(sonicArts) working with audio regions in logic, more keyboard shortcuts

and more preferences/workspace setups

Be sure to visit the advanced tools setting in program preferences (Logic Pro X > Preferences > Advanced Tools…) and turn on Show Advanced Tools. Once you do that, make sure all options listed in the window are checked. If you run Logic without Advanced Tools, looks and acts like Garage Band.

Also be sure in File > Project Settings > General… that you turn off show musical grid. We’re working in real time (hh:mm:ss.ms), so our edit ruler should show real time. In the main window, above the tracks display, you have an option to change the time display. In the left of the time display window you will see a symbol that matches what format of time is being displayed by the counter (musical, real, SMPTE, etc.). Choose to display real time.

video demonstrations

Ball State students can download two lecture videos that I made that walk you through everything in this post. (right-click or control-click, and choose Save Link As…)


working with audio regions

To create an independent region (one that you can edit the length of independently of other regions in tracks), either

  • <option> + <mousedrag> a region already in a track, to some other location. This procedure makes a copy of the region, but as a new, independent region.
  • select a region within the file browser, then from the browser menus, Audio File > Add Region. This procedure also makes a copy as a new region, but within the File Browser.
  • select a region within the file browser, then use the keyboard shortcut <control> + < r > to do the same as the previous procedure.
  • use the marquee tool to select a portion of the region and either click delete or use the pointer to click on the selected audio. (see the marquee tool section below)

The pointer tool has additional, secondary functions that can be used without switching tools, enabling you to create fades without switching tools.

  • to create a fade, <shift> + <control> + <mousedrag> from within a region where you want the fadeout to start (or fadein to end), and then drag to outside the region.
  • to adjust the curve of a fade, hold down <shift> + <control> while clicking on the middle part of a curve (or lower), and drag in either direction.
  • to adjust the length of a fade, hold down <shift> + <control> while clicking on the top of the fade, and drag in either direction.
  • you can also create a crossfade with the same technique by dragging across the end/beginning of two adjoining regions.

The marquee tool (crosshair) is used for selecting a portion of a region, to all of a region, to more than one contiguous region in the same or adjacent tracks

  • selecting an area within a region (or within adjacent regions) and hitting <delete> will remove the selected audio and create new regions for the remaining audio and the deleted audio.
  • selecting an area within a region with the marquee tool, and then clicking on the selected area with the pointer tool will create a new region from the selected audio. This action is like using the scissor tool, but allows you to set the beginning and end slices at one time.


You can turn the pointer tool into a pro tools-like multi-tool that responds in a context/position-sensitive manner.

  • in Logic Pro X > Preferences > General, subtab Edit, select “Pointer Tool in Tracks Provides:” and check “Fade Tool click zones” and “Marquee Tool click zones.”
  • with your cursor tool positioned in the upper half of a region you get the pointer tool, and positioned in the lower half of a region you get the marquee tool. You will see the tool change as you hover and move over the region.
  • click and drag from the top part of a region edge to create a fade. Move lower on the edge and you still have loop and trim tools.
  • you can also move your cursor down the line of the fade until it changes to <- -> and adjust the curve of the fade.

Remember that with any of the ways that you can create a fade, you can also create a crossfade between two regions. You also need for the audio regions to be the display in the tracks, not automation. You can turn the display of automation on and off by typing < a >.

automatic crossfades

You can also set up Logic to automatically create crossfades by selecting the X-Fade option in the Drag menu (immediately above the tracks, either displayed as “Drag” or as a Gear symbol).

  • when placing a region in a position that overlaps another region, a crossfade will be created automatically. It can be a little difficult to see the crossfade indication sometimes, as a dotted line showing the end of the overlapped region also displays. Also, crossfades generated in this manner appear to be limited in length. You can drag one region or the other and the crossfade adjusts itself.

file bookkeeping

It is always helpful to keep your files in order. In the file browser you have various ways of sorting audio files and audio regions. I prefer to sort files by name (alphabetical). Regions will stay with files. In the Project Files browser, choose View > Files Sorted by > Name.

keyboard shortcuts for changing tools

If trying to keep track of left-click, right-click, command-click gets awkward, you can use use a keyboard shortcut to change tools.

  • type < t > while working in the main (tracks) window. A floating menu pops up with the list of tools that can be assigned to the left-mouse-click. You will see that the list has a keyboard shortcut key for each tool, listed to the right of each tool name.
  • learn the keyboard shortcuts for the pointer tool and the pencil tool, as both are helpful in adding automation. < t > for pointer; < 2 > for pencil. So to assign a tool to the left-mouse-click takes a two-stroke sequence:
    • < t > then < t > for the pointer tool
    • < t > then < 2 > for the pencil tool

Assuming you have click zones turned on for fades and marquee, you now have quick access to the pointer, trim, loop, fade, marquee, and pencil tools, without having to click on a menu.


One response to “(sonicArts) working with audio regions in logic, more keyboard shortcuts”

  1. […] pencil tool will draw an empty region. With the multitool capabilities enabled as described in a previous post, you can move your cursor along the right edge of a region to loop or change the region length. […]

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