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Inventory management and importing effectsDocumentation

AdvancedLast updated: December 22, 2021

4 Importing supplier catalog into Finale 3D

The supplier effect catalogs in Finale 3D are hosted by independent Finale Inventory accounts managed by the suppliers themselves. In most cases the best starting point to prepare a catalog is to create a list of products using a spreadsheet application like Excel. The effect list is then imported into Finale 3D to tune and preview simulations and make any remaining adjustments. When ready for publishing the catalog can be uploaded directly from Finale 3D to Finale Inventory. Ongoing catalog maintenance such as updating simulations or effect specifications, adding or removing effects, and changing prices (if the catalog includes prices) can be performed in either Finale 3D or Finale Inventory.

Detailed steps to create/import supplier catalog:

  1. Prepare the effects file for import. The first step is to create a list of your products using data from your price list, inventory system, or other internal data source. At minimum the list must include columns for the description and unique part number for each item. However, it is best to include additional information such as the category and subtype for each item to allow the catalog to be easily searched and filtered in Finale 3D. Table 1 below contains a full list of columns that can be imported into Finale 3D. Table 2 at the bottom of this page contains a downloadable Excel template. Finale 3D supports importing files in the TXT or CSV formats with comma or tab delimiters, encoded as ASCII, UTF-8, or UTF-16; but the “Unicode Text (*.txt)” option from Excel is the most reliable.
  2. Import the effects file. Launch Finale 3D. Do “File > Import > Import effects file… > Create new effects file with imported effects…”Finale 3D will examine the file and present a dialog telling you how many products it contains, and indicating what column headers were mis-labelled. You also will have the option to select the units of measure for duration and prefire explicitly, or leave Finale 3D to guess based on the values (it usually guesses correctly). Click okay to import the file.
  3. Save the effects file. Once your effects have are successfully imported, go to “File > Effect files > Save (fdb format)” to save the imported file locally on your computer in Finale 3D’s effect database file format (FDB). In the future, you can open the FDB file from by going to “File > Effect files > Load effects file (fdb)…”. There is no need to re-import your original data.
  4. Create and tune simulations.Finale 3D will use information in the imported effects file to automatically create simulations. You can preview simulations using your cursor by hovering over the small white bar at the top of an effect icon in the Effects window. You can edit the Visual Descriptive Language (VDL) for an effect by right clicking on the effect row and selecting “Edit this effect simulation”. For more information on creating or editing effects see “Effects basic instructions”, and “VDL Documentation”.
  5. Setup Finale Inventory. A Finale Inventory account is necessary to host your supplier catalog and share it with the world. A Finale Inventory account is a separate account from your Finale 3D account. During the catalog setup process you will receive an email from a member of the Finale team with a link and instructions to setup your Finale Inventory account. Once complete, you can link your Finale Inventory account with Finale 3D by logging in to, then going to “My Account > Connect to Finale Inventory”. Here you can input your Finale Inventory credentials under the Finale Inventory Admin Credentials section. On the same page, you can give other team members editing access to your supplier catalog by adding them in the Finale Inventory User Assignments – this should only be used to share with administrators who need to contribute, edit, or modify your catalog.
  6. Sync effects with Finale Inventory. Launch Finale 3D. Using the blue selector in the Effects window, select your catalog by finding the collection of effects that begins with “catalog” – at this point your catalog is typically empty. To add effects to your catalog use the blue selector to load and display the effects file that you created in Step 4. To copy all effects from your local file to your catalog press Ctrl+A on your keyboard, then press Ctrl+C to copy. Using the blue selector, switch to your effects catalog and press Ctrl+V to paste the effects. Finally, use the blue selector option Sync with network to upload your effects to Finale Inventory.
  7. Publish the catalog. This step must be performed by a member of the Finale team. When your catalog is ready, reach out to your main contact at Finale to have it published for all Finale 3D users to see. Users can individually subscribe to your catalog by logging into and going to “My Account > Supplier Catalogs Settings”. By subscribing, a user has full viewing access but cannot make changes to your catalog.
  8. Keep the catalog up-to-date. Over time it may be necessary to make periodic updates and changes to your catalog. Examples include adding new items, removing/hiding discontinued items, refining simulations, or updating pricing. Small-scale updates are best performed in Finale 3D while mass updates may be most efficiently accomplished using Finale Inventory.


