Converting printed music to a live, editable score starts either with a scan that you convert through optical character recognition or with the sometimes-laborious process of entering notes in a fresh sheet music document. Finale PrintMusic includes built-in access to SmartScore Lite, an introductory version of the company's OCR program for digitizing musical notation. Be sure to verify the copyright status of music before you scan it, restricting your use to your own works and those you have the right to use, either because they exist in the public domain or because you received authorization from the composer or rights holder.

Step 1

Power up your scanner and wait for it to warm up. If it includes a transparency adapter, verify that it will default to reflective scanning from below the original document rather than the transmissive light source built in to the scanner lid.

Step 2

Set your document on the scanning bed, aligning it squarely with the device's guide strips. Use a cleanly printed original with 16 or fewer staves.

Step 3

Open the PrintMusic "File" menu, choose the "Import" submenu and select "SmartScore Lite Scan." If the SmartScore Lite dialog box opens without a preview, click on the "Preview" button to prescan your document.

Step 4

Configure your scanner in the SmartScore Lite dialog box. Use the Automatic settings to let SmartScore Lite determine resolution and cropping based on its built-in algorithms. To override these settings, adjust the Resolution slider to the desired pixels-per-inch value. Set the Brightness slider to compensate for tinted paper, faded originals or background tone. Click on the "Deskew" button to adjust the alignment of staves or paper if either appears crooked in the preview image. If you see an inverted preview -- white staves on a black background -- click on the "Invert" button to correct the way the document will scan.

Step 5

Click on the "Final Scan" button to acquire a single page. If your score spans more than one sheet, click on the "Next Page" button when the dialog box asks if your document includes additional pages. If it covers only one page, or you've reached the last scan in the series, click on the "Finish" button instead.

Step 6

Click on the "Begin Recognition" button to open the Instrument Name Assignments dialog box. Indicate transpositions of parts and assign an instrument for each staff, along with an abbreviation for its name and a General MIDI instrument to use in PrintMusic's score playback. Click on the "OK" button to complete the file translation.

Step 7

Save your PrintMusic document before you edit it. Proofread the results, correcting key signatures, slurs and note inaccuracies.