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Finale Notepad – No Longer Free

So I found out that Finale Music will no longer be providing its basic NotePad product for free beginning with its 2009 version.  Here is what the company says on its website:

September 4, 2008
Dear Finale NotePad user,
We’re writing today to share some exciting news surrounding the upcoming release of Finale NotePad®.
When it was first released in 2000, the initial idea behind NotePad was that it would work like an “Adobe Reader” for music notation, letting anyone open, play, and print any Finale file. Since then more than four million educators, students, and other musicians have downloaded and made excellent use of Finale NotePad.
In the intervening years NotePad’s feature set has been greatly expanded. Recent additions include guitar and bass tablature, MIDI file import/export, step‐time entry, and MIDI playback. Even so, we continue to receive requests for additional functionality, and this year NotePad has reached a crossroads.
In the next few weeks we plan to release Finale NotePad 2009 with even more features, including an all new Expression Tool and the ability to import/export MusicXML files. It will continue to include free online support. At the same time we will begin charging $9.95 for the NotePad 2009 download.
Then, within the month, we will also release our Finale Reader™. The Finale Reader will be able to open, play, and print (but not edit) any Finale family file – as well as MusicXML files – and it will be a free download.
Please note that with the release of the Finale Reader, we will no longer offer previous versions of NotePad from our site. Keep in mind that among the many advantages in NotePad 2009 is its ability to import/export MusicXML files: this means that it can save files that can be opened in earlier versions of Finale.
We hope you agree that these changes represent an excellent balance between free reader software and low‐cost notation creation software.
Best wishes in your music making,
John Paulson and Ron Raup
MakeMusic, Inc.

So get it while you can…


  1. David Bolton says:

    There are other free alternatives. MuseScore which already has support for MusicXML and expressions, plus support for multiple lyric stanzas. See my post here for more info:

  2. Renz says:

    Can’t believe I missed this and thank you very much David… I see that you’re the lead on the MuseScore development and I’ll definitely be posting directly in my blog with a link to it…

  3. […] week I wrote about the demise of the free version of Finale NotePad and advising readers to pick up the free 2008 version before it’s too late. I received a […]

  4. Sam says:

    i need another alternative. anyone know of another music making software that’s free? something similar to finale please.

  5. Sam says:

    btw david bolton, how do you make notes on muse score?

  6. Sam says:

    muse score only lets me use one instrument at a time. is this normal?

  7. Mike says:

    The thing with muse score is that it is not Mac compatible and is annoying.

    1. Renz says:

      Thanks Amrit… good to know! The link worked for me… if you have a FinaleMusic account (and you can get one for free) it looks like you can still download Finale Notepad 2008 (at least for now)… BUT you need to use Amrit’s link (with the download ID for file 392) because you can’t download Notepad 2008 from the Products tab…

  8. Amrit lohia says:

    if you keep incrementing (adding 1) to the download id, you will find even more downloads that makemusic is desperately trying to hide.

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