Table 1 – Full list of columns that can be imported

Finale 3D English nameFinale 3D internal column nameFinale Inventory nameExplanation
Part NumberpartNumberProduct IDREQUIRED. The unique identifier for the effect, like DOM10001 or LD3CK253. This field is called the “Product ID” in Finale Inventory. If you are creating new part numbers and are open to formatting suggestions, the best practices we recommend are: 1) all upper-case, 2) A-Z letters and digits only, 3) no spaces or special characters other than dash or underscore, 4) not longer than 16 characters, and 5) begin with two or three unique characters that identify the company, to avoid conflicts with other companies. If you already have part numbers, though, you should use your existing part numbers as is, to make it easy for users to order from you based on their scripts.
DescriptiondescriptionDescriptionREQUIRED. The proper name of the effect as it appears in in the printed catalog, like “Galactic Gladiator” or “30mm Red Peony 75m” or “Bomba Roja Con Aro Azul” or “Синяя в красную хризантему”. Since you are importing VDL for the simulation, the description can be anything.
TypepartTypeChoreography TabRECOMMENDED. In Finale 3D, one of these predefined English terms (exactly): shell, comet, mine, cake, candle, other_effect, single_shot, ground, rocket, flame, not_an_effect, rack, sfx, or light. The Type field is important, because a number of the application functions behave differently depending on the Type. Please see Why is ‘Type’ so important? for an explanation of why this field is so important. Please note that these values are slightly different from the corresponding values in Finale Inventory. When importing, use the terms that correspond to the system you are importing into. In Finale Inventory, the predefined English terms (exactly): Shells, Comets, Mines, Cakes, Candles, Other, Single Shot, Ground, Rocket, Flame, Not An Effect, Rack, Sfx, and Light. When Finale 3D connects to Finale Inventory, it translates these values to the values you see in 3D. “
SizesizeCaliberRECOMMENDED. The caliber of the effect, in inches or millimeters, e.g., 3” or 75mm. This field determines the size of the visual simulation. If the Size column is not present in the imported file or if the field is blank, Finale 3D will extract the size from the Description field, if present.
PrefireinternalDelayPrefire TimeRECOMMENDED. The lift time, for shells, or the lift time of the first effect of a cake if it is a shell. As of February 28, 2020, the Prefire time should incorporate the fuse delay. Prefires < 0.5s will delay the simulation and will not affect the lift time of aerial shells. Prefires >= 0.5s will not delay the simulation and will determine the lift time of aerial shells. If the column or field is not present in the imported file, Finale 3D will calculate a good default value based on the size and description. The terms LFT and DLY can be incorporated into the VDL description of an item to override the lift time or delay before first launch implied by the prefire.
DurationdurationDurationRECOMMENDED. The lifetime of the stars, for aerial shells, or the duration of the continuous effect for gerbs or flares, or the duration from first launch to last break for cakes. This field applies to the visual simulation. If the column or field is not present in the imported file, Finale 3D will calculate a good default value based on the size and description.
Height MetersheightEffect HeightRECOMMENDED. The height in meters of the trajectory apex of an aerial shell, or of the spark plume for fountains and gerbs. This field determines the height of the visual simulation. In Finale 3D, this field is always meters. If the column or field is not present in the imported file, Finale 3D will calculate a good default value based on the size and description. In Finale Inventory, you can set the Distance Unit Of Measure to feet if you want, which applies to all distances including height and safety distance. Finale 3D will convert between feet and meters automatically if necessary when it connects to Finale Inventory, but we recommend you use meters, for simplicity.
VDLvdlVDL DescriptionOPTIONAL. The description of the effect in standard pyrotechnics terminology (Visual Description Language). If the column or field is not present in the imported file, Finale 3D will calculate a good default value based on the description. This field defines the visual simulation of the effect, along with a few other specifications like Size, Height Meters, and Duration.
Manufacturer Part NumbermanufacturerPartNumberMfg Product IdRECOMMENDED. The manufacturer or supplier part number (i.e., your part number!). Please copy the Product ID values into this column so the two columns are identical. End-users may copy/paste parts of your supplier catalog into their own inventories, and assign their own part numbers in the primary part number field.
ManufacturermanufacturerManufacturerRECOMMENDED. This is the name of the manufacturer or supplier. If you are the manufacturer, this is you!
