OS X Finder Tricks for Logic Pro X (part 2)
In this second part of my article “Finder Tricks for Logic Pro X”, I will show more macOS features that are worth incorporating into your Logic Pro workflow.
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.
Finder Window Sidebar
The Finder provides many tools to customize the Finder windows in order to improve your workflow and the efficiency how fast you get to the files and folders you need. Whenever your work in Logic “reaches out” to the Finder level (open, save, import, export, bounce, etc.), make sure you also use all the available features and tricks in the Finder to optimize (= speed up) your workflow.
Let’s start with the Sidebar.
The Finder Window has many different elements that can be shown or hidden, depending on your preferences. In the Finder’s View Menu, you can find all the commands to show or hide those elements, including the Sidebar ➊. The Sidebar automatically disappears and re- appears also when you resize the width of the window to some extend.
- The Sidebar has four categories ➋: Devices, Shared, Favorites, Tags. They behave like folders.
- You can drag the categories up/down to rearrange their order.
- Mouse-over a category and the command “Show” ➌ or “Hide” appears. Clicking on it acts like a disclosure triangle to show/hide what’s inside those categories.
- Favorites is the one category that lets you customize its content.
Here is how to use the Favorites:
- Think of the items you see in the Favorites categories as folder aliases.
- Clicking on an item (that folder) in the Sidebar will display the content of that folder in the Finder window.
- As a default, you will see the main folders from your home directory (Music, Movies, Photos, etc.) listed under the Favorites.
- Add Items: You can drag any folder from the Finder window onto the Sidebar ➍. A horizontal line will show the position where you place that folder.
- Place any folder that you need access to very often onto the Sidebar ➎. For example, your Logic Projects, the folder of your current Project, the folder with all the video content, Settings files, Apple Loops, etc.
- Aliases: Renaming the items in the Sidebar, would also rename the actual folder it represents. However, you can organize your stuff in folder aliases (that you can rename freely) and place those folder aliases onto the Sidebar. They show a tiny tag ➏ on the folder icon.
- Divider Lines: If you place a lot of items in the Sidebar, then you might need divider lines. Just create folders on your drives and name them as repeated underscore lines “______”. Drag them onto the Sidebar, and you got yourself divider lines ➐.
- Remove Items: Drag an item outside the window (an X appears under the cursor ➑) or ctr+click on the item and choose the command “Remove from Sidebar” ➒.
- Add Files: Because these items in the Sidebar are folders, you can drag files directly over them to copy or move those files into that folder location.
- Open/Save Dialog: The big advantage of that folder structure you create in the Sidebar is that it is visible in the Save and Open Dialogs ➓. Whenever you save/open your Logic Project or export files from inside Logic, that Dialog shows those Favorites items, so you can quickly navigate to them with one click.
Finder Window Toolbar
Another area on the Finder Window that can help you put your Logic-related files right in front of you is the Toolbar. It has some features that are even lesser known than the Sidebar.
These are the standard procedures how to customize the Toolbar:
- Ctr+click anywhere on the Toolbar background ➊ to opens a Shortcut Menu where you select “Customize Toolbar…”➋.
- Add Items: A sheet ➌ slides out with all the items that you can place on the Toolbar. Just drag them from the sheet up onto the Toolbar ➍ to the preferred position.
- Rearrange Items: You can drag the items left/right to rearrange them on the Toolbar.
- Remove Items: Drag an item outside the window and it will disappear in a puff of smoke.
Really Customize Toolbar
A little known fact is that you can place any file or folder as an item directly on the Toolbar.
What to Place
You can place a wide variety of items onto the Toolbar. Here are a few examples.
- Logic Application ➊: You can place any application file on the Toolbar, like Logic Pro X. Click on it and launch Logic.
- Logic Project ➋: You can place any Logic Project file on the Toolbar. Click on it to open that Project.
- Folders ➌: You can place any folder that you often access on the Toolbar. Click on it and that Finder window displays the folder content.
- Aliases ➍: You can also place aliases up there. They show that tiny arrow tag on the item.
- Custom Folder Icons ➎: If you use custom folder icons, then those will be displayed in the Toolbar.
How To Place
Here is the simple procedure:
- Add Items: Cmd+drag any item from the Finder window up to the Toolbar. The cursor will show a green + symbol and the ghost icon once you move over the Toolbar.
- Rearrange Items: You can cmd+drag the items left/right to rearrange them on the Toolbar.
- Remove Items: Cmd+drag an item outside the window and it will disappear in a puff of smoke.
