expressions from old Finale documents
-New music fonts added to the list of known fonts
-Added more words to the list of known "expressive text" and "percussion instrument" texts (for automatic detection)
-32nd grace notes are not converted to 16th grace notes anymore if they precede a 16th note.
-More preview images
-Improved vertical placement in some cases of two rehearsal/tempo marks at the same measure position
-Some improvements to the user dialog texts
-Improved detection of tempo mark expressions
-Finale 26: in some cases improved vertical placement of two outside staff articulations above the staff
-Improved glissandi placement on some cases of entry-based glissandi from a cross staff note to a non-cross staff note
-The "Put Tuplet Brackets on Extreme Notes on Note Side" feature was improved: the algorithm now intelligently searches the surrounding notes, if it is necessary to add tuplet brackets or if less extreme tuplets are close. This avoids quickly alternating visibility of tuplet brackets.
-Improved Italian and Spanish translation
-A few changes to the user dialog and log messages
-Added a few music and text fonts to the list of known fonts
-Improved snapping of dynamic expressions to beats in old Finale documents where "beat snapping" wasn't available yet.
-Manually adjusted slurs over several staves are not reset anymore
-Hairpin collisions of l.v. ties at the end of a measure are now also detected if the following measure is empty
-Improved horizontal placement of glissando lines behind dottes notes if the staff distance on a harp group was extremely wide (and later reduced by PL)
-In some cases improved metrics on ties with system breaks
-Finale 26 only: improved expression placement below articulations
-Improved macOS installer
-"5-staff lines"-expressions put on clef changes from 1-line staves to 5-line staves are now also recognized if they don't use the Perfect Layout format
-macOS: Error message "Domain /Library/Preferences/com.apple.windowserver.plist does not exist" in the Terminal progress bar was eliminated which occured only on some systems.
-Improved PDF manual
-Fermata expressions on empty measures now also break multi-measure rests if they are non-"Break MM Rest" expressions
-Addition of 10 SMuFl fonts to the font symbol database (Leland, Leland Text, LS Iris, AloisenU, Aloisen GrooveU, MuseJazz, MuseJazz Text, Ekmelos, Sebastian, SebastianText)
-Support for all 37 known SMuFl fonts from www.music-fonts.com#smufl
-Accidental articulations before notes are not taken into account anymore on tuplet bracket collisions
-Improved placement auto rehearsal marks in the middle of a system if the system starts with an overslur from the previous system
-Improved break offset detection on slurs
-Improved slur metrics after system breaks
-In some cases improved placement of two tempo/rehearsal marks on top of each other
-Improved metrics calculation of grace note accidentals
-Improved handling of tempo expressions on multiple staves
-In some cases improved slur/hairpin collision removal
-Improved placement of rehearsal marks over (non-slur) smart shapes
-Improved placement of rehearsal marks over (non-slur) dotted notes in the previous measure
-Improved placement of rehearsal marks over multi-measure rest numbers which are placed on the staff lines (and not above)
-Improved placement of dynamics on very low notes with accidentals if followed directly by a hairpin
-Improved MusicXML import/conversion of some expressions above the staff
-Improved detection and metrics calculation of key signature changes
-Improved version number detection of font files
-Updated Node.js software for reading OTF fonts
-Dynamics on rests in measure 1 are moved to the first note (if not more than two rests)
-Improved snapping of dynamics that are not attached to entries to the next note entry
-Slight processing speed improval on documents with lots (>500) of expression definitions
-Manually repositioned whole rests in non-4/4 measures followed by invisible rests (to fill up the measure) are not reset to position 0 anymore
-When run on a single part only, the global measure number placement is not changed anymore
-Improved metrics calculation on some enclosed expressions
-Finger indications as expressions over the two bottom lines of the staff are not moved anymore below the staff
-When clicking the "Check for updates now!" button in the user dialog, you will be directed to the updater file (maintenancetool.exe) on Windows and to the download web page on macOS
-Articulations which use both shape and character types are now supported for collision detection
-Improved vertical system spacing
-Custom noteheads and custom accidentals are now taken into account on "dynamics with accidental" collisions