PricestdPriceItem PriceOPTIONAL. The price of the item. Finale 3D will display the price of a show based on these values. The import operation will import whatever value you provide AS IS. For chains, you can decide whether the price means the price of the full chain or whether it means the price per device (i.e., per shell). From within the Finale 3D application, the user can select “File > User settings > Interpret chain prices as per-shell” to make the prices and price summaries display correctly for either meaning.
NotespartNotesNotesOPTIONAL. A user-defined field for the user’s convenience.
EX NumberexNumberEX NumberOPTIONAL. A field that is useful to include for US users. This field can contain single EX numbers or a comma separated list, like 2008040132, 2004110899. As of Jan 17, 2020, this field is synchronized from Finale Inventory to Finale 3D but not in the other direction.
CE NumberceNumberCE NumberOPTIONAL. A field that is useful to include for European users. As of Jan 17, 2020, this field is synchronized from Finale Inventory to Finale 3D but not in the other direction.
UN NumberunNumberHazardous MaterialOPTIONAL. A field that is useful to include for all users. This number must be in the format: UNXXXX, where XXXX is a four digit number like 0336 or 0337. Example: UN0337. As of Jan 17, 2020, this field is synchronized from Finale Inventory to Finale 3D but not in the other direction.
Delay DefaultfuseDelayFuse DelayDEPRECATED. An extra delay between the firing system ignition and the first launch that is copied by value (hence the the name “Delay Default“) into the Delay field of a script row when it is inserted in the script. As of February 28, 2020, use of this field is deprecated. Fuse delay should be incorporated into the Prefire time. Prefires < 0.5s will delay the simulation and will not affect the lift time of aerial shells. Prefires >= 0.5s will not delay the simulation and will determine the lift time of aerial shells.
DevicesnumDevicesChain Number Of DevicesOPTIONAL. The number of devices in the chain, or 1 if the item is not a chain.
SubtypesubtypeEffect Sub TypeOPTIONAL. A supplier-defined category, such as 500g Cakes, or Special Shells.
DMX PatchdmxPatchDMX PatchOPTIONAL. A program that defines the DMX signals corresponding to the effect.
Hazard DefaultlockoutDefaultHazard DefaultOPTIONAL. A default value for the hazard class or caliber group that show operators may use to selectively prevent effects from firing based on real time conditions. Suppliers should generally leave this field blank.
Custom Part FieldcustomPartFieldCustom Part FieldOPTIONAL. A user-defined field for the user’s convenience.
ColorcolorEffect ColorOPTIONAL. A single color, which user can use as a search term. It may contain spaces but not commas. If the effect has multiple colors, this field should contain the most prominent single color that the user is likely to search for.
TubesnumTubesRack TubesOPTIONAL. For racks, the number of tubes in the rack. Leave blank for anything other than racks.
Rack Type DefaultrackTypeRack Type DefaultOPTIONAL. A field that the user an employ to set matching conditions between racks and effects. Suppliers should leave this field blank.
UsedusedNot applicable.
QuotaquotaNot applicable.
On HandqohNot applicable.
AvailableavailableNot applicable.
Storage LocationstdLocationStd Bin IDNot applicable.
CategorycategoryCategoryOPTIONAL. A user-defined field for the user’s convenience in searching or filtering the rows in the effect window. Unlike the Type field, the category can be anything the user wants. This field is has an exact counterpart in Finale Inventory, by the same name, and is used for stock reports and and DSMT reports for stock management. However, in Finale Inventory the field can only contain specific, pre-defined enumerated values. As of Jan 17, 2020, this field is synchronized from Finale Inventory to Finale 3D but not in the other direction.
CoststdCostStd accounting costOPTIONAL. A user-defined field for the user’s convenience.
Safety Distance MeterssafetyDistanceSafety DistanceOPTIONAL. The safety distance for the item, in meters.
Remaining QuotaremainingQuotaNot applicable.
Remaining On HandremainingQohNot applicable.
Remaining AvailableremainingAvailableNot applicable.
WeightweightWeight per unitOPTIONAL. The weight of one device (shell, cake, etc.). If you are synching to Finale Inventory, whatever units you use in Finale Inventory apply (grams, kilograms, etc.). The “Basic Product List” report and other similar reports in Finale 3D will show the total weight for all items in the show.
NEQneqNEQ per unitOPTIONAL. The net explosive quantity of one device (shell, cake, etc.). The “Basic Product List” report and other similar reports in Finale 3D will show the total NEQ for all items in the show.

Table 2 – Template files

Download linkExplanation
import_inventory_to_finale_3d_template.xlsxTemplate for importing into 3D (Excel)
import_inventory_to_finale_inventory_template.xlsxTemplate for importing into Finale Inventory web interface (Excel)