How To Make Concert Programs The Right Way


By: David MacDonald

In: Arts Admin, Guest Authors, Productivity

If you’ve been in a position of having to create a concert program, or have them emailed from colleagues and collaborators, you know there are lots of ways to deal with positioning composers and titles. In this tutorial, I’m going to talk about the right way, using the tools that are built-in for exactly this purpose, that will make your programs look great and keep them easy to maintain: tab stops.

Instead of entering the perfect number of spaces and tabs between titles and composers, you only need one tab, and let the computer do the work of pixel-perfect alignment for you.

YouTube video

The basic steps:

  1. Turn on rulers. (View > Ruler)
  2. Turn on invisible characters. (Home > ¶)
  3. Enter a single tab character, and click in the ruler to place tab stops.
  4. Double-click tab stops to change their properties and set them to be right-aligned.

That’s it. Now, you can not only get your programs done more quickly, they will look more professional, and the next time you need to make a program, you can just duplicate and edit this file!

Some graphic designers may quibble with any headline that pairs “Microsoft Word” and “the right way”, but you and me? We’re here to get stuff done.

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David MacDonald
Composer David MacDonald writes music that is serious and clever, while embracing a fondness for groovy rhythms and delightful surprises. He simultaneously embraces and pokes fun at expectations. David lives in Wichita, Kansas, where he teaches music composition, theory, and technology at the Wichita State University.
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1 thought on “How To Make Concert Programs The Right Way”

  1. When I saw the headline about the right way to make programs, my first thought was to encourage looking at any program assembled by Leonard Slatkin across his career that I had the pleasure to hear. But then I started reading the article and realized it wasn’t THAT kind of program the writer had in mind. Leinsdorf was pretty good, too.


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