Overview: Perfect Layout, v2.4, macOS/Windows

Perfect Layout v2.4 includes 73 new features, improvements and fixes and makes Perfect Layout compatible with the new Finale 27 SMuFl fonts.
The chronological list of changes in the sub-versions 2.40-2.49 is available here.
v2.x 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 latest version v2.49)

New features:
-Gold: New option added to the Alignment tab: "Move Rehearsal and Tempo Expressions in Piano Staves from Between Staves to Above Group". If expressions in these categories were assigned below the top staff although the category default alignment is "Above Staff", then these expressions will be moved to above the staff. This feature had already been in before, but can now be deactivated in the Gold version.
-New option on the "Reset/Hide" tab: "Make Nearly Horizontal Custom Lines Horizontal". This feature had been implemented and active before. Now it's also possible to deactivate it.
-Finale 27 support: the new Finale SMuFl fonts are supported by Perfect Layout
-Gold: New option "Show Measure Counting Also on Staves with Chords" (deactivated by default and thus not available in Silver). If you want to have measure counting also on chord symbols (e.g. each chord symbol change starts a new repeat counter, if one-bar or slash staff style notation is applied), you now have to activate this option. In previous versions measure counting was always present on chord symbols.
-Accidental placement on chords with seconds is horizontally improved - though not in all cases yet:

-The algorithm for deciding the staff distance on "Always Hide Empty Staves in Parts" has been improved.
-Improved metrics on chord symbols over one-bar or slash staff style measures with hidden notes.
-Improved detection of custom lines connected with expressions. (Though not recommended: if possible use custom lines with text instead of connecting expressions with lines).
-Improved measure counting algorithm when using one-bar repeats on chord changes directly after a double barline.
-macOS: the internal update download uses a slightly different command which might increase the download speed on some macOS versions
-Improved tuplet metrics mainly on tuplets with starting or ending with a rest
-Improved metrics on enclosures with large negative height and width values. It's still not recommended to use large negative enclosure distance values as they do not always produce the correct metrics. Usually it's possible to get the same enclosure look with positive values. So please use these if possible.
-Spanish is now automatically activated on Spanish operating systems.
-macOS: Installer stability improved
-Better detection of "Number" expressions and their usage (e.g. fingering, fret/string numbers, measure numbers, rehearsal numbers etc.).
-The warning message "Recommended font ... not installed" is not shown anymore in the log file as it is not relevant to Perfect Layout, but only to other Elbsound plug-ins.
-The algorithm for deciding the staff distance on "Always Hide Empty Staves in Parts" has been improved.
-The staff name "Hits" is now recognized as a percussion instrument.
-The "single arpeggio symbol" from slot 0xe15b in the Elbsound "FIN"-fonts is now recognized as a standard arpeggio symbol.
-Improved automatic vertical staff spacing settings for vocal+piano scores
-If the chord font is not installed on the computer and a measure includes an invalid chord flag, then the plug-in won't cancel anymore.
-Improved slur metrics on "Extra Long Span" slurs
-Tuplet brackets are not added "to note side" on extreme notes anymore if an adjacent tuplet has slurs and thus wouldn't get tuplet brackets on the note side
-Improved dynamic expression baseline settings on jazz fonts
-Improved lyrics metrics on 1-line staves
-Articulations on grace notes within tuplets don't influence the creation of a tuplet bracket anymore.
-Improved system/staff balancing if the page height is much larger than the system size
-Expressions colliding with measure-centered measure numbers below staff are not moved beyond the measure numbers anymore
-Trill custom lines with long texts fields (up to 14 letters) are now correctly recognized. In previous version the limit was 9 letters. Usually 8 letter should be sufficient for long texts like "tr 1/2". Try to avoid to unnecessary spaces or a complex layout of these symbols.
-Improved horizontal placement on multiple accidentals if the accidental font has a right margin (e.g. Opus Std)
-Windows: On slow internet connections better detection of available plug-in updates.
-If a rehearsal letter plus two rehearsal/tempo texts were attached to the same measure position, in some cases the rehearsal texts now get an improved horizontal position.
-Measure number placement below tablature staves with 6 lines
-Empty measures followed by invisible measures are not merged into one large multi-measure rest, but now only the empty measures are taken into account.
-Added more music fonts to the list of known music fonts
-The German version of Finale uses different default folders than all other international versions. Unfortunately JW Lua can't access the configuration files settings, so it's always a little guess if it's the correct folder. The detection algorithm has been made more stable now. As users have reports German Finale installations where both the original folder "Configuration Files" and the German Folder "Konfigurationsdateien" have been present, make sure to check this and delete unnecessary configuration files folders. Otherwise Perfect Layout's font engine might not work correctly as it depends on the MacSymbolFonts.txt file.
-The fonts Bach, Kodaly and Bach4JP are now set to be non-MacSymbolFonts.txt fonts. On Windows this didn't make a difference, but on macOS Finale seems to have weird problems with these fonts in MacSymbolFonts.txt mode.
-Improved glissandi positioning when using the "Solid Line" tool instead of the Tab Slide or Glissando tool
-Improved spacing of lyrics on slash staff style measures with hidden notes
-In some cases improved vertical placement of very wide rehearsal/tempo marks that span multiple measures
-Improved vertical alignment between two piano staves if an expressive text is visually connected with a dynamic expression
-Scores with lots of pages (typically more than 50) are drastically improved in processing speed (up to 100%).
-Improved Spanish translation
-Better distance of lyrics under 1-line slash staff style notation
-Improved placement of some hairpins before low notes with articulations below
-Finale 27 support: time signature glyphs are now taken from the unicode block in SMuFl documents
-Finale 27 support: the macOS progress bar now displays Fin27 instead of Fin26.
-Improved spacing of lyrics on slash staff style measures with hidden notes
-Improved PDF manual

