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The Pro Tools Edit Window

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This sample chapter gives you a brief overview of the Pro Tools Edit window — where you'll spend most of your time — and gets you familiar with the Edit modes and Edit tools.
This chapter is from the book

The majority of your time in Pro Tools will be spent in the Edit window. This chapter gives you a brief overview of this window and gets you familiar with the Edit modes and Edit tools. We’ll download and import a few new drum samples as we explore the Edit window’s functionality. At the same time, we’ll begin to delve into Bars and Beats using Grid mode, and start using the Edit modes and tools to place a few drum samples at the correct beats in order to create a custom drum loop.

Exercise 1: Import Audio a New Way

In Pro Tools, there are often several ways to perform similar functions. Just as you may sometimes take the highway to get home, and sometimes the back way, both routes get you where you’re going—but they serve different purposes, as well. As you continue working with Pro Tools, gradually you’ll begin to understand which functions to use when.

There are a few different ways to import audio into Pro Tools, so this time we’ll use another method: importing to the Region bin.

  1. Launch Pro Tools. You should have just the big empty window we started with in Chapter 1. If you already have a Pro Tools session open, save and close the session (rember the 170fig_01.jpg/Alt+Shift+W shortcut).
  2. Download and uncompress new samples. With Pro Tools open, start your Web browser, go to, and click on the Chapter 3 link. Control-click or right-click to download As always, make sure you know the destination location to which you’re downloading these files.

    Uncompress the file; you’ll have a folder containing five samples.

  3. Make a new session. Go back to Pro Tools (you can quit or hide your Web browser if you like), and select File > New Session or use 170fig_01.jpg+N or Ctrl+N. Name your session “Chapter3Tutorial.”

    To make things fast and simple, we’re going to use the default tempo of 120, but feel free to change the tempo in the Transport window to anything you want. Remember that you have to turn off the Conductor icon in order to type in a tempo.

  4. Import to the Region bin. Go to the File menu. Under Import, choose Import Audio to Region List. The shortcut is 170fig_01.jpg+Shift+I (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+I (Win). This places your imported audio into the Region bin, but it’s up to you to create a track and place the audio regions at the correct places.

    Remember, last time we imported audio files, we used the command File > Import Audio to Track. Either way, the same Import Audio window opens.

  5. Choose the samples to import. We’ve seen this window once before, and it’s asking the same question: “Where are the files?” Find where you downloaded your Chapter3Samples folder, and import all five samples by holding down the Shift key and selecting them all. When all five samples are in the bottom-left window (Regions in Current File), click the bottom button, Copy All.
  6. Choose a folder. When you choose Copy All, as opposed to Add All, Pro Tools makes a copy of the audio you’re importing and then conveniently places the copied files into your Audio Files folder. So now you just tell Pro Tools where to put the copies.

  7. Find the samples in the Region bin. You’ll now see all five samples in the Region bin.

    If you don’t see the Region bin in the Edit window, click the tiny arrow at the lower right-hand corner of the window.

The most important items in the Edit window are the four Edit modes and six Edit tools. To start learning to edit, you’ll need to first understand these modes and tools. Let’s start with the Edit tools.

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