Mike Slinn

Pro Tools Modes and States

Published 2020-03-01. Last modified 2023-10-22.
Time to read: 2 minutes.

This page is part of the av_studio collection.


Pro Tools provides four different Edit Modes for manipulating audio clips on the timeline.

  • Grid mode affects the movement and placement of audio and MIDI clips, the way operations such as Copy and Paste work, how the edit tools operate (trim, selector, grabber, etc), and automation modification. CTRL-mouse slips tracks. Grids can be based on musical values (eighth notes, for example) or time code values. This mode is also handy for loop-based work; it allows the added flexibility of being able to drop regions wherever you want, but it keeps them locked in to the musical timing of the piece. Use this mode when editing drum parts for timing because it is quick and easy to drop individual drum hits to specific musical timing values.
  • Shuffle mode is great for working with loops and grooves. It allows you to move an audio region so it is butted up against another region or the beginning of the track. Shuffle mode also allows the markers on the timeline and the tracks to be moved. You can move, trim, cut, delete or paste clips freely within a track, but their movement is constrained by other clips. If you place several clips on a track, they will snap to each other. You can then shuffle their order, but you cannot separate the clips or overlap them. If there were to be a silence between clips, and you shuffled them, the silence would be preserved. If you add another clip to the beginning of a track, all subsequent clips are shuffled to the right. If you trim a portion of the clip, all clips will be shuffled according to the length of the trimmed space. More detail is here.
  • Slip mode allows you to place an audio region anywhere you wish, independent of any grid or time code values. This mode is handy for working with regions that do not have any relevance to the musical timing, for example, vocal and guitar tracks. If you place a region over another region, the first region will be cut off at the point where the new region starts and/or ends.
  • Spot Mode is ideal for working with sound effects in videos. When you move an audio region or pull an audio file out of the audio regions list (on the right side of the edit window), a dialog box pops up requesting the location of the region. Once you input the time code value for the region, the audio file will be dropped there for you.

State Buttons

The blue buttons are:

  • Selector Tool (top row)
  • Tab to transients
  • Link timeline and edit selection
  • Link track and edit selection
  • Automation follows edit
  • Layered editing

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