It's no secret I'm a fan of efficiency. In a robust program like Live, there are often multiple ways to perform the same function. Just think of adding a new track: you can do so via the shortcut (cmd + t), the "create" menu, the context menu, dragging an audio clip into the empty space beside your existing track, & so on. There is a tendency to become complacent with a single way of doing things & not look for alternatives, even if they are potentially better or faster. Here I detail some speedier methods for processes you likely already perform in every production.

transfer to new scenes

There are lots of reasons why you would want to use both Live's arrangement & session views as they each have unique advantages. Moving clips into arrangement mode is a fairly straightforward process, but it can be a drag to cut & drag clips out of arrangement view. You need not fret, however - there's a really fast way to do this via the loop bracket.

how to transfer clips to arrangement mode in ableton live

Set the loop bracket to the length of the section you want to transfer, right click to open the context menu, & select "consolidate time to new scene." As if by magic, your clips will appear in session view, cropped and in perfect loops, without affecting your composition in arrangement view. this is invaluable for preparing for a live set & a great that you don't need to make a mess in your arrangement to do so.

multi-clip warp

Recording with multiple mics & multitracking are essential studio techniques, but it would be far too much a pain to adjust the transients of multiple clips if the timing is a bit off on the whole part. When I first started producing, I would normally wait until the mix of my track was finished before I bounced down my drums to a single track & adjust the timing then. While it was difficult to consider how the mix would sound when the mistakes were corrected, I felt it was worth it to have the freedom to process the individual microphones for as long as possible. As it happens, you don't need to make that compromise with multi-clip warping.

multi clip warp

The clips need to be exactly the same length for this to work, so you may have to consolidate them together to start. After that, just select all the clips & adjust the warp markers as normal to affect the the timing in all tracks. I've covered this technique before, & if you want to learn a few more warping tricks check out this post on 5 lesser-known things on warping.

copy value to siblings

When working with chains & grouped devices, you might find yourself adjusting the same parameters in the same or similar way multiple times. For example, if you raise the release of an oscillator's envelope, you may want to make the same release on the envelope of a layered synth to match those times. If you're working with Ableton native devices, you can do this in a snap via the context menu option "copy value to siblings". This will allow you to copy the values of grouped native instruments & effects, operator's oscillators, drum racks, & more.

3. copy values to siblings.gif

If you find "copy value to siblings" valuable, you'll definitely want to take advantage of "map to all siblings" as well. With a single option in the context menu, you can map the same parameter in every parallel device in your group to the same macro knob. In a large drum rack, this could save hundreds of clicks opening, right clicking, & mapping the same value over and over again in the different pads.

map to all siblings ableton live

You can enable this indispensable option by typing "-EnableMapToSiblings" into the options.txt file, which you can find on your machine here: 

mac os x: /Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Ableton/Live x.x.x/

windows: \Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Ableton\Live x.x.x\Preferences\

You can find out more about options.txt on sonicbloom.

metronome count-in

If you're doing any live tracking in your production, the metronome is an important tool to help you or your performer stay on time. depending on your composition, a count-in can prove essential for recording certain sections but when it's unnecessary it can be an annoyance preventing you from jumping right to the track. Given this, you'll probably dig through the preferences to turn on & off this option a few times during a session & this in itself can prove to be an aggravating process. This is how I did it for ages, at any rate, until I learned there's an easy way to change the count-in just below the surface of Live's GUI.

count in ableton live

Just click the arrow next to the metronome to quickly turn on & off the count-in as needed without breaking the flow of your session. It's a simple fix for a simple problem but the more you can streamline your workflow the more you can stay focused on the music.

hot swap presets

Presets are a great starting place because they let you preview the approximate sound of a given effect or instrument. Because of this, you probably want to trial multiple settings to see which gets you closest to your desired sound before you start tweaking values.


Conveniently, activating hot swap (via a click of the symbol or press of the q key) will snap the browser to the current device's presets so you can move through & trial them with the arrow keys & enter. Within a few seconds you can listen through the list & hear what the device is capable of for your sound.


Of course, the traditional way to speed up common & repetitious tasks is through the use of shortcuts. I can go on & on about these, & I have: you can check out my series on the 30 best keyboard shortcuts in live or the complete animated, annotated guide to ableton live shortcuts to learn new ways to take advantage of your keyboard.

Here's hoping you learned some techniques for working faster in Live. I think it's key to remove mundanities & inefficiencies from your workflow in order to stay sharply concentrated on the more creative processes of working in audio.