Although there aren’t a huge number of things in the Pro Tools World which begin with U, the Universe window is definitely worth a mention. First introduced in version 8 it provides an overview of your entire timeline in a compact bar at the top of the edit window. I’ve yet to come across many people working in music who use this window very much (if you’re out there please comment) but this is a feature much valued by the post community. In post, sessions are often much longer than in music and also much larger in terms of track count so I suppose its unsurprising that a feature like this is more use to someone navigating a couple of hundred tracks in session of over an hour that it is to me navigating a four minute pop song.
To toggle the universe window in and out of view, use the button at the top right at the end of the top timeline ruler. The Universe window always shows the whole session horizontally and the white box within it shows the current area displayed in the edit window. The box can be grabbed and moved from the universe window and its size updates in real time to reflect the current levels of horizontal and vertical zoom in the edit window.
Although I don’t have an old version of Pro Tools available on which to check this, I’m fairly sure that when creating a session it always opened with the universe open. This is no longer the case in PT 11 and the Edit window opens with the universe either open or closed depending on its state when Pro Tools was last used. If you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to see it. The shortcut to toggle the universe window is Option/Alt+Num7 and it can be opened or closed either by using the button or by placing the cursor over the divide between the Universe and the top of the tracks display and double clicking. The universe can be re-sized in the same way as the side columns.
What was life like without the undo button? Those of use who remember punching tracks in and out of record on a tape machine really appreciate this one. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking many people rely on undo too much. If I'm going to make radical changes to a session I'll save it first. If I'm going to try an experimental edit I’ll duplicate the playlist first. Many people just go for it and then hit CMD+Z over and over… In Pro Tools 10 and earlier there were up to 32 levels of undo. Since Pro Tools 11 this has been increased to 64. Why would anyone ever turn this down? Undo is such a lifesaver but its important to realise that not everything you can do in Pro Tools can be undone using CMD+Z (Ctrl+Z for PC users). Two really important things which spring to mind are deleting a track (can’t be undone. My recommendation is always to hide and make inactive unless you are really, really sure), and edit selections. If you lose an edit selection hitting undo won’t restore it but hitting CMD+Option+Z (Ctrl+Alt+Z) will.