Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the ways to view your library, part of Learning iTunes 12.
- For this movie I've imported a bunch of songs into my iTunes library. Now in the next chapter we'll take a detailed look at how to get music into iTunes, so if you're not quite sure how to do that yet, don't worry about it for now. I just needed to get some songs in here so I can effectively demonstrate some of the features of the iTunes interface in this movie. When we get into the next chapter we'll start with a brand new emptied library again. Now if you've used previous versions of iTunes you'll immediately notice that the iTunes 12 window looks pretty different. There used to be a source panel on the left side of the window where you could select the type of media you wanted to browse, like music, movies, TV shows, and so on.
And that was also where you would select things like your iPhone or iPad to manage their contents. Well here in iTunes 12, you still see a pane appear here on the left under certain circumstances, but the way you select the content categories is with the buttons up here in the left hand corner. Now this first button here is for choosing which iTunes library you want to browse. By default you'll browse your own local library, meaning the library that's stored on your computer's hard drive. But if there are any other computers running iTunes on your network, and sharing has been enabled on them, you'll see their names appear here, so you can browse their contents.
Now this menu won't appear here at all if there are no other computers on your network with iTunes sharing enabled. I'll talk about sharing in a later chapter, but for now I'm gonna continue working with the iTunes library on my own computer. So the rest of the buttons here are for selecting the different library categories. Currently, I have mostly Music in my library so Movies and TV Shows are empty. And they just prompt me to visit the iTunes Store to purchase that kind of content. Now to keep this upper left hand corner area a little less cluttered, you select the other types of available categories from this more button here.
Now I know that I do have a couple of audiobooks in my library, so selecting that category displays them. That also places the Audiobooks icon up here. Now when I click away to another category, the Audiobooks icon disappears. But if you often use one of the categories from this menu, it can get kind of annoying to always have to click the menu first before selecting the category. So in that case you can click Edit which allows you to check the items you want to keep up here. You can also uncheck items you don't wanna see.
For example, if I don't have any TV Shows in my iTunes library, I can just uncheck that. And that removes its icon. And I'll click Done. So now I can easily get to my Audiobooks, but I don't have the TV button anymore. But of course you can always get back to all the categories from this menu here. All right, so that's how to select the main library categories in iTunes. Let's go back to music. Now with each of these main categories you'll find there's several ways to locate or browse through the content. So for example, with the Music category selected, at the top of the window here we see My Music, Playlists, Match, Radio, and iTunes Store.
These categories either take you to a different view of your library, or to a different type of content. I'll walk through these in a moment, but let's stay with the default of My Music for now. Basically, My Music represents all of the music files in your local iTunes library. Again, that's the library on your computer and not over the network or online somewhere. With My Music selected, the songs are by default represented by album. Up here at the top of the window, we first see a row of your most Recently Added music. If you've added music recently, that is. And then below that we see the All Music section.
And we can scroll down to browse through the music. So we se the album and artist name for each album as we scroll through. Notice in my library that some of albums have artwork images, while others just have this generic music notes image. I'll be talking about how to get artwork album displayed later in this course. Now to browse the contents of an album, just click it once. And then you'll see the tracks. iTunes does this nice thing where it takes the dominant colors in the album cover and uses those colors to format the background and text color in this view.
So you can see there's mostly a dark reddish color here with some yellow text and that's reflected here in this view. I can click the cover again to collapse its contents, and I'll just click a few more here so you can see how iTunes uses those colors. And you can play your music right from here by double clicking on any track. (guitar music) And I'l just pause that for now. We'll talk more in depth about playback controls in the next movie.
So this is how to browse the My Music section in the album view. It's a cool visual way to look through your collection, but it's not always the quickest way to find a specific album or song you want to listen to. So over here in the upper right hand corner there's a menu, and you can see the default selection is Albums. But from here you can choose several alternate ways to view your music. I'll select Songs. So now instead of album covers, we instead get a text listing of the songs we can scroll through. Notice it's currently alphabetical by artist. This might be useful if you're looking for a song by a particular artist, but can't remember which album it's on.
In this view you can scroll to the artist name and then just scan through all the songs without having to click to pop open individual albums. You can also sort the songs by any of these other headings by clicking on them. So if I wanted this list to be in alphabetical order by song title, I would just click Name. Or I can sort by Album Title. Clicking any header a second time reverses the order. So that's the Songs view. Let's click the viewing menu again, Notice here under the different viewing categories, there's a Sort By menu.
