Ableton live shortcuts

One of the most important ways to improve your workflow and develop your  expertise on a DAW is to Know Your Shortcuts (KYS). Here are all the Ableton keyboard shortcuts you’ll ever need, probably, you definitely won’t remember them all right away.

If you can’t be bothered reading all this, I highly recommend getting hold of the Editor Keys Ableton shortcut overlays, here’s the one for the MacBook Pro:

 

Ableton Live Keyboard Shortcuts

Showing and Hiding Views

Windows Macintosh
Toggle Full Screen Mode F11 CTRLCMDF
Toggle Second Window CTRLShiftW CMDShiftW
Toggle Session/Arrangement View Tab Tab
Toggle Device/Clip View ShiftTab or F12 ShiftTab or CTRLF12
Hide/Show Detail View CTRLALTL or ShiftF12 CMDALTL or CTRLShiftF12
Toggle Hot-Swap Mode Q Q
Toggle Drum Rack/last-selected Pad D D
Hide/Show Info View Shift? Shift?
Hide/Show Video Window CTRLALTV CTRLALTV
Hide/Show Browser CTRLALTB CMDALTB
Hide/Show Overview CTRLALTO CMDALTO
Hide/Show In/Out CTRLALTI CMDALTI
Hide/Show Sends CTRLALTS CMDALTS
Hide/Show Mixer CTRLALTM CMDALTM
Open the Preferences CTRL, CMD,
Close Window/Dialog ESC ESC

Accessing Menus

Under Windows, you can access each menu by pressing ALT and the first letter of the menu (ALTF for “File,” for instance). While a menu is open, you can use:

  • the up and down arrow keys to navigate the menu items;
  • the right and left arrow keys to open the neighboring menu;
  • Enter to choose a menu item.

In OS X, you can access individual menu entries by pressing CMD?. This opens a search field that will suggest menu entries as you type. You can then navigate the suggested options by pressing the up and down arrow keys and press Enter to choose one.

Adjusting Values

Windows Macintosh
Decrement/Increment up and down arrow keys up and down arrow keys
Finer Resolution for Dragging CTRL CMD
Return to Default Delete Delete
Type in Value 09 09
Go to Next Field (Bar.beat.16th) ., .,
Abort Value Entry ESC ESC
Confirm Value Entry Enter Enter

Browsing

In addition to the shortcuts shown here, the editing shortcuts can also be used in the browser.

Windows Macintosh
Scroll Down/Up up and down arrow keys up and down arrow keys
Close/Open Folders right and left arrow keys right and left arrow keys
Load Selected Item from Browser Enter Enter
Preview Selected File ShiftEnter ShiftEnter
Search in Browser CTRLF CMDF
Jump to Search Results down arrow key down arrow key
Assign Color(s) to Selected Browser Item 17 17
Reset Assigned Color(s) for Selected Browser Item 0 0

Transport

Windows Macintosh
Play from Start Marker/Stop Space Space
Continue Play from Stop Point ShiftSpace ShiftSpace
Play Arrangement View Selection Space Space
Move Insert Marker to Beginning Home Function+left arrow key
Record F9 F9
Back to Arrangement F10 F10
Activate/Deactivate Track 1..8 F1F8 F1F8

Editing

Windows Macintosh
Cut CTRLX CMDX
Copy CTRLC CMDC
Paste CTRLV CMDV
Duplicate CTRLD CMDD
Delete Delete Delete
Undo CTRLZ CMDZ
Redo CTRLY CMDY
Rename CTRLR CMDR
Select All CTRLA CMDA

By holding down an additional modifier key, some of the above commands can also be applied to:

Windows Macintosh
Clips and Slots Across all Tracks Shift Shift
Time Across all Tracks Shift Shift
The Selected Part of the Envelope ALT ALT

Tab can be used to move from one track or scene to another while renaming.

Loop Brace and Start/End Markers

The loop brace and start/end markers must first be selected before any of the following commands will apply to them.

