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Once you have created some tracks in Pro Tools, there's a lot of ways to view and manipulate those tracks before, during, and after you record material onto them. Let's start with the Tracks list. As you'll notice, when I click a name of a track in the Tracks list, the name of the track gets highlighted here. That means it is selected. If I click this circle, it will hide the track. There are some other options here in the Tracks list menu, where you can show only certain types of tracks, you can hide selected tracks, and sort tracks.
You can also move tracks around pretty easily by clicking on the name of the track and dragging it, and the yellow line will indicate where it's going to go. One thing I highly recommend doing is naming your tracks. If you double-click on the name of the track, the name and comments come up, and you can name the track. Now if you don't name the track, and then you record onto that track, the audio files or the MIDI regions that you record will be named the generic name shown here, audio1.
That's why I strongly recommend naming your tracks as soon as you make them, so that the name gets associated with the track right from the beginning. You don't want to have a hard drive filled with a thousand audio1 files. Adding comments is also a great idea to give even more information about what's on the track, or even details about how it was recorded. Like if you're recording in electric guitar amp with the Shure SM57 mic, 1 inch from the left speaker, then those comments can show up in the comments field, and they will be in both the Edit and the Mix window.
So let's name this El Gtr, and I am going to hit the tab key to go down into the Comments field, and I'll say, "SM57 on the left speaker 1 inch from grill." Press Return and that will show up in the Comments field. We can access that here, and I am going to drag this down to make the track taller. And if we go over to the Mix window, scroll down, and see that the comment is there, and the track is named there as well.
Now there are bunch of comments that we can choose from the track menu that apply to viewing and manipulating tracks. First one I want to do is Duplicate track, so you'll see that the electric guitar track is highlighted. If we duplicate it, we get the Duplicate Tracks dialog and we can choose what data to duplicate. I am going to keep all of this on here, but sometimes you might not want to keep all of these things on here. You can also make multiple duplicates. I will just make one. And you'll see that it automatically names the track El Gtr.dup1.
I would definitely rename this, and you might need to touch up the comments as well. With this track highlighted, if I go up to Track and choose Delete, it will automatically delete that track. Unfortunately, this cannot be undone, so be careful when you decide to delete a track. Let's go back to the Edit window, and I am going to select the electric guitar track again. One of the coolest features in Pro Tools is the ability to make a track inactive.
If you go to Track > Make Inactive, you'll see that the entire track has been grayed out. You can still see it, but you won't hear anything on it, and it will not take up any computer resources. However, all the settings for the track and any audio or MIDI data that's on the track will be saved with the session, so this saves a lot of processing power. If you go back up to track and choose Make Active, then you can start using that track right away again, and you will be able to hear it. If you go back to the Mix window, you can actually click on the icon for the track and choose make Inactive and make it active again by clicking on it again.
Now all of these things that I just mentioned we can actually access by right-clicking on the name of the track. So I just right-clicked, and now we can hide, we can make inactive, we can rename, we can delete tracks--most of things that you can do from the Track menu. So knowing all the ways to view and manipulate your tracks will enable you to be more efficient when using Pro Tools.
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