Pro Audio Files

7 Useful OS X Shortcuts for Audio Engineers

Shortcuts are nice because, well, they’re shortcuts. Here are seven I use regularly:

1. Change audio I/O from the menu bar

Hold Option and click the speaker icon on the menu bar to quickly change audio I/O.

2. Adjust volume in smaller increments

When using the keyboard to change volume, hold down Shift+Option to change the volume in smaller increments.

3. Adjust volume silently

You know the sound: “pftt… pfft pfft pfft.” Kind of annoying sometimes. Just hold down Shift when changing volume with your keyboard to temporarily mute the feedback sound. You can also disable it completely in System Preferences > Sound > Sound Effects (or hold Option when you tap an F-key and it opens System Preferences for that function).

4. Take a perfect screenshot

Tired of sloppy screenshots? Press Command+Shift+4, then Space, and click any window or menu.

5. Quickly force quit Pro Tools when it freezes

When right-clicking an app’s dock icon, hold Option to change ‘Quit’ to ‘Force Quit’. Just remember the app quits immediately without warning or saving. But that’s okay because I know you’re compulsively Command+S’ing.

6. Paste formatted text as plain text

Instead of Command+V to paste, hold down Command-Shift-Option-V and it will paste your text as plain text stripped of any formatting.

7. Move files in Finder

Use Command+C to copy a file or folder as usual, but hit Command+Option+V to “move” the item, effectively cutting and pasting a document or folder into a new location. This is limited to OS X Lion and later.

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Thanks to @SlauBeSharp for #3 and @SlamAcademy for #1.

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Dan Comerchero

Dan Comerchero

I’m Dan, Founder of The Pro Audio Files and Quiztones ear training apps. I’m probably checking Instagram if you want to say hi.


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  • I was looking for an easy way to change soundcard. You just nailed it for me. Thank you very much.

  • Brian Cullen

    Very useful, thanks. I was so tired of going into the preferences to change between headphones and Line Out.

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