-Windows: The LastFANFileCheck.txt file wasn't saved if the Windows user folder included utf8 letters. Fixed now.
-macOS: The "PDF" button which opens the PDF manual didn't work on some OS versions. Fixed now.
-On grouped piano staves dynamic expressions with the "EXCLUDE" tag are not centered vertically anymore.
-In some cases on piano/harp staff groups (2 or 3 staves) where only one staff is visible dynamics on very low notes were not placed before the note, but below. Fixed now.
-If only a short measure region was selected, in rare cases fermata articulations in adjacent measures were also vertically corrected although they were not within in the selected region. Fixed now.
-Fixed an error message that could appear in very rare cases on percussion parts where 5-line expressions where added on clef changes from 1-line notation to 5-line notation.
-If the reflow settings "Only within measure"+"Reflow Across Systems" were selected and the plug-in was only run on one system, other system bottom margins could have been affected too. Fixed now.
-If a score has many different page percentages, then in very rare cases the last pages could need a manual "Redraw Update" after running the plug-in's system/staff vertical spacing function. Fixed now.
-If there was a file access error during the processing of PL, an error message about the language not being available could occur. Fixed now.
-In very rare cases system break offset of slurs with different start/end staves were reset. Fixed now.
-On very small page scalings (less than 40%) in some cases accidentals were not detected correctly for collision removal.
-If groups are different in parts and score (i.e. one staff in score, two staves in parts), then an error message could appear. Fixed now.
-When applying Perfect Layout to a full part only and PL has not been applied to the score before, then it in rare cases the expression assignment in other parts could be affected. Fixed now.
-Extremely short multi-measure rests (just as wide as the MM rest number) in measures with clef changes at the end were sometimes shortened even more, so that the symbol became unreadble. Fixed now.
-No more horizontal collision between a rehearsal letter and a very short tempo mark if they on a multi-measure rest.
-Custom accidental collisions now also take into account the custom accidental vertical offset value
-macOS: The "Staff lines" symbol from the Bach font did not work in Finale. Replaced with the same symbol from Kodaly font now.

System requirements:

  • Perfect Layout v3: Finale® 2014, 2014.5, v25, v26, v27 for 64bit Windows 10, 11 or macOS 10.13+ - 13.x (tested until 13.2).
    Note 1: PL v3 should also work in Windows 7 and 8 when all the latest Windows updates are installed, but Elbsound.studio doesn't support that.
    Note 2: According to some users PL v2 also works in 10.11/10.12, but Elbsound.studio doesn't support that either.
  • Perfect Layout v2: Finale® 2014, 2014.5, v25, v26, v27 for 64bit Windows 7, 8, 10, 11 or macOS (tested in 10.13 - 12.6, according to some users also working in 10.11/10.12)
  • Minimum 4 GB RAM, for huge orchestra scores exceeding about 20.000 frame assignments 8-12 GB RAM and Finale® v25, v26 or v27 are required, otherwise the plug-in may run out of memory.
  • Windows: 250 MB, macOS: 400 MB of free hard drive space (after installation 250 MB), plus space for the font annotation files dependent on the number of fonts that are installed
  • For the installation/(de-)activation you need a user with administration rights
  • Internet connection during the installation and update process, and an email address to receive the activation code or an installed email program to request the activation code.
  • macOS (PL v2.x+) and Windows (PL v3.x+): an internet connection is required during the processing of the plug-in for checking the activation
  • macOS only: You need to grant access to Finale to use the Terminal app, Image Events and System Events for activating/checking the license, downloading updates, displaying the plug-in's progress bar (optional) and finding out the number of screens for correct coordinates.
  • macOS only: The macOS standard tool "sudo" is used for some system calls. You may need to disable sudo plug-ins, if they cause problems with Perfect Layout's sudo calls.
  • Windows only: Powershell, WMIC, cmd and curl must be installed (it is installed by default on Windows unless the user has removed it manually)
  • macOS only: The macOS Bash system must be available together with the tools curl, defaults, sudo, echo and osascript. They are available in macOS by default.
  • The faster the processor speed, the faster the plug-in (see this comparison). The plug-in is single-threaded, so multiple cores do not speed up the processing.
  • Data Privacy: For the activation and license validation of the software some data will be stored on our servers. For more info read Data Privacy at Elbsound.studio and the EULA