OS X Finder Tricks for Logic Pro X (part 1)

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In my recent articles, I showed a lot of lesser-known Logic Pro X tips and tricks to improve your workflow. However, there are also many, often unknown, MacOS features that are definitely worth incorporating into your Logic Pro workflow.

Please note:

All the features I show in this article are based on the current macOS version 10.12 Sierra. If you are on an older OSX version, you might not see some features, or they might be incorporated differently.

Bigger Mouse Cursor

If you are old enough, you remember the times with tiny 12″ computer screens. Now we have 27″ iMacs, or even bigger screens, or multiple screens. Although this is great, it has one downside, you never can find that tiny little mouse cursor on the screen. Don’t worry, help is built in right in macOS.

  • Open the System Preferences.
  • Click the Accessibility icon and select the “Display” ➊ item in the left sidebar.
  • Alternatively, you can also type “Cursor Size” in the search field ➋ in the upper-right corner of the System Preferences window to go directly to that feature, so you don’t even have to know where it is located.
  • The Cursor Size ➌ parameter provides a slider that lets you adjust the size of your mouse cursor.
  • In addition, you can also enable the checkbox ” Shake mouse pointer to locate” ➍, so when you wiggle with your mouse or trackpad (don’t shake the trackpad, wiggle with your finger on it), then the cursor will momentarily grow bigger, so you can spot it easily.

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Now back in Logic Pro. No matter what cursor tool you’ve selected ➎, it will be nice and big, so you never lose sight of it. If you need more bells and whistles with that feature, you can use any of the third-party mouse cursor utility apps.

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Drag Windows without Activating

Every time I look people over their shoulder, watching them how they manage windows on the screen, I realize that the next feature is not really known, or at least, not widely used.

A Common Situation

You have multiple overlapping windows open on your screen. This can be multiple Logic windows, or a mixture of Logic windows and windows of other apps or the Finder. Clicking on any window will make it the Active Window and puts it on top of all other windows (let’s ignore floating windows for a moment). However, there is a specific situation that is quite common, where that could hinder your workflow.

Here is the Problem

  • Let’s assume you have two windows open. Window A is the Active Window ➊ you are working on (clicking, typing, etc.) and Window B is the Inactive Window ➋ that you just need to look at.
  • In this example, the inactive Window B is partially covered by the active Window A, but still ok, in order to see what you want to see on it.
  • However, if you want to move Window B a little bit to the side to see more of its content, you click-drag it.
  • By doing that little “drag to the side”, you created two potential problems.
  • Problem 1: By clicking on Window B, it becomes the Active Window ➌, potentially covering portions of Window A ➌.
  • Problem 2: By becoming an Inactive Window, Window A also does not have key focus anymore. That means, any keyboard actions are now directed to Window B.

Here is the Solution

Whenever you want to move an Inactive Window by dragging its Window Header without having it become the Active Window, just hold down the command key while dragging it ➎. That’s it, Window A stays active ➏ and you can move any windows around “underneath”.

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Get Info Window

Let’s talk about the Get Info window for a moment. It is a special window in the Finder that shows information about a file or folder on your drive. Did you know that there are two variations?

Get Info Window

To open the Get Info Window, you right-click (or ctr-click) on a file ➊ in a Finder window and select “Get Info”➋ from the Shortcut Menu. You can also select the item first and click on the Action Button ➌ in the Toolbar of the Finder window, which opens the same Shortcut Menu. Another way is to select the file and use the Key Command cmd+I. All these commands open the Get Info Window ➎. Using any of the commands with multiple files selected, will open a Get Info window for each file.

Get Info Inspector

Holding down the option key when the Shortcut Menu is open will change the menu item from “Get Info” to “Show Inspector” ➏. This command will open the same window, but now as an Inspector ➐ type window. Alternatively, you can use the Key Command opt+cmd+I ➑ on a selected file/folder.

The advantage of the Inspector is that you can keep that single Get Info window open and it automatically changes its content to whatever file/folder you select in the Finder or have multiple files selected in one Inspector (more cool features about that technique in part 2 of this article).t

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Logic Info

Here is what Logic Pro related info is displayed in the Get Info Window:

  • Alternatives: All the Alternatives in your Project ➊, that are listed in the individual Alternatives folders (000, 001, 002, etc. ➋) inside a Project File ➌, are listed in the Get Info window in the “More Info:” section ➍. This way, you can quickly look through Logic Project Files in the Finder without opening them.
  • WindowImage: Every time you save your Project, Logic Pro saves a screenshot of the currently active window, which is stored as “WindowImage.jpg” ➎ inside the Alternatives folder of your Project File. That image is displayed in the Get Info window in the Preview section ➏. Please note that there is only a single image, which is from the Alternative that was active before you closed the Project.