Windows Macintosh
Move Start Marker to Position Shift-click Shift-click
Nudge Loop Left/Right right and left arrow keys right and left arrow keys
Move Loop By Loop Length up and down arrow keys up and down arrow keys
Halve/Double Loop Length CTRL up and down arrow keys CMD up and down arrow keys
Shorten/Lengthen Loop CTRL right and left arrow keys CMD right and left arrow keys
Select Material in Loop CTRLShiftL CMDShiftL

Session View Commands

See also the editing commands.

Windows Macintosh
Launch Selected Clip/Slot Enter Enter
Select Neighboring Clip/Slot arrow keys arrow keys
Select all Clips/Slots CTRLA CMDA
Copy Clips CTRLdrag ALTdrag
Add/Remove Stop Button CTRLE CMDE
Insert MIDI clip CTRLShiftM CMDShiftM
Insert Scene CTRLI CMDI
Insert Captured Scene CTRLShiftI CMDShiftI
Move Nonadjacent Scenes Without Collapsing CTRL up and down arrow keys CMD up and down arrow keys
Drop Browser Clips as a Scene CTRL CMD
Deactivate Selected Clip 0 0

Arrangement View Commands

The shortcuts for zooming, snapping/drawing and loop/region settings also work in the Arrangement View. See also the editing commands.

Windows Macintosh
Split Clip at Selection CTRLE CMDE
Consolidate Selection into Clip CTRLJ CMDJ
Create Fade/Crossfade CTRLALTF CMDALTF
Toggle Loop Selection CTRLL CMDL
Insert Silence CTRLI CMDI
Pan Left/Right of Selection CTRLALT CMDALT
Unfold all Tracks ALT unfold button ALT unfold button
Scroll Display to Follow Playback CTRLShiftF CMDShiftF
Deactivate Selection 0 0
Nudge Selection Left/Right right and left arrow keys right and left arrow keys
Reverse Audio Clip Selection R R
Zoom to Arrangement Time Selection Z Z
Zoom Back from Arrangement Time Selection/Zoom Out Arrangement Completely ShiftZ ShiftZ

Commands for Tracks

See also the editing commands.

Windows Macintosh
Insert Audio Track CTRLT CMDT
Insert MIDI Track CTRLShiftT CMDShiftT
Insert Return Track CTRLALTT CMDALTT
Rename Selected Track CTRLR CMDR
While Renaming, Go to next Track Tab Tab
Group Selected Tracks CTRLG CMDG
Ungroup Tracks CTRLShiftG CMDShiftG
Show Grouped Tracks + +
Hide Grouped Tracks - -
Move Nonadjacent Tracks Without Collapsing CTRL arrow keys CMD arrow keys
Arm/Solo Multiple Tracks CTRL click CMD click
Add Device from Browser Enter Enter
Deactivate Selected Track 0 0

Commands for Breakpoint Envelopes

The shortcuts for zooming, snapping/drawing and loop/region settings also work in the Envelope Editor and Arrangement View. See also the editing commands.

Windows Macintosh
Toggle Automation Mode A A
Finer Resolution for Dragging Shift Shift
Create Curved Automation Segment ALT ALT

Key/MIDI Map Mode and the Computer MIDI Keyboard

Windows Macintosh
Toggle MIDI Map Mode CTRLM CMDM
Toggle Key Map Mode CTRLK CMDK
Computer MIDI Keyboard M M

Zooming, Display and Selections

Windows Macintosh
Zoom In + +
Zoom Out - -
Drag/Click to Append to a Selection Shift Shift
Click to Add Adjacent Clips/Tracks/Scenes to Multi-Selection Shift Shift
Click to Add Nonadjacent Clips/Tracks/Scenes to a Multi-Selection CTRL CMD
Follow (Auto-Scroll) CTRLShiftF CMDShiftK
Pan Left/Right of Selection CTRLALT CMDALT

Clip View Sample Display

The shortcuts for zooming and loop/region settings also work in the Sample Display.

