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Residing just below the Edit tools in the Edit window are number of buttons that enable you to do some pretty special things in Pro Tools. Let's take a look. We'll start from left to right. The first one here is the Zoom Toggle and we've discussed that in a previous video about zooming. Next to that is Tab to Transients. Let's talk about that one. When it's active, it's blue like it is here. Tab to Transients allows you to use the Tab key to navigate from one transient part of an audio waveform to the next making it easy to find points on a drum track or other tracks with obvious transients in their waveform.
Let's check it out. I've dropped the cursor down right here at the beginning of bar 41 and I'm going to hit the Tab key and you're going to see the cursor bounces from Transient to Transient in the waveform. Let's take a closer look. If you press Option on a Mac or Ctrl on a PC and then Tab, we can tab backwards. If you press Shift and Tab, we can highlight as we Tab to Transients. And if you press Option+ Shift+Tab on a Mac or Ctrl+Shift+Tab on a PC, we can highlight backwards and keep this whole part selected.
Now this is a great way for creating loops and defining the territory, the part of the region that you want for the loop. I'm going to zoom back out and we'll move on to the next button. Mirrored MIDI Editing, and in fact we're going to cover this in a later video about editing MIDI data. Let's talk about Link Timeline and Edit Selections. This button enables you to set the play and edit ranges by selecting in the tracks playlist. Usually, you want to keep this linked or active like this when it's turned blue so that what you choose in the Timeline reflects what you edit.
So you see when we select here in a track that's the Edit Selection and it's mirrored up here in the Timeline. So those two are linked. However, if we unlink this, we can make separate selections. So now this amount of time, that's how much is selected in the Timeline, but down here we have a different edit selection. This is great to use with the dynamic Transport mode too, which we can choose from Options and choose Dynamic Transport.
Now we have decoupled the Playback start location from the edit selection. This is the Playback start marker and we can drag that anywhere to start playing back the track from any point where we drop that in. So if we start at the beginning, it will sound like this. (Music playing.) So Pro Tools is looping through this. However, we can edit different parts of this while keeping this Timeline Selection the same. If we drag the Playback start marker while this is playing, it will actually change where it starts and we can hear the transition from the end of this loop back to the beginning. Check this out.
(Music playing.) So I'm going to play this one more time and actually cut this section out and you'll hear how that affects what goes on in real time as we're playing this back. (Music playing.) So now I can hear what this sounds like when I've cut these two beats out of the drum track, even while this is looping playing a larger area.
Now personally I usually just keep the Link Selections button highlighted, but when recording or editing loops, it can be handy to unlink and use the Dynamic Transport in this particular way. Let's go to the next button. Here we have the Link track and Edit Selection button. When this is highlighted, you can select Track Material and the track name of each associated track is highlighted too. So with the selector, if I click-and- drag across all these tracks, you'll see over here that the track names get highlighted. Now this allows you to apply track level commands such as making all the tracks inactive all at once.
So if I go up to Track > Make Inactive all of the tracks that are highlighted get treated the same way. Finally let's move on to Insertion Follows Playback. This is an interesting button. Let me show you how it works. First I'm going to turnoff Dynamic Transport and I'm also going to link the Timeline and Edit Selection again.
So now when I press Play, we're back to normal. (Music playing.) But the thing about this feature is actually what happens when you press Stop. When I just press Stop there, it brought the cursor right back to where it started. However, if I use Insertion Follows Playback and press Play, the cursor will actually stop and stay put right where I stopped it as opposed to returning to this original start point. Watch this. (Music playing.) So now the cursor is over here. This could be pretty handy, if you are recording voiceovers or editing in certain ways. I personally like to turn this off, but it can be useful in certain circumstances.
In addition to the regular key commands in Pro Tools, we also have the keyboard focus that enables you to use the Alpha keys on your keyboard to access a wide range of single key shortcuts and that button is right here the Keyboard Focus. There are several of them in the Edit window. One right here, one right here for the Regions List and one over here in the Groups list. But I want to talk about this one. This gives us a number of single key shortcuts for editing and playing. Here are some of my favorites. If you hit the minus key, we have a Track View Toggle that toggles between waveform and volume. And notice that this track is highlighted and it only does it for that highlighted track.
If I highlight across all these using the Link track and Edit Selection button then all of them will change. Here are few my other favorites. Zoom Toggle, press the E key that zooms in and if I want to just zoom in on one track, just hit the E key with the Command Focus and you get a really big version of the track. Press R to zoom out, press T to zoom in, and press B to separate region.
The special editing buttons here demonstrate some of the unique powers that Pro Tools has for editing audio. If you can master the features of these buttons, you'll really be an efficient Pro Tools user.
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