How To Use Your Trackpad With Logic Pro 9

Apple Trackpad

Multi-touch gestures have become an integral part of OS X since Lion. Instead of merely clicking and dragging, we’re tapping, pinching, swiping and rotating. Whether you have a desktop Mac with a separate Magic Trackpad, or a Macbook Pro with a Multi-Touch trackpad, note that some gestures work well in Logic Pro 9. Here’s an overview of those multi-touch gestures, on a mid-2010 Macbook Pro running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.


Tapping With One Finger

trackpad logic pro

Let’s start at the beginning. Tapping with one finger on a trackpad is the same as a single mouse click. A double tap equals a double click. Tapping once while holding down ctrl is equal to a secondary mouse click. Easy enough.

Tapping With Two Fingers – The Secondary Click

trackpad logic pro

For this to work, in System Preferences > Trackpad > Point & Click, set Secondary Click to “click or tap with two fingers”.

A tap with two fingers is the new right-click. It’s the same as tapping with one finger while holding down ctrl on your Mac’s keyboard. In Logic Pro 9, instead of using the regular Esc key, you can tap with two fingers while holding down ctrl in the Arrange area to bring up Logic Pro’s Toolbox. Doing so while your pointer is hovering above the Event List, Piano Roll or Hyper Editor brings up the Toolbox that’s specific to that section.

Tapping With Three Fingers – Look Up

trackpad logic pro

While using Logic Pro’s Notes feature to jot down production notes or lyrics, tapping on a word with three fingers will open up its definition in Dictionary, Thesaurus and Wikipedia:

logic pro trackpad

Scrolling, Zooming, Dragging

Scrolling With Two Fingers

While you’re hovering over the Arrange area, you can scroll through your arrangement horizontally, vertically and diagonally by moving with two fingers on your trackpad.

Zooming With Two Fingers

While you’re moving with two fingers on your trackpad, holding down on your keyboard will enable you to zoom horizontally, vertically or both. Holding down will flip the axes. Holding down ctrl+ will zoom in both horizontally and vertically.

Dragging With Three Fingers

For this to work, in System Preferences > Trackpad > Point & Click, make sure “Three finger drag” is enabled.

Moving with three fingers over your trackpad is the new dragging. This means you can move faders, rotate knobs, in both the Mixer Window and plugins. You can make selections in the Arrange Window, Piano Roll, Hyper Editor, Event List, etcetera. You can move, copy (hold down ) and make aliases of (hold down +) regions, change their length by dragging the lower right-hand corner, and activate looping of a region and change the length of the loop by dragging the upper right corner.

This works well in the Sample Editor too, combined with zooming with two fingers. Drag with three fingers to make a selection, use to fine-tune it.

In the Event List, by using this trackpad gesture you can make a selection of events, as long as you hover over the status of the events while you’re making your selection. Using this gesture also makes changing the value of a selection of events easy. Making small increments and decrements shouldn’t be a problem – perhaps it will be on Sunday and/or Monday mornings…

Note that the modifier key works here too: when one event hits a minimum or maximum value, you can still increase or decrease the values of the other events.

Swiping, Pinching, Rotating

Swiping With Three Fingers

For this to work, in System Preferences > Trackpad > More Gestures > Swipe Between Pages, make sure “swipe with three fingers” is enabled. Note that by choosing this setting, you will lose the three finger drag.

Swiping with three fingers allows you to navigate files in Logic Pro’s Browser. In the Arrange Window, it allows you to flip through the arrangement: if your Arrange Window is showing 20 measures, quickly flip to the next 20 measures with this gesture. Personally I prefer the three finger drag.


trackpad logic pro

Pinching on your trackpad enables you to zoom in horizontally in the Arrange Window or the Sample Editor.


trackpad logic pro

Rotate anywhere on the screen and it will change the volume of the selected track. That’s it.

Feel free to drop a comment if you think I’ve missed one.

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