Windows Macintosh
Quantize CTRLU CMDU
Quantize Settings… CTRLShiftU CMDShiftU
Move Selected Warp Marker right and left arrow keys right and left arrow keys
Select Warp Marker CTRLright and left arrow keys CMDright and left arrow keys
Scroll Display to Follow Playback CTRLShiftF CMDShiftF
Move Clip Region with Start Marker Shiftright and left arrow keys Shiftright and left arrow keys
Zoom to Clip Selection Z Z
Zoom Back from Clip Selection/Zoom Out Clip Completely ShiftZ ShiftZ

Clip View MIDI Editor

The shortcuts for zooming, snapping/drawing and loop/region settings also work in the MIDI Editor.

Windows Macintosh
Quantize CTRLU CMDU
Quantize Settings… CTRLShiftU CMDShiftU
Scroll Editor Vertically Page Up/Down keys Page Up/Down keys
Scroll Editor Horizontally CTRL Page Up/Down keys Shift Page Up/Down keys
Copy Notes CTRLdrag ALTdrag
Change Velocity From Note Editor ALTdrag CMDdrag
Move Insert Marker to Beginning Home Function+left arrow key
Move Insert Marker to End End End
Scroll Display to Follow Playback CTRLShiftF CMDShiftF
Move Clip Region with Start Marker Shiftright and left arrow keys Shiftright and left arrow keys
Zoom to Clip Selection Z Z
Zoom Back from Clip Selection/Zoom Out Clip Completely ShiftZ ShiftZ

Grid Snapping and Drawing

Windows Macintosh
Toggle Draw Mode B B
Narrow Grid CTRL1 CMD1
Widen Grid CTRL2 CMD2
Triplet Grid CTRL3 CMD3
Snap to Grid CTRL4 CMD4
Fixed/Zoom-Adaptive Grid CTRL5 CMD5
Bypass Snapping While Dragging ALT CMD

Global Quantization

Windows Macintosh
Sixteenth-Note Quantization CTRL6 CMD6
Eighth-Note Quantization CTRL7 CMD7
Quarter-Note Quantization CTRL8 CMD8
1-Bar Quantization CTRL9 CMD9
Quantization Off CTRL0 CMD0

Working with Sets and the Program

Windows Macintosh
New Live Set CTRLN CMDN
Open Live Set CTRLO CMDO
Save Live Set CTRLS CMDS
Save Live Set As… CTRLShiftS CMDShiftS
Quit Live CTRLQ CMDQ
Hide Live CMDH
Export Audio/Video CTRLShiftR CMDShiftR
Export MIDI file CTRLShiftE CMDShiftE

Working with Plug-Ins and Devices

Windows Macintosh
Show/Hide Plug-In Windows CTRLALTP CMDALTP
Open Second/Multiple Windows with Plug-In Edit Button CTRL CMD
Open Mac Keystroke Plug-In Window with Plug-In Edit Button Shift
Group/Ungroup Devices CTRLG CMDG
Activate/Deactivate All Devices in Group ALT device activator ALT device activator
Click to Append Devices to a Selected Device Shift Shift
Load Selected Device From Browser Enter Enter

Using the Context Menu

A context menu is available in Live for quick access to many commonly used menu items. To access the context menu, right-click(PC) / CTRLclick(Mac) on the part of the interface where you would like to execute a particular command. It is worth noting that Live’s context menu may sometimes contain applicable settings from the Preferences. You should change these options with care, as they will affect not only the currently selected item but the general settings of the program.

Some commands only appear in the context menu. Among these are: various options for working with the browser (see 5.1); the special grid marker commands for directing Auto-Warp (see “Syncing Longer Pieces”); detailed options for zoom-adaptive and fixed grid line width (see 6.9); copying and pasting for Operator’s envelopes and oscillators (see 24.6); and numerous device-specific commands.