Get an overview of the main menus and what type of operation is found in each menu.
- [Instructor] For new Pro Tools users learning where to go to access the functions you need can be a time-consuming process. To help you get up to speed fast, let's spend a few minutes going over the Pro Tools menu structure. By learning some basic rules you can easily determine what menu to reach for when you need to access a command, function or setting in Pro Tools. At the top of the Pro Tools interface we can access the main menus for the software. On Mac systems, we have a Pro Tools menu at the far left. This menu provides quick access to a few key items, such as the Pro Tools Preferences dialog box and the Quit command.
This is standard convention on the Mac. The Pro Tools menu does not exist on Windows systems. From there we go to the File menu. The File menu is used for file-based commands, such as importing or saving your files. To the right of that is the Edit menu, which, as the name implies, is used for edit commands. To the right of the Edit menu is the View menu, which is used for accessing views within a window in Pro Tools. For example, under the View menu we'll find Edit Window Views and from the submenu we can select a view such as the I/O column.
To the right of the View menu is the Track menu, which is used for track-based commands, such as adding new tracks or deleting tracks. Next to that is the Clip menu, which is used for clip-based commands. To the right of the Clip menu is the Event menu. You can think of Events in Pro Tools the same way you think of events that you might put on your calendar. These have to do with when things occur in time and how they occur in time. If I have an appointment scheduled on my calendar I can move it to a different day or time, same way I can go under the Event menu in Pro Tools to move an event to a different location.
To the right of the Event menu is the AudioSuite menu. Pro Tools provides two types of plugin processing, real-time processing and non-real-time processing. AudioSuite is the category of plugins that are used for non-real-time processing, and under this menu you'll find all of your AudioSuite plugins. There's nothing else under the AudioSuite menu so that's pretty straightforward. Next up we have the Options menu and the Setup menu. Now these two menus are commonly confused, but they're very different.
Under the Options menu, you have choices that are either selected or de-selected. Everything in this menu is either checked or unchecked. So think of it this way, we'll use the Options menu to toggle a function. For example, if Pre/Post-Roll is currently off, we can toggle it on by selecting it under the Options menu. And now if we look again, Pre/Post-Roll is checked meaning it's enabled. The Options menu is for enabling or disabling, toggling on or off.
Next to the Options menu is the Setup menu, but if we look at the items under the Setup menu, none of these have checks. Every item under the Setup menu has an ellipse following the menu item. In the English language an ellipse is used to show that we've trailed off. There's something more coming. In software an ellipse is used to show the same thing. In this case, what's coming is a dialog box. So the rule of thumb for the Setup menu is, everything under this menu brings you to a dialog box.
We'll click OK to close the Playback Engine dialog box. Next up we have the Window menu. In Pro Tools the Window menu is used for opening or closing windows. The whole entire window. If we want to switch from the Mix window to the Edit window, we can go to the Window menu and choose Mix. So the rule is, all of your windows are listed under the Window menu. The last two menus you may not commonly use. You can use the Marketplace to access your Avid master account to make online purchases from within Pro Tools.
And you can use the Help menu to access Pro Tools-related resources, such as the Pro Tools Reference Guide, an all-inclusive pdf file covering Pro Tools functions. So that, in a nutshell, is the Pro Tools menu structure. If you keep in mind the basic rules about these menus, you will never have to wonder which menu to look under for the function you need.
- 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.