How To Scan Sheet Music Into Finale with ScanScore

In this tutorial, we will show you how to scan your sheet music into Finale with our software, ScanScore.

When Finale came out with their notation editing software in 1988, musicians around the world rejoiced. Finally, there’s an easy way to compose and edit music using the computer. But there was a problem.

If you needed to get involved in the program, you had to take one step at a time. The program was missing a simple way to scan the sheet music directly and accurately into Finale’s software. Finale did have access to their own scanning system, but it was not as easy or accurate to use. 

Fast forward to today, and that’s exactly what ScanScore has done. With this easy-to-use program, you can scan and import music for final editing. Read on for how to scan music into Final using ScanScore.

Step By Step Instructions

Follow the instructions on how to scan music into the final using ScanScore. Take the time to read the steps through the beginning, and you may be amazed at how easy it is!

1) Make sure all programs are downloaded

First things first, you need to have both Finale and ScanScore installed. You can do this by going to their respective websites and installing them.

Finale is currently compatible with Mac and Windows computers. ScanScore is currently available on Windows computers, but you can download it from Google Play or the App Store.

Pro-tip: Check you have the current version of each program before beginning to avoid problems down the road. So, if you’re using the app, it needs to scan a QR code.

IMAGE ScanScore how to scan

2) Scan the score

When you open the ScanScore program, you will be given choices of how to scan the score. You can import to image file or PDF, use a scanner, or take a picture with the ScanScore app.

3) Check the notation

When it opens you’ll get a side view of the original and ScanScore’s digitized version of the part. Now, you need to check for mistakes and correct them. ScanScore’s simple point and click toolbar lets you highlight those changes instantly.

ScanScore can automatically detect many of the errors that occur. Purple and blue lines highlight places where have gotten messed up.

You can zoom in on a specific measure to look at the part. When you do, the other original and digitized copy zoom to the exact same place for easy comparison. Make sure you save the file regularly in order to avoid losing your hard work.

Pro-tip: As a final check, you should have ScanScore play the music using MIDI files. As it plays, you get a side by side tracking of both versions. This is great for the last proofing of the parts.

Image ScanScore editing the sheet music

4) Export to MusicXML

When you’re sure you’ve got what you want, go to the file menu and choose to export to a musicXML file. So you can choose where you’d like to save the file.

Pro-tip: Name the file something you’re going to remember. I recommend using the format ” piece_composer_part.” Here’s an example: “FugueGminor_JSBach_organ.”

Image ScanScore export to musicXML

5) Open with Finale

Open up your Finale program. Once it’s open, go to file and choose to import XML. Select the file (which you have marked because you followed the recommendation above) and select it to open.

Give it a few seconds as the file opens and converts into Finale’s program. It should pop up just as you left it, but now in Finale!

Congratulations! You have now scanned sheet music into Finale using ScanScore. It’s as simple as that.

Note: As an alternate method for importing the file, you can right-click the file and select “Open with …” and choose Finale. This also opens the file in Finale.

Commonly Asked Questions

Will ScanScore read any music? Basically, yes it can! However, there are different levels on ScanScore subscriptions. The “Melody” option is the most affordable, but it can only read one stave scores. This may be perfect if you’re a band director who only needs to edit or transpose one part at a time.

Another option is the “Ensemble” subscription. With this, you can scan up to 4 staves per system. This is useful for small ensembles or condensed scores work.

The premium choice is the “Professional” line. This cost the most, but it handles almost any full score. It goes all the way up to 32 staves per system which would be perfect for full scores and composers.

Do I have to edit my sheet music in the ScanScore software? Not if you do not want to. You can always choose to export it right away and then import it into Finale.

But one of the benefits of ScanScore is the side-by-side look at the original and the digital versions. You may want to read more precise but ScanScore’s side-by-side comparisons.

Can I use ScanScore as a notation editing software to replace Final? No, ScanScore is not intended to replace actual notation editing software. The editing that exists on ScanScore is only intended to make sure the markings match the original as accurately as possible. Extended features from programs like Finale are not available on ScanScore.  

Here are some of the important elements you will not find on ScanScore:

  • Layout
  • Transposition
  • Parts
  • Specific instrument playback

ScanScore is intended to make digitizing existing scores easier. Using the two programs with each other can make your editing needs simple!  


ScanScore is a revolutionary and easy way to digitize your score. If you follow the basic steps, you may be shocked at how simple it actually is. Here’s a quick look again at the steps:

  1. Download the programs
  2. Scan the sheet music
  3. Check the notation
  4. Export to musicXML
  5. Import into finals

If you have any questions, you can go to ScanScore Support. Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoy the program!

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