Overview: Perfect Layout, v2.5, macOS/Windows

Perfect Layout v2.5 includes 97 new features, improvements and fixes.
The chronological list of changes in the sub-versions 2.50-2.59 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.

We have also updated all 25 Perfect Layout videos:
Video: Three real-time demos of the Perfect Layout plug-in in action

List of Improvements (until latest version v2.59)

New features:
-Open glissandi (without end notes) on harp or other two staff groups are now incorporated in vertical staff spacing
-Gold version: Vertical lyrics alignment can now be deactivated.
-Gold: New option "Reset/Hide->Accidentals->Reveal Accidentals on Notes with False 'Tie End' Attribute". If the 'Tie End' attribute is set, then accidentals are hidden. Perfect Layout keeps the accidentals hidden unless this option is activated. In general it's not recommended to hide accidentals like this, but it may occur especially through MusicXML import.

-Improved processing speed on huge scores (> 1500 measures)
-Improved metrics of natural accidentals (for better collision detection and vertical staff spacing)
-Lyrics metrics for vertical staff spacing are now calculated more precisely.
-Improved handling of pickup measures with slash staff styles
-Improved glissandi placement when the end note has a shifted stem
-No more warning messages in the log file when loading a user-defined settings file
-Hairpins ending at a right repeat bracket are not prolonged to a dynamics in the next measure
-The horizontal repeat bracket alignment now supports the "Thin Inner Barline" option from Finale's repeat ending preferences
-Improved handling of very low note dynamics on measure position 0 if previous measure also has a very low hairpin
-Some tasks were split into smaller parts to have a more accurate progress bar.
-Cleaned up the ES Perfect Layout.log file: "Elapsed Time: 0.00" is not shown anymore; all percentage values now have the format x.xx.
-Improved detection of "General pause" expressions
-The plug-in now also checks directly after the first installation if an update already exists.
-The registration data (Name, email address, license key) is shown on the General tab.
-Improved staff spacing on staves that have lyrics only on some systems, but not on all.
-No more warning message if a font is missing on the computer, if the text expression is hidden.
-Improved detection of fully hidden measures with only coda signs on them.
-Shape expressions now stay at their position if the expression baseline has changed and the expression placement is not baseline-dependent.
-Windows: Improved font detection for some fonts where the font name is very different to the font file name
-macOS: the Terminal.app restores its original position after the Perfect Layout progress bar has been closed.
-Added two more scenarios for improved splitting of multi-measure rests on breaking (tempo) expressions assigned to the middle of a bar
-Added one scenario of moving a dynamic on a rest to the first note in that measure (if the previous measures are empty)
-When you start the plug-in for the first time, you are now asked if you want to receive the Elbsound email newsletter with information about Perfect Layout updates or product releases.
-Added one scenario of automatically moving a measure in parts to the next system on colliding wide tempo expressions between two measures
-Niente hairpins (with a niente expression) at the same ending position as a hairpin without the niente symbol are now better aligned horizontally.
-"Alignment->Shift Rehearsal Letters up on Tempo Expression Collisions from Previous Measure" now works both on tempo alteration AND tempo mark expressions
-The "Invalid Accidental or Tie" message is now only shown once for each entry (and not for each note pitch).
-Improved vertical spacing calculation on chamber scores with a piano instrument.
-Flipped stem flags on beamed groups are not removed anymore if a slur or tuplet starts from that group and ends on another beamed group with the same stem direction
-Improved detection of invisible noteheads
-Improved detection of "large" time signatures
-Improved placement of tempo expressions after large time signatures, when these expressions appear on multiple staves.
-In some cases improved placement of technique text expressions (if there is some free space to the right)
-Improved metrics of tuplets starting with beamed(!) rests when "Extend Beams Over Rests" is activated
-Improved horizontal spacing of slash staff style measures in some cases
-Improved spacing if notes on multiple layers don't have noteheads, but only stems
-When an accidental is revealed through corrected tie flags, the measure will now automatically be respaced.
-Slightly improved vertical dynamics placement centered between two (piano) staves in very narrow situations.
-The language selection names are now always in the original language.
-If the new Finale 27 SMuFl fonts were accidentally added to MacSymbolFonts.txt, then an error message is issued.
-Improved vertical staff spacing on "hidden" staves that only include smartshapes or texts, but no notes, stafflines and barlines.
-Improved handling of falsy smartshapes on 1-line staves that are assigned to the identical measure position at the end of the previous measure, but visible in the next measure.
-Improved articulation placement in some multi-voice/multi-layer scenarios where the "Freeze Stem" flag is activated
-Improved handling of fretboards in vertical staff spacing
-In some cases improved horizontal accidental alignment on chords with two or three accidentals
-In some cases improved niente placement when the hairpin starts between two notes
-Improved dynamic placement if placed on a rest in piano notation
-Slight increase in processing speed on large scores
-Increase in processing speed (especially on macOS the progress bar sometimes took very long at "General Preparations: 68%").
-In some cases improved placement of MusicXML-imported dynamics below lyrics staves
-A staff named Mallets or Chimes or using the mallets or chimes instrument type is now automatically recognized as a "laisser vibrer" instrument.
-Rest entries with rest displacement offsets beyond 100 are converted to hidden rests which also improves the rest optimization function
-Grace note slashes are not added to eighth grace notes anymore if these don't have stems
-Improved slur metrics on slurs where the start and the end note are connected to different layers and where the slur measure includes multiple layers
-In some cases improved glissando smartshapes if they end on notes with accidentals or if they span multiple systems
-Slightly improved placement of technique text expressions that are close to articulations
-Improved note entry metrics on notes where the stem has been modified to be invisible by reducing its size to nearly zero.
-Detection of "Fake Multi-Voice Scenarios" where multiple note entry layers are used, but no overlapping notes occur, because of hidden entries. If detected, then the articulation placement will be corrected as though it were be no multi-voice/layer setup.
-Measure numbers at start of system below staff on the top staff in a full orchestra score (not recommended) are not moved above staff anymore if "Extra Offset for Curved Group Brackets" is activated.
-Added new fonts to the list of known music fonts (GrooveMM,TheCopyistMM,RhapsodyMM)
-Tempo/rehearsal expressions are not moved anymore above measure numbers that are far above the staff.
-If the top staff of a system in multi-staff score is empty and the second one isn't, then it will get an improved vertical distance in some cases (slightly larger than before).
-Dynamics between connected hairpins on whole notes on beat 4 (from 4) are not shifted to the very end of the measure anymore
-Expressions that are visible above "two staff groups" (e.g. piano), but are assigned to bottom staff, are now re-assigned to the top staff
-macOS: Installer issues a warning message for the Japanese version of Finale 26/27 if it uses the Katakana plug-in folder name which has to be renamed for JW Lua.
-Improved vertical staff spacing on staves with hidden (cue) notes with lyrics
-Improved dynamics placement on very low notes if the previous note was a stem-down grace note below the staff.
-Improved vertical staff spacing if a staff in a system is nearly empty and has no elements below the bottom staff line
-Improved hairpin/dynamics placement if the start-/endpoints of the hairpin are connected to the same measure position (one more scenario to the known scenarios added)
-macOS: Node.js updated to v14.16.1 (same version as on Windows).
-If the measure number at start of system distance is set to "Keep as it is", then the "Extra Offset For Curved Group Brackets" is now automatically calculated according to the actual measure number position (and not a fixed vertical offset anymore).
-Improved French, Polish, Spanish translation and Spanish user dialog
-Improved PDF manual
-More preview images
-Improved algorithm for detecting empty staves if not all staff attributes are set to "Hidden"

