When looking at what to include for the letter N I have noticed a common theme. All of these resources I have linked to have something in common. They are all highlighting common keyboard shortcuts. I think I have said before that my policy on keyboard shortcuts is that they are intended to be “shortcuts” i.e. they speed up the execution of things you do often. There is little point learning a shortcut for something you rarely do (and you’ll find it really hard to remember it as well). So with this in mind here are some N’s (and some shortcuts) I couldn’t get by without.
All sessions have tracks in them. Templates have their place, if you find you are building identical sessions time after time then save a template but if you are new to Pro Tools I strongly recommend you build your own sessions, avoid the stock templates in the quick start dialogue. You can use the newly introduced double-click with modifier to create new tracks but I’ve never really used them as the track creation shortcuts are second nature to me and more flexible.
The number of people who drop out of grid into slip and move clips, notes or automation, effectively guessing where something needs to be amazes me. Nudging offers all the tools you need to place data whether you know exactly where it need to be or not. Learning a couple of shortcuts will take all of the guesswork out of finding exactly where something needs to be to tighten up your arrangement or mix.
All this nudging will have left the people without number pads on their keyboards feeling a bit left out. I can’t use Pro Tools properly without an extended keyboard. If you don’t have one then you should get one, read about why here.
The N Key
Lastly there is the N key itself. With command focus active, pressing the N key toggles “insertion follows playback”. If you ever wonder why Pro Tools sometimes starts playback from the same place over and over again but at other times behaves like a tape machine, playing from where you last stopped it you need to read this Pro Tools Fundamentals article.