The Windows Key

Pro Tools Shortcuts: The Windows Key

The Windows key (or Start key) is a bit of an odd key. It goes unused in our daily computing life for the most part. A lot of really useful shortcuts are attached to it though. I thought I would take a look at the Windows key and some of the shortcuts used with it. I am not looking to explain EVERY shortcut, just some of the ones that I find to be more unique or extremely helpful.

Sending a track output to multiple destinations

To route a track to multiple destinations not using a buss send is one of the “hidden” features it seems. On the output selector of the desired track, hold down the Windows key and select the Second (and any additional) output you would like the signal to go to.  A "+" will show on the output indicating that there are multiple output destinations selected. You must hold down the Windows key again to deselect an output.

To keep with the Pro Tools shortcut paradigm, holding Shift and Alt along with the Windows Key will let you simultaneously select (or deselect) the output of all selected tracks.

Move a clip vertically without changing the start point

When in any mode (particularly "Slip Mode") you may want to move a clip up or down in the mix window, while not moving its start point. Hold down the Windows key and drag the file up and down. It will “lock” it from being able to do any horizontal movement. With midi notes, the same function is the Shift key.

Have a clip jump to the cursor location

One of the features I find that not many know about, is the ability to make a clip jump to a specified location. This is particularly helpful in arranging drums and duplicating sections of a song for instance.

There are 2 forms of this shortcut.

  1. Will MOVE a clip to the cursor location.
  2. Will DUPLICATE a clip and place it on the cursor location

The other notable mention on this shortcut is that the cursor does NOT have to be on the track that you are moving the clip on. So if say you have your toms already cut up on the timeline and you want to nudge a tom to hit with the kick, you could:

  1. Tab to transient on your kick track to get to the start of the hit
  2. Hold down the Windows key
  3. Using the grabber tool, click on the tom
  4. The start of the tom clip will line up on the timeline with the cursor

The second (Duplication) method is:

  1. hold the Windows key + Alt
  2. click on a clip with the grabber tool
  3. The selected clip will be duplicated and line up with the cursor

If you would like the end of the clip to line up with the cursor instead of the start of the clip, hold down The Windows key + Ctrl. This applies to both the move and duplicate methods.

Duplicate backwards

To duplicate a file backwards, give it the 3 finger salute!! Ctrl + Windows key + Alt. Select the clip you want to duplicate backwards and then hold Ctrl + Windows key + Alt and click on the clip with the grabber tool. The end of the new clip will line up with the start of the clip that is being duplicated.

Shift a track back in time

To move a track backwards in similar respect to the duplicate backwards function, select the clip, hold the Windows key + Ctrl and click on the clip with the grabber tool. The end of clip will now move to where the start of the clip is located.

EQ III bandpass filter

With EQ III you can quickly narrow in on a frequency. It starts by holding the Shift + Windows key. From here you have a couple options.

  1. Click on the Q of the frequency band you want and it will solo the band. Continue to hold the shortcut keys and then you can move the frequency band to sweep.
  2. Click on the "dot" in the graphic representation window and sweep it left and right to sweep the frequency.

The Shortcuts In Action

I've also created this video below to demonstrate the shortcuts in action as well as a few more tidbits of information.

Again, I did not want to tackle everything, just some of the great shortcuts that I see skipped or not as well known as some of the others.

Feel free to let us know if you think maybe we skipped something or your ideas on the shortcuts above.

Please also check out our growing list of other Pro Tools Tutorials here.

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