Flo Tools is a series of scripts for use in Pro Tools running on the Mac platform, that allow users with visual impairments to navigate and control the application in new and powerful ways. Flo Tools is an open source product consisting of a series of UI scripts for Apple's VoiceOver designed to enhance the accessibility of Pro Tools for visually-impaired users by streamlining and automating tasks to dramatically improve workflows.
The History Of Flo Tools
Flo Tools was first developed as a concept by Chi Kim and Rocco Fiorentino, in the Assistive Music Technology Lab at Berklee College of Music. After the initial project at Berklee was completed, Slau Halatyn joined the team, and the group have continued to work together developing the scripts outside of the classroom.
The team have acknowledged Chi Kim for his countless hours of creative scripting, to Rocco Fiorentino for his scripting contributions and writing of documentation, and to Slau Halatyn, for his invaluable feedback and expert knowledge in Pro Tools and they sincerely hope Flo Tools will enhance the workflow of Pro Tools users with visual impairments.
Keyboard Maestro To The Rescue
Flo Tools relies on a third party program called Keyboard Maestro to perform it’s functions.
Keyboard Maestro contains some default macro groups that conflict with common Mac OS keyboard shortcuts. These are found in the switcher group, and clipboard group, and can be disabled by selecting the group, then selecting the “Enable/disable Group” button.
Keyboard Maestro is limited by a 30-day trial period. After this time, a purchase of a one-time license is required to continue using the program, and subsequently, Flo Tools.
Using Flo Tools
Auditory Feedback: Flo Tools uses 2 distinct sounds to provide auditory feedback when it is performing a task.
- The first is This Sound, which tells a user that something has been toggled, such as solo on and off.
- The second is This Sound, which signals that something is in process and the user needs to wait for Flo Tools to complete a task. An example of this would be deselecting all tracks in a large session.
Commands: Flo Tools has two groups of commands.
- The first, called “Flo Tools”, is always active, and applies to the entire session.
- The second group, called “Flo Tools Inspector”, is active by default, but can be toggled on and off. The inspector only applies to an individual track.
Download Flo Tools
The zip file for Flo Tools can be downloaded directly from here. It will automatically decompress itself into a folder on Mac OS.