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More Pro Tools Keyboard Shortcuts

Shortcuts save me a ton of time and they’re no secret but it’s nice to have a list right in front of you to reference from time to time. Here are some I use on a daily basis…

The A...Z Key (located top right, next to your regions bin in PT 8)

The A...Z Key in Pro Tools

I use the A…Z feature a lot. If you’ve never used it, give it a try. Basically A…Z lets you perform functions with a single key…
E = Zoom to selection

R = Zoom Out

T = Zoom In

A = Trim in (everything in the region left of the cursor gets deleted)

S = Trim out (everything in the region right of the cursor gets deleted)

D = Fade in

F = Crossfade (handy if you have several regions you’d like to fade in and out. Just highlight all the regions you’d like to top and tail with a fade and press F. This will batch process your selection)

G = Fade Out

B = Separate region at cursor

Z = Undo

X = Cut

C = Copy

V = Paste

N = Toggles “insertion follows timeline” option. This key allows you to basically choose if your cursor is replaced at the stopping point after playback or if it remains at the starting point. At times this can be a really annoying feature.

P = moves your cursor to the next track up (or your selection, which is great for trimming two regions to the same exact size).

; = Moved your cursor to the next track down (ditto on the selection part).

Up in the number keys on the alpha keyboard if you press the hyphen/underscore key you can toggle your volume automation view on and off.

Need to get to a marker quickly? Press period marker number period on your number pad. For example, if you have dropped a few markers (drop a marker by pressing the enter key on your number pad) and you’d like to get to marker number 3 you would press .3. and the play head will jump to that marker.

The Option Key – adding this key to a shortcut combination usually performs reverse of the intended action. For example: Shift+Tab will select from the cursor forward (either to the next region or the next transient if you have tab-to-transient enabled). But just throw option into the mix.. Option+Shift+Tab the selection will move to the left of the cursor on your timeline. You’ll even notice, if you have your trim tool active over a region, pressing the option key will reverse the direction of the tool while the key is held down.

UNDO/REDO – Everyone knows Command Z is undo. In Pro-Tools (and a few other apps) pressing SHIFT+COMMAND+Z will REDO what you just undid. Haha… a little confusing to type. I use this a lot when I have applied an AudioSuite effect to something and I’m not sure I like it… I will listen to the effect in the mix and then undo it and listen again prior to the effect being added. If I decided I liked it better effected, rather than going to the plug-in and reprocessing the effect I will just redo it by pressing shift+command+Z. Makes it a very quick ‘love it/hate it’ tool.

There are many many shortcuts in Pro Tools; these are just a few I use frequently. I would be here all night if I typed them all out so feel free to post your favorites here for others to share.

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eh.. interesting


Do you have those keyboard presets saved? if so, would you mind sending them to me? thanks man
- Jeff


Hey Jeff, they’re specially programmed or anything – they’re built right in to Pro Tools as long as you have the A…Z button selected in your edit window. Definitely a cool feature.

graham answerth


I still can’t get the cursor to stay where I stopped play. You suggest I guess anyway as you are not specific enough, that Control N does the trick. It doesn’t, it opens a new session.
I hate shortcuts. Where do I find “insertion follows playback”? It is not in OPTIONS nor in the Help manual, nor in my $100 book. Surely such a simple task. If I just press N, nothing happens.

Any suggestions are welcome as it is a real pain when editing etc. Why is protools so convoluted? I am a teacher and my students don’t misinterpret my very specific instructions.


Graham Answerth


It is not control N… it’s simply the N key. Your A…Z feature must be turned on for this one-touch key to work. Shortcuts can save you a ton of time my friend, it would be unwise to swear them off. The option IS in your preferences under the operations tab. Here’s how to access it:
Click SETUP –> PREFERENCES. Click the Operation tab. The very first option under the transport section says “Timeline insertion/Play Start Marker Follows Playback.” This should be UNCHECKED if you want the cursor to remain where you clicked. If you want to cursor to be moved to your stopping point then it should be checked.

Hope that helps!


what do you do it your option number pad short cuts arent working and your command S isnt saving?


Christian, hard to say without seeing what all is going on in your session but the culprit for stealing focus away from your shortcuts tends to be a plug-in with a value field active. For example, the gain number entry on the gain plug-in. Or some other field on a lot of plug-ins that allow you to type in a specific value. Generally if you press enter on the number pad after you type something in it locks the value. Also, I have noticed that ProTools 8 likes to just lose focus of shortcut keys in general.. so my solution has been to click the title bar of the mix window, then click the title bar of the edit window (to kind of trick pt into seeing I want to focus on the edit window again).
Usually works for me. I have never seen command S stop saving unless the app is not responding or protools cannot read the permissions of the audio drive. Otherwise a dialog window could be open that you’ve overlooked (like an error window or something) which will not let you make any changes until it has been confirmed.
If these issues persist after rebooting I’d think to trash your preferences and verify your disk permissions. Can’t hurt.
Good luck!


Great list.. I like the short-cuts listed ‘A’ and ‘S’.

I love the PERIOD 1 PERIOD to get to Marker 1, do you a way to do this on a Macbook Pro i7 with no numeric keypad?


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