It currently shows Album because that's the last header I clicked. And then of course it's much easier just to click these headers, then to come over to this menu and select from the Sort By menu. But if I now switch back to the Albums view, Now the Sort By area shows that this display sorts by the artist frist, and then by the title. But I might want to switch this to By Year, which will then put the albums in chronogolical order of their release years. And you can easily change this to say Sort by Genre, and then Artist Name, or any combination that you like.
It really just depends on what you want to see. I'm gonna switch this back to Artist and then Year, in this case. Oh and also in this menu you have the option to view that Recently Added row at the top of the window, which we saw here. But you can come in here and uncheck that to not show that row. Or you can turn it back on and then define how long recently is with this menu here. So I might be the only one to see the music that I've added in the last three months. All right, the next viewing category here is Artists.
Now to me, this is one of the most convenient views because instead of having to scroll through a long list of individual songs, we instead get a list of all the artists in our library in this left pane. Selecting an artist shows you all the albums and songs you have by that artist. So here I can scroll through Radiohead's albums and see the artwork and track listing for each one. Now in this view, clicking this menu up here allows me to do things like adjust the artwork size. And I can also choose how the albums are sorted.
So for insatnce, I can change this from title to year, to see the albums sorted in chronological order. So that's how to view your library by songs, albums and artists. Now the other two categories here, I'm guessing most people don't use as often. Composers is probably gonna be more convenient if you have a lot of classical music in your library. And I don't know too many people who prefer to browse by genre, but if that's something you wanna do, you have that option available. This of course depends on making sure you've entered accurate genre information about each track, or that others have, if you've downloaded the information about songs from the Internet, which we'll see how to do later.
All right, so that's how to browse your library when My Music is selected up here. Now another way you might want to look through your library is by selecting Playlists. This is where you'll find both regular and smart playlists, as well as the default playlists that appears in iTunes, such as 90s Music, Recently Added, Recently Played, and so on. We'll look at playlists in their own upcoming movie, but for now, just know that this is another way to browse your library. Also, if you've used previous versions of iTunes and you miss navigating your library with the sidebar in the left, here you can select Music, and then use the menu here on the right again to choose how to display the content.
This works very much like the views under My Music, but having Playlists selected allows this pane to stay on the left the entire time. And again, you'll probably feel most comfortable in this view if you're used to how iTunes used to work in the past. And I do want to mention one more way to browse your music here. I'll make sure Songs is selected here, and then under the View menu, I'll select Column Browser, and Show Column Browser. The keyboard command for this is command b on the Mac, or control shift b on Windows. Now if you don't see the menu bar on Windows, press control b to show it.
But what the Column Browser does is give you the ability to start with a Genre and then select an Artist, and then select an Album. And you can see that narrows down the songs that appear here. Generally these columns will be all you need to efficiently browse for songs, but if you're into classical music, you might want to go back to the View menu to Column Browser and turn on the Composers Column. So there's yet another way to browse your music library. I'm just gonna hide the Column Browser again for now though.
So the two main ways to view and play the music stored locally on your computer are from the My Music and Playlists tabs. Now the other three, Match, Radio, and iTunes Store have to do with online services, and we'll get to each of them on their own. Now I don't have other types of content in my library yet, but again, if I go to Movies, we'll see that we have a different set of headings here. We have My Movies, Unwatched, Playlists, and iTunes Store, which I think are pretty self-explanatory. Now the same thing goes for the other categories. If I select Audiobooks, we see My Audiobooks, Playlists, and iTunes Store.
If I select TV, we see My TV Shows, Unwatched, Playlists, and iTunes Store. So basically each time you'll first select the main category here on the left, and then the tabs along the top let you either browse local content, or go online to find more content. I'll just go back to Music for now. And that's how to navigate your iTunes library. Next we'll look more closely at the options that are available when you're actually playing your content.
- Differences between the Mac and Windows versions of iTunes
- Using the playback controls
- Importing music and videos
- Consolidating your library
- Finding duplicate songs
- Playing music, playlists, and radio
- Sharing and streaming content
- Purchasing content from the iTunes Store