Learn the function of the Tab key and the function of the Tab To Transients option. Also learn about modifiers that can be used in combination with the Tab key.
- [Instructor] Positioning the edit cursor or selection at a precise location can be challenging and frustrating, especially if you're not yet comfortable with the many ways to zoom and scroll your session to get a better view, and even if you have mastered zooming and scrolling, sometimes you may not want to change the visual display on your session if you don't need to. Pro Tools provides some simple techniques to help you position your edit cursor to precise events in your session. Here, we'll discuss the basic techniques and add some modifier keys to extend the basic functionality in various ways.
For starters, we're going to use the tab key in Pro Tools. I'm going to position my edit cursor at the beginning of the base track here, and I'd really like to move forward to the beginning of that first clip. The tab functionality in Pro Tools allows me to do that. Simply pressing the tab key moves the edit cursor forward to the clip boundary. Now, if I press tab a second time, my edit cursor will move forward again to the end of the clip boundary. If you're having a hard time seeing the location, you can refer to the arrows in the timeline.
And I'll press tab again, moving my edit cursor forward to the start of the next clip boundary. Each time I press the tab key, my edit cursor moves forward to the next clip boundary. Now, if I want to move backwards instead, I have a modifier key for that. The option modifier in Pro Tools is commonly used as a reverse function. In this case, if I hold option and press tab, my edit cursor moves backwards to the previous clip boundary. Holding option and pressing tab again moves to the boundary before that, and as I continue to hold option and press tab, I continue to move through the clip boundaries in a backwards direction.
Both of these functions work if I start in the middle of a clip, as well. If my edit cursor is in the middle of the first clip on the base track and I press the tab key, I'll move forward to the end of the clip. If my edit cursor is in the middle and I press option tab, I'll move backwards to the beginning of the clip. I can also use another modifier to make a selection. In this case, we'll use the shift modifier. Here I've repositioned the edit cursor to the middle of the first clip again, and by holding shift while pressing tab, I can select forward to the end of the clip.
And if I continue to hold shift and press tab, I'll continue to extend the selection forward through the clip boundaries. This also works in reverse to make selections backwards. If I start with my edit cursor in the middle of the third clip and then hold option to reverse the direction and shift to make a selection, by pressing tab, I can select backwards to the start of the clip boundary. Continuing to hold option and shift and press tab extends the selection earlier, again moving through clip boundaries.
So the tab function is very useful for making selections based on clip boundaries, but Pro Tools provides another option to extend this functionality even further, the tab to transience function. To enable tab to transience, click on the second button here underneath the zoomer tool. When tab to transience is highlighted in blue, that indicates the function is enabled. So, what exactly is a transient? Well, a transient is a spike in the wave form that occurs at the start of an audio event, so with tab to transience enabled, each time I press tab, I'll be able to move forward through the audio in my clip, stopping at each significant audio event.
Let's take a look on the drums track. I'll position my edit cursor at the beginning of the track before the audio starts, and now with tab to transience enabled, when I press the tab key, I've forward to the first beat on the drums track. And I'm just going to solo that track so we can hear a little better what's happening. Now, as I continue to press the tab key, I'll move forward through successive drum hits. One note here about the tab to transience function. The threshold is not user adjustable, but if anything, you may find it to be oversensitive.
In those cases, just keep tabbing forward until you get to the event you're looking for. My modifier keys also work with tab to transience active, so to move backwards through the transient events, I can hold option and press tab, and in this case move backward through the drum hits. (drumming) And like we saw before, I can hold the shift modifier while pressing tab to make selections. In this case, making a selection while I move forward through the drum hits. (drumming) Brilliant.
And again, we can combine those functions together, so if my edit cursor is in the middle of the track and I want to move backwards while making a selection, I can hold option and shift while pressing the tab key to make a selection backward through audio events. (drumming) So there you have it. The tab key is super powerful in Pro Tools, both for navigating and for selecting. Use tab without the tab to transience function to navigate through clip boundaries. Add the option modifier to reverse direction and add shift to make selections while tabbing.
For greater control, enable tab to transience to navigate through the transient events on your tracks, and again, take advantage of those modifiers to change direction or to make selections as you go.
- Getting started with Pro Tools menus, windows, and edit tools
- Creating a session
- Creating a click track
- Recording audio
- Importing audio and video
- Recording, viewing, and editing MIDI data
- Selecting and navigating within tracks
- Adding markers
- Editing clips
- Creating fade effects
- Mixing tracks and adding automation
- Backing up a session
- Bouncing a mix to disk
Skill Level Beginner
Q. This course was updated on 03/23/2017. What changed?
A. Challenges and solutions were added to chapters 3–10 and three videos were updated in the first couple chapters.