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Quick Tip: Saving Time With Logic's Tools

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This post is part of a series called Creative Session: Productivity for Music Producers.
Quick Tip: How to Be More Productive In the Studio
Quick Tip: Arranging Folders in Logic Pro

The one thing you'll spend a lot of time doing in Logic or any other DAW is swapping tools. Here's a quick tip to get the most out of your mouse clicks in Logic Pro when it comes to tool selection.

Step 1: The Traditional Way

The obvious way to select tools in Logic Pro is to press 'esc' and either select the tool with the mouse or use the keyboard shortcuts assigned to them. These can only be used while the popup menu is open.

toolsPopup

Now there's nothing wrong with doing it like this but I do find it a bit tedious. Also I'm just plain lazy! The main reason is that if your working fast, having all the tools you need under your fingers can really speed things up. It's all about the work flow right!

Tools you never use!

I sometimes wonder why there are tools for Mute (M), Solo (S), and the Eraser (Backspace). These are pretty common key commands and I'd much rather press one key to delete a part than go through the process of selecting the Eraser tool and deleting it.


Step 2: Find a Favorite!

The first step is to find the tool you most need for a specific job. If your editing the 'Scissors' tool is pretty important, if your doing loads of automation then the 'Automation Curve' tool is pretty handy too.

If you look up in the top left you'll see two drop down boxes. The right hand one is for your default tool, usually the 'Pointer' tool. The left hand one can be assigned to the 'Command' key.

leftMouse

Just select the tool you'll most use from the list, in this case the 'Scissors'.

choose

Every time you hit 'Command' that tool will become available, release to return to the default. Much faster than doing the 'esc' thing!

Don't forget this is also available in the 'Piano Roll' window when editing MIDI. Velocity tool anyone!!!!

velocity

You can actually have three of these drop downs if you have 'Right Click' enabled on your mouse. Even Better!


Step 3: Bonus Round!!

This is where it all starts to come together. The most globally used navigation tool is 'Zoom'. You use it all the time right. Well the Zoom tool can be accessed by pressing 'Control + Option'. No need to even go via the 'Tools' pop up menu!

These keys are right beside 'Command' so you now have two really useful tools right next to each other. In fact this part of the keyboard has all your other favorites too! How about 'Save' (Command + S), now I know you use that one...right! How about Undo (Command + Z) or Select All (Command + A) or even Cut, Copy and Paste!

keys

Pressing 'Shift + Control' will also activate the scroll tool. Watch out though it's a bit sensitive!


Step 4: Extra Bonus Round!!!

Logic has one more trick up it's sleeve which can be found in Preferences -> General -> Editing. Checking the box by 'Fade Tool Click Zones' arms the smart pointer.

fadePrefs

This means when you hover over the top left or right hand corners of an audio region it selects the 'Fade' tool automatically!

fadeHover

Just drag left or right to get your fade on!

fadeDrag

Hovering inside the fade area at the top of the region then selects the Fade Curve tool! Just drag to get the curve. Smooth!!! Of course this can also be used for crossfades too!

fadeCurve

Try using the 'Marquee Tool Click Zones' to for extra functionality. This can even replace the 'Scissors' tool assigned to the 'Command' key we did earlier, freeing up an extra tool. try it out!


Conclusion

You now have four really useful tools in the arrange page (Pointer, Scissors, Zoom and Crossfade) at your disposal all within an inch of 'Command + S'. Which is of course the most useful feature in Logic!

Try giving this a go and see if you notice how much faster your workflow is when editing. Don't forget you can change that favorite tool depending on the job at hand. Hope you find it useful!

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