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Lock Project Files

There is one other feature in the Get Info Window that might be useful for your Logic Pro Projects, and that is the “Locked” checkbox ➊ in the General section.

  • The checkbox lets you lock and unlock a Logic Pro Project file in the Finder at any time.
  • A locked file will display a padlock in multiple places: In the Finder (better visible in Icon View ➋ than List View ➌), in the Get Info Window on the file icon ➍  (in the upper-left corner) and on the Preview Image ➎.
  • You can open a locked Project File, but when you try to save it, you get an error message ➏. The Dialog says “The file doesn’t exist”, which is technically not true, but that’s good enough to prevent you from overwriting it.
  • Of course, you can use the lock feature on any other file to protect it from being changed/overwritten, i.e. audio files in your Project.

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Recent Projects

The “Open Recent” ➊ command in LogicPro X’s File Menu lists Logic Pro Projects that you had open recently. Selecting one of those Projects lets you open any of those files without navigating to their location on your drive.

There are a few more details about that functionality and the implementation that might be useful for your workflow:

  • The System Preferences ➤ General has a parameter “Recent Items” ➋ that lets you set how may of the recent items should be kept in the Recent list.
  • The Open Recent submenu contains, in addition to all the recent Project, the command “Clear Menu” ➌, that resets the list.
  • Using the command File ➤ Open … opens the standard Open Dialog ➍ that lets you navigate to the Project File that you want to open. If you have opened at least one Project since you reset the list, then the Sidebar lists an item “Recents” ➎ on top of the “Favorites” category (which is not visible in the Finder window). Click on it and it will display the same Projects that are listed in the Open Recent submenu ➊. Click on the selector “Recents” ➏ to open a popup menu that contains a list of recent folders that you have accessed when opening Project Files.
  • And there is even another location that displays the Recent list, the Dock. Ctr+click on the Logic icon ➐ in the Dock and the popover  shows you a list with the recent Projects ➑. The advantage with the Recent list in the Dock is that you don’t have to have Logic Pro open yet. You can launch Logic Pro directly into a specific Project from that Recent list.

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“Siri, can you launch Logic Pro for me?”

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Now with macOS Sierra, you have your own assistant, Siri. Why not using her to launch Logic Pro for you.

Just click on the Siri Icon ➊ in the upper-right corner of your computer screen (or setup your own Key Command in the System Preferences ➤ Siri) and say “Launch Logic”. If you have Logic Pro 9 and Logic Pro X installed on your computer, she even recognizes that and asks you which one she should launch ➋.

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You can try to tell Siri, “Mix that Project for me“, but the current AI doesn’t seem to be that advanced (yet).
  

Conclusion

That’s it for the part 1 of my series “Finder Tricks for Logic Pro X”.

I already released two books that reveal much much more of those hidden and lesser known features and functionalities in Logic Pro X that are often not found anywhere else, not even in the official Logic Pro User Guide. No matter whether you are a beginner or an advanced Logic Pro user, with many of these tips and instructions, you will speed up and improve your Logic Pro workflow right away, guaranteed.

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Graphically Enhanced Manuals

I hope you found this tutorial useful. If you are interested in learning more about Logic Pro X, check out my books in my “Graphically Enhanced Manuals” series, now with the brand new release “Pro Tools | First 12 – How it Works“. All books are available as pdf, printed books on Amazon and interactive multi-touch iBooks on Apple’s iBooks Store.

For an up to date list of all my books in my “Graphically Enhanced Manuals (GEM)” series and all the links, go to my website.

www.DingDingMusic.com/Manuals

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Thanks for your time and interest,

Edgar Rothermich

Edgar Rothermich

Edgar Rothermich

Edgar Rothermich is a composer, producer, educator and author of the best-selling book series “Graphically Enhanced Manuals (GEM)” He is a graduate of the prestigious Tonmeister program at the University of Arts in Berlin where he also was teaching for five years. His musical work in a wide variety of styles includes numerous scores for films and TV shows plus compositions for ballet and sacred music. His recent re-recording of the Blade Runner soundtrack (done exclusively in Logic Pro!) achieved critical acclaim from critics and fans alike. Follow him on Twitter @EdgarRothermich
Edgar Rothermich

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  • Shane McGill

    Great tips and reminders 😉

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