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this is the second part of a three-part series on keyboard shortcuts. if you haven't checked out vol.1, do so here. this edition is primarily focused on effeciency for common tasks in arrangement view. you can perform these options many ways, but the keyboard shortcuts are certainly the fastest.

 
 

show fades: cmd + option + f (ctrl + alt + f)

fades are a valuable tool. not just for seamlessly joining clips and transparently bringing tracks in and out of a song, they're also a necessary utility for removing pops from the start of your clips if the endpoints aren't on a zero-crossing. I also love to use fades as a crossfade to smoothly blend between two different amplitudes when I'm using split clips to automate volume, but the uses are myriad & in many ways obvious - the shortcut itself is all that may be elusive.

 
 
ableton live best shortcuts insert fades cmd option f
 
 

duplicate time: cmd + shift + d (ctrl + shift + d)

this is my main method for expanding loops & sections & creating variations. just duplicate a few bars over and make adjustment to the patterns and sounds and you've got a b-section! 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.

 
 
top ableton live shortcut duplicate time cmd shift d
 
 

paste time: cmd + shift + v (ctrl + shift + v)

there is no "copy time" because paste time will insert just the right amount of time for whatever is in the clipboard (regardless of what is copied) & paste it there between your existing clips.

 
 
ableton live paste time cmd shift v
 
 

insert tracks: cmd + t & cmd + shift + t (ctrl + t and ctrl + shift + t)

I recommend just drag & dropping midi instruments & samples in blank space but this is needed for creating new tracks squeezed between the existing ones. think that scene in harry potter when they go to that secret hiding headquarters, you know the one.

 
 
insert audio track insert midi track ableton live shortcut
 
 

create midi clip: cmd + shift + m (ctrl + shift + t)

creates a midi clip to the exact size of your current selection in arrangement mode. often I prefer to duplicating existing clips & modifying them when composing with midi but I find myself frequently creating a new one or two bar loop via this shortcut & wanted to include it for it's usefulness.

 
 
create a midi clip in ableton live how to
 
 

grid shortcuts: cmd + 1, 2, 3, 4 (ctrl + 1,2,3,4)

live's grid makes it very easy to lock all your samples and clips together, so being able to manipulate this scaffolding can be paramount - here's what the grid shortcuts can do:

  • cmd (ctrl) + 1 - narrows the grid
  • cmd (ctrl) + 2 - widens the grid
  • cmd (ctrl) + 3 - enables triplets
  • cmd (ctrl) + 4 - turns off the grid
 
 
resizing ableton grid shortcuts keyboard OS X
 
 

global quantization: cmd + 0 & cmd + 9 (ctrl + 0 & cmd + 9)

global quantization is great when you want to move around your track or launch clips in time. this is perfect for playing live but in the studio & can add tedious wait times. use these shortcuts to turn global quantization on & off as appropriate.

 
 
ableton live best keyboard shortcuts global quantization
 
 

exclusive arm/solo: cmd + click (ctrl + click)

the function of this shortcut will depend on your settings in the record/warp/launch section of the preferences. if you have exclusive arm and solo enabled, cmd (ctrl) + clicking these in the mixer will allow you to arm or solo multiple tracks. if exclusive arm and solo are not enabled, this will allow you to to simultaneously disarm or desolo all other tracks but the one you click.

 
 
best ableton live keyboard shortcuts exclusive arm & solo
 
 

render selection: cmd + shift + r (ctrl + shift + r)

one of the nicest features added in recent updates was the option to export all tracks as individual audio files. this makes rendering out stems dead simple & fast as all get out. remember that the export function defaults to rendering only what is selected in arrangement mode.

 
 
render selection ableton live keyboard shortcut OS X
 
 

thats it for vol.2. be sure to check out vol.3 for another round of essential keyboards for ableton live!

vol.1 _ vol.2 _ vol.3