part 1 _ part 2 _ part 3

more shortcuts I find useful that I have found fewer producers use than ought. the focus here is on basic controls in ableton. these are some of the most essential, if most simple, shortcuts in live that every user should know and be using. 

mute tracks

fn + f1, f2, f3, etc. (f1, f2, f3, etc.)

how often do you need to quickly mute something to get reference of the rest of the song? doing so allows for quick discovery of part variations as new sections can often be created by just muting one or two existing tracks.

you can quickly mute and unmute tracks 1-8 with the function keys. mind that if you have tracks in groups, even if they are collapsed, they are still considered to be in the order they are in.

ablwton best shortcuts OS X mute tracks ableton


cmd + j (ctrl + j)

truly one of my favorite audio production tools. there are gobs of ways to use this creatively: you can split clips into new loops, "render" out a warp setting or transposition modulation, etc. one thing that you should never forget is you can consolidate silence. so if you load in a kick & want it to loop on the quarter note, you can consolidate the tiny clip containing the sample & silence up to the next beat to have a kick drum sample that lasts exactly one quarter note long. just note that a newly consolidated clip will default to unlooped so just press that loop button & you're good to go!

remember this works for both midi & audio clips. audio can't be consolidated while the track is playing but midi can join clips without stopping the transport. 

consolidate cmd j abwton ableton shortcuts

split clip

cmd + e (ctrl + e)

splitting clips is par for the course when working in ableton, but if you didn't know the shortcut you should - I find it absolutely essential. notice that you can also select a portion of your clip and create breaks on either side, effectively isolating the selection. this is actually my preferred method for automating volume: you can remove a single word or syllable from a vocal or a drum hit from a beat and adjust its gain, transpose, or even change warp mode - incredibly fast and useful. remember than you can reconsolidate (cmd  (ctrl) + j) your clips back together if it starts to feel disorganized and all of the clip adjustments will be "saved" into the new clip.

ableton split clip favorite shortcuts


cmd + d (ctrl + d)

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. that is, if there is silence in the selection you are duplicating & audio in the space it will land on post-duplication, that existing audio will be present between the duplicated clips. this is rarely desirable, so delete any audio your duplication might "land" on first.

8 duplicate (cmd + d).gif

open preferences

cmd + , (ctrl + ,)

cmd + , gives you quick access to the preferences on nearly every  application, ableton included. handy for making quick changes to buffer size, for example.

open preferences osx ableton live


cmd + shift + u ctrl + shift + u)

you can quantize with cmd (ctrl) + u but if you want control over the settings you'll want to add shift. this will pop up a dialog box that will allow you to determine the division & amount that transients will quantize to. keep in mind this will set settings for all future shiftless quantizations hereforth until you make another adjustment to the settings. works for both midi and warped audio. 

quantize midi & quantize audio ableton keyboard shortcut

group devices

cmd + g (ctrl +g)

cmd (ctrl) + g does a lot of things and undoubtedly you're already using it for this and grouping tracks. once together, you can take advantage of macro knobs & chains & collapse them if the detail view gets too cluttered. one of the best features of ableton in my opinion.

group devices group tracks ableton

deactivate (anything?)


just about anything that is deactivatable can be deactivated by selecting it and pressing 0 (zero). this can be really useful for a-b'ing a device or track.

map modes

cmd + m, cmd + k (ctrl + m, ctrl + k)

if you're using controllers, it's very useful to know these shortcuts to not have to move your mouse all about your screen and break your workflow. I cover key mapping in depth here.

key map mode shortcut ableton live

that's it for part 3. remember there are two other volumes you can check out below. if you enjoyed this series, make sure to have a look for at this simple hack for making your own keyboard shortcuts in live. thanks for reading!


vol.1 _ vol.2 _ vol.3