Live beginners, want to graduate to Live ninja? Sample pack maker Infrasonik has posted a video that walks you through a number of shortcuts for Ableton’s software. (Via wire to the ear and Synthtopia; I agree with Synthtopia that the narration is a bit cheesy at moments, but yes, it’s still quite useful to have!)

I do find that video, while friendly, can be the least efficient way of getting at information. So here are the shortcuts in text form. These were also in Mac form, so I’ve provided Windows “translation”:

  • Option-F11 (PC: F11 alone): Full screen mode
  • Option-Cmd-B (PC: Ctrl-Alt-B): Open/close browser (and arrow keys scroll).
  • Shift-TAB (PC: TAB alone): Switches between Arrange View and Session View (the linear track view and live performance-oriented clip view, respectively).
  • Shift-SPACE: Starts/stops playback at the current playhead position; i.e., it’s a pause function. (SPACE alone starts at the beginning of the song.)
  • Cmd-1,2,3,4 (PC: Ctrl-1,2,3,4): Adjusts the active quantization grid in current clips while editing. This one is really essential, of course.
  • Cmd-arrow keys (PC: Ctrl-1,2,3,4): Controls Loop Region length. This really speeds up editing in a big way. Up/down uses a large increment (doubling/halving), whereas the right and left arrow keys use a small increment.
  • Cmd-D (PC: Ctrl-D): Duplicate (and it duplicates everything, so it’s handy in Session View)
  • Cmd-I (PC: Ctrl-I): Insert silence
  • Cmd-B (PC: Ctrl-B): Draw Mode – essential for being able to switch between drawing and selection in clip piano roll, envelopes, etc.
  • Shift-Cmd-I (PC: Ctrl-Cmd-I): Capture and Insert Scene. This cleans up your set by taking combinations and automatically inserting them in scenes.

(Okay, yeah, I sometimes call it the “Apple” key, but technically, that hasn’t been its name since the Apple II. Really. The sound of “open Apple – X” still makes me sigh with nostalgia, though.)

If you want all the keyboard shortcuts in Live, they’re in the Live manual. Choose Help > Read the Live Manual… and you’ll find it as the last chapter, chapter 28. But Infrasonik did a terrific job of picking out all the best ones, including some that even us old-hat Live users might have forgotten. (Yeah, I’ll admit is. I didn’t know about Capture and Insert Scene.)

Show those Canadian gurus some love:


More Live Tutorials

Still want more Ableton Live knowledge? Oliver Chessler at Wire to the Ear has thoughtfully assembled a YouTube playlist of helpful Live tutorials. You may have seen some before, but it’s nice to have them all in one place. Because it’s a playlist, you can just scroll through via the player below. Enjoy:

And for still more Live wisdom, Ableton just posted an interview with Hot Chip in which they talk about how they use the tool. (Via Sonic State.)