Finder Tags & Comments
Tags and Comments are two great tools in the Finder that can help you organizing your Logic-related files. If you incorporate them into to your workflow, you can later easily search and find specific items.
Arrange List View Columns
In List View, the Finder window shows all the items in the current folder (directory) as individual rows, with their properties displayed in columns. Here are just a few commands that also apply to most List Views:
- Ctr-Click on a header to open a Shortcut Menu ➊ where you can select which column (Property) you want to display. Make sure to select “Comments” and “Tags” ➋.
- Drag the header left/right to re-arrange the order of the column, drag the border between the column to resize them, or click on the border to determine the sorting order of the items.
Here is how to use the Finder Comments:
- Select a Logic Project File in the Finder and press cmd+I to open the Get Info Window ➌. If you read Part 1 of this article, then you know that you can also use opt+I (which might be better for editing multiple files).
- The Get Info Window has a section labeled “Comments” ➍. This is where you enter the text (you cannot enter it directly in the Finder Window).
- Now when you have a folder with lots of Logic Projects (or other files), you can quickly read the Comments for each file ➎. You can also search for those comments in the Finder in the field “Spotlight Comment”.
Tags is an even more powerful organize and search tool that you can use with your Logic Project files and all the Logic-related files. Here are just a few basics:
- Tags are like Keywords (words, phrases, color, emojis) that you can assign to a file in multiple ways.
- Get Info Window ➏: In the Get Info Window, type in the word, phrase, or emoji. If you want to add multiple tags, separate them by a comma. To delete a tag, select it and press delete.
- Edit Tags Button ➐: This button is located in the Finder Toolbar. Click on it and type any tags in the field or click on one of the existing tags. Select and press delete to remove a tag.
- Action Button ➑: The Action button on the Finder Toolbar opens commands similar to the Shortcut Menu (ctr+click on a file). You can select a color tag or click on “Tags…” and the Edit Tags popover ➐ opens up.
- List View ➒: All the tags that you assigned to a file are listed in the Tags column of the List View. The color tag is listed in the Name column.
- Tags Category ➓: The Sidebar has a Tags Category that let you add any of the existing tags by clicking on “All Tags” and dragging them onto the Sidebar. Now they work as virtual folders. When selecting a Tag, the Finder window will show all the files and folders with that tag.
Additional Key Commands
Here is a non-Finder related macOS feature that you can use in Logic.
Logic has about 1,400 Key Commands. Virtually for every Menu Command you will find a corresponding Key Command. If a Menu Command is assigned to a “Key Equivalent” (a key plus optional modifier keys), then it is displayed in the menu next to the command. BTW, to quickly assign a key equivalent to a Menu Command, you don’t have to search for it in the Key Command Window (sometimes the wording is slightly different). Just ctr+click on any Menu Command and the Key Command Window opens with that command already selected, ready to be assigned to a key equivalent.
No Key Command
If there is no Key Command available for a Menu Command (i.e. Window ➤ Bring All to Front ➊), then ctr+clicking on it will prompt an Alert Dialog ➋.
System Preferences: Keyboard Shortcuts
The System Preferences in macOS has a feature that lets you assign Key Commands (called Keyboard Shortcuts) to any Menu Command of any app on your computer. Here is how it works:
- Open the System Preferences, select the Keyboard icon, and click on the Shortcut tab ➌.
- Select the “App Shortcuts” from the Sidebar, which will display all the applications and their assigned Key Commands on the right side.
- Click on the plus button ➎ at the bottom to create a new assignment.
- A Sheet slides out with three parameters. From the Application popup menu select Logic Pro X, in the Menu Title field enter (exactly) the name of the Menu Command, and in the Keyboard Shortcut field, just press the key equivalents.
- After you click the Add button, the assignment will be listed in the System Preferences ➐ where you can edit them. Just click on the fields.
- Now in Logic, you will see the key equivalent listed in the Main Menu next to the Menu Command ➑.
Those system-defined Keyboard Shortcuts even work for some of Logic’s Local Menu Commands.
That’s it for the part 2 of my series “Finder Tricks for Logic Pro X”.
I already released two books that reveal much much more of hidden and lesser known features and functionalities in Logic Pro X that are often not found anywhere else, not even the official Logic User Guide. No matter whether you are a beginner or an advanced Logic user, with many of these tips and instructions, you will speed up and improve your Logic workflow right away, guaranteed.
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.
Thanks for your time and interest,
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