Pro Tools ‘Shortcut’ Key Commands

Every professional that I’ve had the pleasure of working with or learning from has stressed the importance of learning shortcut key commands for speed and efficiency of the project’s workflow.  In my home project studio, I use an iMac and a keyboard that doesn’t have a numeric keypad.  Below is a solid table of Pro Tools shortcuts that works for me and my setup, but there are others that you may want to investigate:

Add new track to selection (after you selected multiple tracks and want to add 1 more)
Assign Input in ascending order from the point you selected Option+Command+Select Input
Assign Output in ascending order from the point you selected Option+Command+Select Output
Assign Sends in ascending order from the point you selected Option+Command+Select Sends
Bounce to File Option+Command+B
Bypass a row of Inserts
 Option+Command+Click on Insert
Bypass Insert Command+Click on Insert
Change input/output/sends/insert/mute/solo for tracks selected
Consolidate selected regions
Copy Command+C
Copy Insert Option+Drag and Drop
Create a Marker (without having a numeric keypad)
Cut Command+X
Decrease track height Control+Option+Down Arrow
Duplicate Selection Command+D
Fade – open window Command+F
Fade in from Start (place cursor on track first)
Fade to End (place cursor on track first)
Fast-forward Shift+.
Heal Separation Command+H
Import Audio Files Shift+Command+I
Increase track height Control+Option+Up Arrow
Jump to Session start Return
Jump to marker by number .+number of marker+.         (on number keypad)
Loop Recording Toggle Option+L
Make a Group for selected tracks Option+G  (or Option+Command+G)
Modes – switch b/w shuffle, slip, spot, grid Option+1/2/3/4
More precise selection Command+Click on Fader or Knob
Move cursor backward,  (comma)
Move cursor forward .  (period)
New Session Command+N
New Track – Add a row in new track window Command+Shift+Arrow down
New Track – change # of new tracks Arrow up/down
New Track – change output type (mono or stereo)
 Command+Arrow left/right
New Track – change type of new track (audio, instrumental, etc)
 Command+Arrow up/down
New Track – Remove a row in new track window Command+Shift+Arrow Up
New Track(s)-Create Command+Shift+N
Open Session Command+O
Paste Command+V
Quick Punch Toggle Command+Shift+P
Quit Pro Tools Command+Q
Record safe a track Command+Click on track Record Enable button
Redo Command+Shift+Z
Rename selected regions Command+Shift+R
Repeat Selection Command+R
Return to zero Option+Click on Fader or Knob
Rewind Shift+,
Save Session Command+S
Select All Command+A
Select all/execute all/ change all/ add to all/ mute all/ solo all Option+Click
Select through types of recording Control+Click on main Record Enable button
Select Tool Command+1/2/3/4/5/6
Selection from selected to where you click Shift+Click
Separate at selection Command+E
Show original waveform size Command+Option+Control+[
Solo-safe a track Command+Click on Solo
Start Recording Command+Space
Stop Recording Space
Suspend all groups Command+Shift+G
Switch b/w Edit & Mix windows Command+=
Tab to transients Command+Option+Tab (to activate tool) –> Tab
Trim Region to Selection Command+T
Undo Command+Z
Zoom – horizontal zoom on a selectionCommand+[or](Option+F, Option+A)
Zoom – recall presets 1-5 Control+1/2/3/4/5
Zoom In T
Zoom in on waveform Command+Option+[
Zoom Out R
Zoom out on waveform Command+Option+]
Zoom until all tracks are visible Control+Option+A


Exporting Audio Files From Logic Into Pro Tools

Logic Pro is currently my preferred DAW (digital audio workstation) since I’ve created all of my projects there and am more comfortable with that platform.  As a musician, I may one day need to take my song to a studio where I will need to import the audio files or project into Pro Tools.  There’s actually more of a likelihood that as a producer, I will have to send my audio files to a mix engineer should I decide not to mix my songs myself.  Here is what I do to get my audio files from Logic into Pro Tools:

Step #1 – From within my Logic session, I set my cycle bar to cover the length of the song plus 1-2 additional measures, and then I navigate to File -> Export -> All Track as Audio Files (or use shortcut keys Shift+Cmd+E).

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 4.49.33 PMStep #2 – Below are the settings that I choose.   I select the check box ‘Limit Export to Cycle Range’ so that I’m not capturing unwanted silence in my exported tracks.  My ‘Save Format’ is WAVE, ‘Bit Depth’ is 24 Bit, my saved output is going to be ‘One File per Track’, I don’t want to ‘Bypass Effect Plug-ins’ and I want to ‘Normalize’ as ‘Overload Protection Only’.

If you are sending your tracks to be professionally mixed, then you should consider checking the ‘Bypass effect Plug-ins’ box so that all of your inserts will be turned off.  This will allow your mix engineer to have full creative control over the effects and plug-ins that he or she wants to use.  I choose to leave my normalization setting to ‘Overload Protection Only’ because this tells Logic to turn down the volume on the tracks that are peaking and distorting so that they peak at 0db.

I also click on the ‘New Folder’ button to create a separate directory on my desktop for each project that I’m exporting as audio files.  When you select the ‘One File per Track’ export option, each of the tracks in your Logic project will be saved as its on individual audio file.  It helps me to stay organized by creating individual folders per song.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 4.54.31 PM

Step #3 (Pro Tools) –  After checking my file folder on my desktop to make sure that all of the audio files are there, I then create a new blank project in Pro Tools and click the shortcut key command Shift+Cmd+I (or navigate to File -> Import) to select the audio files that I want to import.  Next, click on the ‘Open’ button to begin the import process.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 5.31.36 PM

Step #4 (Pro Tools) – Below are the import options that I select within my Pro Tools session.  If you select ‘Clip List’ as you input destination, then your tracks won’t show up in your session workspace.  You would then have to manually move each audio file from your list to your workspace.  I also make my import location ‘Session Start’.  This way all of my tracks will start at measure 1.  Click ‘OK’ to have your audio files imported into Pro Tools at your desired destination and location settings.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 5.37.13 PM