-When cue lyrics were hidden through a staff style in the score, then in some cases they would still be included in the vertical staff layout optimization. Fixed now.
-If a dynamic was attached twice to the identical position (once to "All Layers", once to a hidden layer), then in rare cases Perfect Layout would take these two dynamics as one dynamic and keep only the hidden dynamic. Fixed now.
-When FORCEINCLUDE was added to a large text expression, in one case it was still not included in the vertical staff spacing. Fixed now.
-The options "Alignment->Exclude Rehearsal and Tempo Marks in User-Defined Categories from Alignment" and ""Alignment->Shift Rehearsal Letters up on Tempo Expression Collisions from Previous Measure" were accidentally disabled when the "Align Rehearsal and Tempo Marks Vertical" algorithm changed. Fixed now.
-"Fake" pickup measures were not detected correctly (i.e. measures that use a different time-signature for display instead of Finale's own pickup tool) if the time signature was hidden on the staff in measure 1. Fixed now.
-Silver version only: The two values from "Tuplets->On 8th Notes..." were not correctly loaded when "clicking on Load: Last Saved Settings". Fixed now.
-In some cases enclosed measure numbers at system start where slightly moved to the right in the score. Fixed now.
-MacOS only: French and Spanish didn't appear in the language selection menu. Fixed now.
-When shape expressions are used as multi-measure rest breaking expressions at the end of a multi-measure rest, then in some cases an error message could occur. Fixed now.
-In rare cases an error message could occur on dynamics in measures without notes. Fixed now.
-Silver/Silver400 version: When loading the settings from a user-defined file, an error message could occur.
-When the music font of the line character of a glissando smart shape was not installed and the font was not used anywhere else in the Finale document, an error message could appear. Fixed now.
-On extracted parts in rare cases the last system was moved to an extra page (instead of staying on the last page), because of a rounding error. Fixed now.
-The staff spacing sometimes didn't work if one staff had multiple verses and required a very wide distance to the staff below. Fixed now.
-In some cases hidden playback-only staves that were neither used in the score nor in the parts influenced the layout. Fixed now.
-In very rare cases an articulation with tie collision with a minor overlap of about 1-2 EVPU was not detected because of a rounding error. Fixed now.
-The arpeggio symbol 0xf700 in the new Finale SMuFl fonts is now detected correctly
-In very rare cases the dedicated cue lyrics layer was detected falsely. Fixed now.
-If the time signature "Space After" or "Space Before" value is different for score and parts in Finale's document options, Perfect Layout will now use the "parts" value in parts (and not the score value anymore).

System requirements:

  • Perfect Layout v3: Finale® 2014, 2014.5, v25, v26, v27 for 64bit Windows 10, 11 or MacOS 10.13+ - 12.x (tested until 12.6).
    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 give system permission 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.
  • Windows only: Powershell must be installed (it is installed by default on Windows unless the user has removed it manually)
  • 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