the complete animated, annotated guide to ableton live shortcuts - windows

6. editing 

clipboard commands are a mainstay in most productivity software & ableton live is no exception. stick around through the eyeball of the first few obvious shortcuts, the time & automation editing commands are huge if you haven't been aware of them.

cut: ctrl + x

cut windows ableton live shortcut

cut is great, it's like a non-destructive delete. you can remove sounds or clips & load them into the clipboard for future use if necessary.

copy/paste: ctrl + c, ctrl + v

copy paste windows best ableton shortcut

of course, we're all familiar with copy pasta. one thing to keep in mind in ableton, however, is that pasting silence will not override sounds under it. in other words, if you copy a collection of clips with space in between & paste it on top of an existing clip, the old clip will still be in place in the gaps between the pasted clips. you should be aware of this phenomenon, either to use as a compositional tool or to simply prepare for before your paste.

duplicate: ctrl + d

duplicate ableton live shortcut how to

I love duplicate & use it all the time to expand sections & to carry old elements over to new sections. just keep in mind that duplicated silences will not override existing clips, just as above.

delete: delete

delete sample ableton live shortcut

I mostly prefer to use cut for the aforementioned reasons, but there is something satisfying about mashing the big delete button to get rid of something. 

undo/redo: ctrl + z, ctrl + y

undo/redo ableton live keyboard shortcut

just like their cousins copy/paste, undo/redo are as ubiquitous as it is obvious & useful, but these common tools can be combined for a life-saving, time-traveling technique: you can undo super & copy some audio that might have been deleted on accident without disrupting your undo/redo history. this way, you can redo all the way forward & paste the recovered clip into the present. I cover this technique in more detail in my time travel article.

rename: ctrl + r

rename windows keyboard shortcut ableton live

I can't stress labeling enough. you can name you clips & devices, but naming tracks is most important for organizing. not only will you be able to tell what is contained in them at a glance but also all clips created within them will be named after the track name.

select all: ctrl + a

ableton live shortcut select all windows

what I love about ableton is the balance between macro, global control & fine, specific detailed nuance. this command would certainly fall into the former category, but if you struggle with where to go from there, check out my guide to controlling & using big selections.

cut time: ctrl + shift + x

cut time tutorial ableton live keyboard shortcuts windows

cut time is a glorious command. not only does it save you a lot of trouble with moving massive sections of your track, it will also save everything in the deleted section to the clipboard without need to select everything in that section.

paste time: ctrl + shift + v

paste time ableton live keyboard shortcuts windows

paste time will insert just the right amount of time for whatever is in the clipboard & paste it there between your existing clips.

duplicate time: ctrl + shift + d

duplicate time ableton live keyboard shortcuts windows best

I don't know where I'd be without duplicate time. this is my main method for expanding loops & sections & creating variation. I highly recommend getting used to using this. one cool feature is it will expand the loop bracket to accommodate the cloned material if it was duplicated in the loop to begin with.

delete time: ctrl + shift + delete

delete time awesome ableton live keyboard shortcuts windows best

I use delete time all the time when editing podcasts & working on sound design. it can save you ridiculous amounts of time when you want to remove a few bars or full section from your track. it's a very satisfying shortcut indeed.

cut automation: ctrl + alt + x

cut automation clipboard ableton live keyboard shortcuts windows how to

the default clipboard behavior is to edit clips & envelopes as one entity, & this is usually preferred. in some cases, however, you'll want to edit automation independently of its associated automation. you can do so by adding "alt" to the standard clipboard shortcuts. notice when an envelope is deleted, breakpoints are created on either side of the deleted segment. 

copy/paste automation: ctrl + alt + c, ctrl + v

paste automation windows ableton live keyboard shortcut

one thing you should note about copying automation data: once it's stored as independent from clips, it will paste as such, so the alt modifier is not necessary for pasting - a regular cmd + v will do.

duplicate automation: ctrl + alt + d

duplication automation keyboard shortcut automation only