-MacOS: the 5-staff line symbol didn't show up correctly, if the Kodaly font was added to MacSymbolFonts.txt. Fixed now.
-When a measure number region was used with "Use Score Settings in Linked Parts" and an enclosure activated, then in some cases the enclosures disappeared in the parts or the enclosures in the parts changed their shape. Fixed now.
-If a measure accidentally includes a tuplet with a duration wider than the measure duration, then rest optimization in the tuplet will not be performed anyore.
-When "Always Hide Empty Staves in Parts" was activated and a part included a piano two staff group plus other staves on top, then in some cases Perfect Layout would hide empty staves and change the staff distances although it was a piano group which should be left unchanged through the "Always Hide..." option. Fixed now.
-In a rare case an expression on a hidden staff could cause an error message. Fixed now.
-When using linked parts with "Specify Voicing" settings and grace notes, in some cases this could influence the spacing in the score and lead to note/accidental collisions in the score. Fixed now.
-In rare cases hairpins on two staff groups (piano, harp) were moved above the staff.
-If "Optimize Staff/System Distances" was deactivated, then in dynamics on piano staves were sometimes not correctly centered (when the score uses lots of hidden staves).
-On scores with lots of hidden staves (probably more than 30) in rare cases the vertical score balancing lead to a vanishing of the "Distance Between Systems Space" above of the top system of a page.
-If a multi-movement piano score includes an identical part with a different system layout, page texts with movement names assigned to pages could occur on the wrong place in the score. Fixed now. However it is very much recommended to not use page texts assigned to pages for movement names, but texts assigned to measures to avoid this confusion when parts are used.
-On complex trills constructed through custom smart lines and many "baselines" changes in text area in some cases the trill line was still vertically placed with collisions. Fixed now.
-In very rare cases an error message could occur when using expressions with non-existing symbols from a music font.
-When a grace note was attached to voice 2 to instead of the voice 1 note directly (don't do that as there is absolutely no reason for it), in some cases the metrics from a tie above the staff were calculated wrong which could lead to tempo marks colliding with the tie.
-MacOS: Internal update made more stable. The error message 9 and 12 should usually not occur anymore.
-When using a translation of Perfect Layout (and not the English original) a certain "Font missing" error message would sometimes show weird symbols. Fixed now.
-When the accidental font was different than any other used music font in that document, an error message could occur. Fixed now.
-On very badly formatted MusicXML documents an error message could occur (The document where this happened used multiple expressions (!) for each chord (each letter one expression) and some of them were also assigned to the wrong staff and different measure positions - probably the result from an OCR software). Fixed now.
-The automatic plug-in updater on Windows sometimes left a new folder inside the Finale plug-in folder. Fixed now.
-In very rare cases an error message could occur on hidden hairpins below ties. Fixed now.
-In very rare cases a staff overlap could occur on colliding note with accidentals. Fixed now.
-In rare cases (if the measure in the staff below has word extension smart shapes) a hairpin with a tie/slur collision was not corrected. Fixed now
-In rare cases there could be an error message on MusicXML imported documents using one of Finale's hide notes staff style when exporting the document to MusicXML
-Correct measure number placement in first measure if "Measure Number at Start of Staff System" is set to alignment "Center" and "Every 1 measure measures beginning with measure 1" is activated too.

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