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Using Window Configurations In Pro Tools
Tips and Tricks
When working with large Pro Tools sessions, you may find yourself constantly flipping through various windows as you mix and edit. As you work with these sessions, you may want to quickly recall specific windows during different aspects of your workflow. Window Configurations are used for this exact purpose.
Window Configurations are used to store and recall the display, size, and arrangement of windows in your session, as well as internal configurations of the Edit, Mix, Transport, MIDI Editor, and Score Editor Windows. If your project requires you to switch back and forth between different windows, including plug-in windows, Window Configurations can be used to dramatically increase your efficiency.
Creating Window Configurations
To get started, open all the windows you want to include in your new Window Configuration, adjusting the size, position, and display settings as you want them. For example, I might want a specific Window Configuration for when I playback my session. In the example below, I’ve opened the Transport Window, System Usage Window, and Memory Locations Window. Because Window Configurations also recall the layout of the Edit Window, I’m also going to hide my Clip List for this example.
When you’re happy with the arrangement of your display, navigate to Window > Configurations > New Configuration. You can also create a Window Configuration from the keyboard by typing Period (.) followed by the Plus (+) key on the numeric keypad.
Once selected, the New Window Configuration dialog box will appear.
When creating a Configuration, you can either select the Window Layout, or Display Settings.
The Window Layout option will store the positions and sizes of any open windows in your session. You can also select the configuration of the Edit, Mix, Targeted MIDI Editor, Score Editor, and Transport Display settings. Since each of these windows can be viewed in many different ways, and for different purposes, this additional feature allows you to save your View preferences for each of these windows.
The Display Settings option will store the display settings for the selected window only. It will not store size or location details. You can also include the layout of MIDI Lanes when choose the Edit window,or the MIDI Editor Window.
In my example, I want to store the positions and sizes of my open windows, so I’ll select the Window Layout option. In addition, I want to make sure the Clip List is hidden in this configuration, so I will also select: Include Edit, Mix, Targeted MIDI Editor, Score Editor, and Transport Display Settings option. This will save the current configuration of my Edit Window.
When you have selected your desired options, name your new Window Configuration, and click OK to save the settings. I’ll name my example: “Playback”
Once saved, you can view, recall, and manage your Window Configurations using the Window Configuration List. To open the Window Configuration List, select Window > Configurations > Window Configuration List. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Command+Option+J(Mac) or Ctrl+Alt+J (Windows).
In the Window Configuration List, we can see all our saved Window Configurations. The Window Configuration List functions much like the Memory Locations window—you can click on any of your saved Window Configurations to immediately recall it.
In addition, you can use the numeric keypad to quickly recall a Window Configuration. Each Window Configuration you create will be assigned a number (1-99). A Window Configuration’s designated number is labeled on the left side of the Window Configuration List. To recall a Window Configuration with the numeric keypad, press Period (.) followed by the number, and then the Asterisk (*) key.
Updating Window Configurations
When you recall a Window Configuration, you can make changes to it, then update it to save your changes. This process can be done manually, or you can setup Pro Tools to do this automatically.
There are two ways to manually update your Window Configuration:
2: From the Window Configuration List pop-up menu, choose Update “Configuration Name”
There are also two ways to have Pro Tools automatically update the active Window Configuration
1: Select Window > Configurations > Auto-Update Active Configuration
2: From the Window Configuration List pop-up menu, select Auto-Update Active Configuration
Saving Memory Locations
Sometimes, you may want to store many display preferences simultaneously, including your window layout, Edit and Mix Window settings, zoom settings, track show/hide settings, and track heights. This can be done by storing your Window Configurations in Memory Locations.
To store a Window Configuration in a memory location, start by creating a new memory location:
Go to: Window > Memory Locations
Click on the Menu drop-down arrow in the Memory Location box and select New Memory Location
In the Memory Locations dialog box, you can check the box next to Window Configuration to add your desired configuration to a memory location. Recalling this memory location will not only recall your desired general properties (track heights, zoom settings, etc.) but also your selected Window Configuration.
Pro Tools can save up to 99 different Window Configurations, so you may find it useful to use a variety of configurations for your workflow. Using your keyboard shortcut to toggle in between your different Window Configurations will save from navigating with the mouse and reopening and repositioning each Window.
Experiment with your own configurations in your sessions. Don't forget that you can also save plug-in windows with Window Configurations. It can add lots of flexibility, and speed to your workflow because you're not clicking on all these windows with your mouse, which can get quite tiresome.
Alex ThomenComposer / Arranger / Music Technology Instructor
Alex Thomen is a producer, composer, pianist, mixing engineer, and music educator. He attained his Master's Degree in Commercial Music Composition and Arranging from Belmont University in Nashville, TN and taught as an instructor in Music Production at University of Miami Frost School of Music. From small-scale chamber groups and rock bands to full symphonic orchestra, Thomen arranges, produces, and mixes for a variety of ensembles and styles. Thomen’s education and experience have helped refine his skills in contemporary music production for Film/TV/Games. From ambient, musical soundscapes to fantastical, orchestral pieces, television commercials, and more, Thomen’s creative output evokes a vast variety of moods, settings, and themes.
ProMedia Training is the premier authorized Avid Training Center since 2002, having prepared more students in Pro Tools than any other organization. We teach Pro Tools on all levels as well as offer exam preparation for Pro Tools Certification exams for those studying audio engineering, recording, mixing and related multimedia training for musicians, producers, recording engineers, worship facilities and corporations. ProMedia has been leading the way in short term, Pro Tools Immersion courses which focus in all areas from beginner to advanced Pro Tools Applications. Our beginners learn the software for music production, recording, editing, audio engineering, and mixing. Our advanced users focus on cutting edge highly complex HDX systems, new concepts as well as workflow improvements. We also provide on-site training for corporations, Universities, Schools, and worship facilities where professionals can advance their skills while learning in their own working environment. ProMedia also participates in many of the musical associations and related organizations related to the recording arts including ASCAP, BMI, NAMM, TAXI A&R, Youth Organizations, NAB, Promo Only, and more.