Software Documentation

Software Documentation

Initial SetupDocumentation

Basic Last updated: November 20, 2023

2 Features FAQ

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


Table 1 – Frequently asked questions

Question Answer
Can Finale 3D export to any firing system Yes, all versions of Finale 3D (Lite, Hobbyist and Pro) 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 proximity pyrotechnics, including gerbs, comets, mines, flames, laser comets, photoflash, strobe pots, 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 selection of supplier catalogs, which you can enable 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 Finale 3D has simulations for flames and lights 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! To get started, go to to download Finale, then install the software on your computer and create an account. This will allow you to run Finale 3D in demo mode, which includes all the features of the Lite version with saving and exporting disabled.
Are there adjustable parameters for prefire, duration, height, etc.? Yes, you can change parameters like prefire, height and duration simply by editing the fields in the effect window. 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? Yes, all versions of Finale 3D support not only 2D billboard-style “backdrop” images, but also wrapped sky dome images and ground images. The Pro version also supports 3D models in two formats: SketchUp (SKP) and the Graphics Library Transmission Format or glTF (GLB). You create your own models using a 3D modeling application, or can download free SketchUp models from 3D Warehouse ( and GLB models from
Do I need to have internet access to use the program? No, once you download and login to the Finale 3D once, you can check “Login offline” to use Finale 3D without an internet connection for the next 14 days. After 14 days pass, you will need to login online again to refresh your login credentials. All Finale 3D functionality is available when logged in offline except for receiving or making updates to inventories that are saved in the cloud. That being said, you can store inventories on your local hard drive, 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 effects in ‘My Effects’, which is your personal online collection, or in an offline (.fdb) effect file on your local hard drive, 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.
I have added racks to my show, but they are empty, how do I load them? See Rack layout basic instructions. In 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, you can do so in the script window or go to Window > Racks window and select the little “Drag & drop pins” in the upper left. This allows you to drag and drop pins between racks.
How do I share a module between multiple positions? Finale 3D Hobbyist and Pro both have the ability to control what positions modules and slats are allowed to be shared among, so you have precise control of whether you want to use scab wire between positions or not. There are a lot of good documentation articles on this subject, including Using piggyback slats and Addressing with sorts and constraints and Sharing modules and Addressing basics.
What reports and labels are available in Finale 3D? The Pro version includes a robust set of pre-built report and labels templates. Templates are also extensively customizable in the Pro version. The Hobbyist version includes the same set of built-in report and label template as Pro, but template are not customizable in Hobbyist. The Pro and Hobbyist versions also allow you to export reports in both PDF and XLSX formats. The Lite version includes a basic set of built-in reports that can be exported as PDFs. For a complete list of templates in each version, check out the complete Feature Comparison.
Can you replicate what a scene will look like dependent on wind? Yes, go to “File > Render settings…” and you can specify the wind speed and direction for the simulation.