Whether you're mixing tracks for the next great album or you're laying audio down for your self-produced podcast, Pro Tools gives you the most powerful software audio system in the world. It's also pretty complex, which means if you don't know the system you can spend more time digging through tool listing and self-help books trying to identify control features.
You don't have time for all that. The less time you spend sifting through varying control panels in the software the more time you'll spend actually editing and cutting your audio production. The best way to improve productivity is to take advantage of hotkeys in Pro Tools.
The great thing about these hotkeys is the buttons remain consistent not only from Mac to PC but between software versions and updates.
The modern Mac has different functions for the "F" keys (such as F2 or F5, for example). When the hotkey requires the use of one of these "F" buttons, you'll need to hold down the Function (fn) key and then push down on the designated "F" button. The "fn" key is found in the lower left corner of your Mac keyboard.
The hotkey commands are similar between Mac and Windows computers. However, with a Mac computer, you'll hold down "Command" while with a Windows computer you'll hold down the "Ctrl" button instead. The other combination keys are all the same.
The basic function hotkeys are those commands you'll only need to use one or two buttons to perform. These are also likely some of the more common commands and functions you use throughout the course of your audio editing.
These are the basic hotkeys you'll want to learn first. There are literally hundreds of hotkey combinations within Pro Tools, so attempting to learn all of the hotkeys at once will make it challenging to remember anything and it may end up causing you to drop in productivity instead of gain time back in the production process.
Once you have these particular hotkeys down then you can move on to more complex hotkeys.
With the previous hotkeys mastered, you'll now be able to start adding in these second-tier hotkeys. Depending on what kind of audio production you do, you may find you use these multiple times throughout a single track, or you may never use them at all.
The more advanced hotkeys are those hotkeys you'll likely only use when you really get in deep with Pro Tools.
Outside of advanced audio mixing, you may never need to know these hotkeys, or you may only perform the action once in a while. Additionally, on top of these hotkeys, there are dozens of more options, so if you master these advanced hotkeys and want to know more, you can turn to the (extremely large) instructional book that comes with Pro Tools.
There are also three and four button hotkeys, some of which differ between Mac and Windows. In the instructions, the first listed button is for Mac while the second listed is for Windows (such as Command/Ctrl is Mac/Windows).
The fast you memorize these hotkeys, the more time you’ll save producing your audio files. If you find yourself struggling to remember the keys, you can purchase hotkey stickers for your computer.
These are button overlays that go right over your keyword keys. It retains the letter/symbol of the key but also indicates the Pro Tools symbol as well (for one-key hotkeys).
However, you decide to go about it, start using these hotkeys in your daily audio production. You’ll find you finish more in the same amount of time.