As you start to get to grips with Pro Tools, is the best time to learn to use the Smart Tool. Without the Smart Tool you are forever diving up to the tool bar to change from the Selector Tool, Grabber Tool, Trim Tool and so on. Not only does this take time but also the more mouse work you do, the higher the risk of RSI complications especially if you work with Pro Tools for long stretches. If you do use the Smart Tool you will find the routine editing and manipulating in Pro Tools will be much easier and quicker too.
The Smart Tool works by changing the tool depending where you are on a track. To activate the Smart Tool click on the linking bar above the three main tool buttons in the toolbar.
With the Smart Tool now on, to use the Selector tool, make sure the cursor is above the centre line of the track you are working on and you will see the cursor becomes the ‘I’ icon.
To use the Grabber Tool make sure the cursor is below the centre line of your track, you will see the cursor change to a ‘hand’.
To access the Trim tool using the Smart Tool place the cursor near a clip boundary near the middle of the track and you will see that the cursor changes to the sideways staple.
But we are not done with the Smart Tool yet! If you place the cursor near the beginning of a clip and near the top of the track then you will see that the cursor changes to this little box with a diagonal line through it which shows that you will create a ‘Fade in’, click, hold and drag the mouse and you will see an outline of the fade on the track
When you let go Pro Tools will create a Fade file. Similarly if you place the cursor near the end of a clip and near the top of a track Pro Tools will offer you the option to create a Fade Out
But there is still more! If you place the cursor near a clip boundary between two clips near the bottom of the track Pro Tools will offer you the option to create a crossfade, again click, hold and drag the mouse out to create a crossfade of the desired duration
The shape of all the fades is set by the default fades settings, which you can find in the Editing tab of the Preferences that you can get to from either the Setup or the Pro Tools menus in Pro Tools.