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Basic Last updated: July 22, 2019

5 FAQ: Does Finale 3D have feature XYZ?

Here are some frequently asked questions about Finale 3D features.

Table 1 – Frequently asked questions

Hi Brad,

Question Answer
Can Finale 3D export to any firing system Yes, both Finale 3D Pro and Hobbyist export to all major firing systems, about 30 in total, in addition to generic CSV and Excel formats for do-it-yourself firing systems
Does Finale 3D have an inventory of stage effects? Yes, Finale 3D includes several thousand example close-prox effects, including gerbs, comets, mines, flames, laser comets, photoflash, strobepots, and many others.  You can also import or create your own effects.
How is the library of effects made? You can import your own inventory list of effects if you have it in a CSV or MDB file. Finale 3D creates simulations automatically based on the names of your effects and based on other optional specifications you may have in your inventory file, such as height, duration, etc. (details here) Finale 3D understands effect names written in a number of languages (supported languages). If you want to customize effect simulations, you can adjust the descriptions or use the effect editor to fine tune the graphics. Finale 3D also includes simulation catalogs from a dozen major suppliers.
Does Finale 3D come with effect simulations from actual suppliers? Yes, Finale 3D includes a number of supplier catalogs, which you can select from These catalogs are managed and maintained electronically by the fireworks suppliers themselves, so they can be up-to-date with the supplier’s latest fireworks. If you represent a supplier and you are interested in adding your catalog to Finale 3D, please review the documentation here and contact
Does Finale 3D have sims for SFX like cryo jets, flame, confetti, and lasers? Currently (June 2019) Finale 3D has excellent simulations for flame projectors and fireballs, but does not yet have simulations for other special effects. Finale 3D does export DMX output scripts for the firing systems that support DMX, so you can create placeholder simulations like mines or gerbs to represent other special effects as a workaround until Finale 3D adds these other simulation types.
Is there a demo version of the software? Yes, you can create an account from, download the software from, and run the software in free-trial mode. In free trial mode, the software does not save or export firing system scripts or reports.
Are there adjustable parameters for prefire, duration, height, etc? Yes, you can change parameters like prefire, height and duration simply by editing the numbers in the inventory table. The simulations automatically adjust. You can also adjust simulations by adding adjectives to the VDL description, like “Very Big” or “Slightly Dense” (see VDL effect adjustment terms)
Can the software import 3D models?  What about background pictures? The Finale 3D Pro version (but not the Hobbyist version) can import 3D models in the Sketchup format (.skp) directly. Simply download models from the vast, free library at, or create your own in Sketchup, or convert your models from another format into the Sketchup format. Finale 3D will support importing background images starting in Q3 2019.
Do I need to have internet access to use the program? No, once you download and login to the program once, you can uncheck the “Sync to network” checkbox on the login dialog and login offline for the next 30 days. After 30 days pass, you need to login with the network again to refresh your login credentials. All the functionality of the program is available when logged in offline except for receiving or making updates to inventories that are saved in the cloud. You can store inventories on your local file system, which makes online access completely optional.
If I modify effects for the specific purpose of a simulation video, will my changes be saved forever? You can store your personal inventories of effects in the ‘My Effects’ network storage, or in database files on your local file system, or in your Finale Inventory account if you subscribe to the inventory management service from The supplier catalog inventories are read-only, though you can copy effects from them into your own inventories.  You can modify effects in any of your personal inventory locations.  You can also modify effects and choose not to save the modifications at all.
Will Finale ever have a version for $99/year or $149/year, for hobbyists who shoot 1 or 2 shows a year? No, $349/year is Finale’s break even cost, taking into consideration support.  The price may seem like a lot to hobbyists who shoot 1 or 2 shows a year, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that hobbyists require the same amount of support as pros, sometimes more. On the plus side, the Hobbyist version is like a Ferrari, with an incredible number of professional level features. So even if you only drive your Ferrari twice a year, it’s a really fun ride!
I can add racks but I have no idea how to get the shells to go in them? There’s pretty good documentation here but the reason it is throwing you is that the paradigm is different from Finale Business. With Finale 3D, you script your show, then you do “Racks > Add racks for show”, THEN you do “Addressing > Address show…” That last step will assign each effect both to a firing system pin and also to a rack tube. After doing that, if you want to edit the assignments, go to the “Layout” window and click the little “edit pins” link in the bottom left. Then you can drag and drop pins between racks.