Engraving basics: aligned objects.

One of the most fundamental things you can do to instantly improve the look of your music is to align objects that should be aligned. Dynamics, expressions, chords, lyrics, and lines like hairpins should all be aware of their friends in the rest of the score. Dynamics or text positioned on one staff should have all other instances of that through that measure in other instruments align vertically. Dynamics and hairpins should all be horizontally aligned within the system. 

It's not that Finale users don't wish for this to be the case, it just takes more time, and I can sympathize that this may not be the priority when the deadline's fast approaching. Users of Sibelius version 6 and above been able to largely forget about this chore entirely. Magnetic Layout might have been the greatest invention since linked/dynamic parts was introduced several years prior. This amazing functionality does nearly all of the heavy lifting automatically. Type in a new dynamic and Sibelius aligns it perfectly both vertically and horizontally. Add a hairpin to that system and it all snaps into position, avoiding other system objects. And it's all live. If you change the notes in a measure, or copy to a staff of a different transposition, all of the note- and measure-attached items jump into a new perfect alignment. 

Finale users do not yet have this time saver, but there are a few things we can do to help cut down on the hand adjusting of hairpins. First, invest the time to create yourself a good template; one that works for you, has the types of expressions, chord symbols, and font choices you like to use. Take  time to dig down into the menus where these items can be assigned a default position. Text expressions can be assigned fixed (or relative to notes) staff positions to your specifications. You can setup your dynamics to automatically go in at consistent horizontal and vertical positions, eliminating the majority of the hand repositioning. 

The second most likely source of misaligned objects are lines and hairpins. As of this writing (up through version 2012b), Finale's line-based objects are about 50/50 in how they behave—some attach to notes and some don't, without much reasoning why a wavy glissando line would be smart and precisely attach itself to note heads, but crescendo and decrescendo hairpins are completely dumb, only knowing which staff they're attached to. No matter how the application functions, the goal is to have your objects in line. Dynamics and hairpins horizontally aligned and similar score objects vertically aligned. Eliminate as much of the ragged edges from your music as possible, and your scores will immediately take on a more engraved look.