A Beginners Guide to Pro Tools, Part 6
Working in the Edit window
If you are new to digital audio editing, you may be overly cautious when working in Pro Tools. Don’t worry! Edit happy! Pro Tools is non-destructive, digital editing. Your original files are never altered by editing or mixing, and as long as you are saving regularly, you can always go back to an earlier version of your project. There are also multiple levels of “Undo”, via Edit>Undo (Apple-Z) in the top toolbar.
What do all those crazy buttons do? Get to know your Editing Modes and Tools
The buttons for the tools you will use to edit your audio appear near the top of the Edit window and look like this-
Zooming and Adjusting your View
There are a couple of options for zooming in/out. You will probably want to do this periodically as you work.
- The Zoom tool (magnifying glass)
- When it’s selected, simply clicking on a track with the mouse will zoom in. To zoom out, hold down the Option key to reverse the zoom, and click.
- You can also click, hold, and drag to select an area of a track, and when you release the mouse button your view will zoom so that the part you selected fills the visible area.
- The vertical and horizontal zoom buttons (to the left of the Zoom tool)
- Click the right arrow to zoom in horizontally
- Click the left arrow to zoom out horizontally
- Use the left-hand set of up-and-down zoom buttons to zoom in and out vertically (the other set is for MIDI tracks, which are for music production only.
- Note: If you get zoomed in too far and need to get your bearings, DOUBLE-CLICK THE ZOOM BUTTON TO ZOOM ALL THE WAY OUT. You can also adjust Track Height to facilitate viewing.
- In the group of controls to the far left of the track(s), find the small arrow in the middle-right and click.
- A menu pops up allowing you to choose the height for that track.
You select Edit Modes from the buttons in the top left of the window. The modes are listed here in order of probable utility.
- Slip – 90% of the time you’ll want to be in Slip mode. In this mode you can freely edit and move audio regions.
- Shuffle – In Shuffle mode, audio regions “snap” to adjacent regions or the beginning of the track. Shuffle does not allow regions to overlap, and is useful for sequencing regions for back-to-back play.
- Spot – In Spot mode, you can only move regions to exact time locations; when you click on a region in Spot mode, a box will pop-up asking the time location you want to move it to.
- Grid – Only useful for musical applications. Works like “snap-to-grid” in graphics programs.
There are three primary tools that you can use to edit your audio: Trim, Selector, and Grabber. They appear in a row at the top of the Edit window to the right of the Zoom tool (magnifying glass). They are all very useful, and are specialized for different purposes.
1. Trim allows you to use the mouse and trim away unwanted audio from the edge of a region. You can click once to make a trim, or click and drag to adjust the limit of the region.
2. The Selector is used to select any part of a region in the timeline so that you can cut or copy it.
3. The Grabber is used to select entire regions to cut, copy or move them.
Important: You may use these tools one at a time by clicking on the specific tool you want at the moment OR you may select the bar below the three tool icons and activate them all at once. When they are all selected, the active tool (and corresponding cursor icon) changes depending on your mouse location.
You can perform these on all, or part, of an audio region in a track. See the image above to find the corresponding tools.
- Select the Grabber tool (the hand image) then click and drag any audio region to a new location, either on the same track or a different one.
- Trimming– The Trim tool (with the arrows, to the right of the Zoom tool) allows you to quickly trim off the end of a region, as well as restore previously trimmed parts.
- When you click on an audio region, everything from that point to the closest edge will disappear.
- To restore a cleared part of a region, click on the edge of the region, hold, then drag back to “reveal” the cleared audio.
- Cutting/Clearing– Use the Selector tool (with the waveform, to the left of the Grabber) to select and cut any part of a region.
- Select by clicking, holding, and dragging with the mouse.
- Clear by pressing the Delete key.
- To separate or split a region into sub-regions, place the cursor where you want to make the separation, then go to Edit > Separate Region > At Selection.
- You can also select a chunk in the middle of a region with the Selector tool and go to Edit > Separate Region > At Selection to create three sub-regions.
- Naming– Naming regions will help you edit efficiently.
- With the Grabber, double-click on a region in the timeline and rename it in the box that pops-up.
- If you know the region by its existing name, you can find it listed in the “Regions” sub-window (to the right of the Edit window) and double-click to change the name.
- Select part or all of a region and go to Edit > Copy (or Apple-C).
- Select the destination (by highlighting it with the Selector tool) for the last thing you copied and go to Edit > Paste (or Apple-V).
- Applying (or deleting) Fades
- Select part of region(s) to fade or crossfade, using the Selector tool.
Then go to Edit > Fades > Create Fades… (or Delete Fades). The shortcut to create fades (after you’ve selected the area) is Apple-F.