Getting Started with MIDI Mappings in Traktor

Take a tour of Native Instruments' Traktor with DJ Sara Simms as she shows you how to get started with MIDI mappings for your own customised controllers.  

Have you been DJing with Traktor using the standard mappings for a long time, and are thinking about customizing how you control your DJ software? There are an abundance of controllers available for Traktor, and it's easier than you think to get started and customize your own MIDI Mappings.

Traktor MIDI Mappings allow you to control every aspect of the software, and you can decide which keys or buttons control specific functions. Every DJ is an individual, and the way you control your software can be as unique as you are. Traktor gives you the freedom to personalize your mappings; a set of customized mappings may inspire you to create a new set, or simply make it easier for you to be a better DJ and performer.

Before you begin to to map controls, I highly recommend you save and backup your default device settings. This will ensure that you have a template to revert to, just in case you make an error.

Saving your Default Settings

Navigate to your Traktor Preferences, by clicking Traktor (in the upper left-hand corner) then Preferences. 

Navigate to the Controller Manager Page:

Controller Manager

Select the device you would like to save, (the default device that you usually use) and then select 'Export'. In the Select Categories to Export window, make sure Keyboard Mappings, Controller Mappings, and GUI Layout stay checked.

Categories to Export

Click Ok, and then choose where you will save your .tsi file (.tsi is the file extension for a Traktor MIDI Mapping). I would recommend you save this backup file in the 'Settings' folder, which contains the 'Default' settings folder (this is where Traktor will automatically direct you to save the file). Name the file and save it.

Creating Your Own MIDI Mapping

We are going to begin to learn to create MIDI Mappings by modifying an existing device.

Return to the Preferences, navigate to the Controller Manager, and choose the device you would like to modify from the drop-down Menu. I have chosen to modify the Traktor Scratch 2 Default Mapping '" Generic Keyboard.

Traktor Scratch 2

Scroll down through the Assignment Table, and you can see all of the cues that are assigned.

To create a new assignment, select:

'Add in', then scroll down to 'Mixer', and click 'Effect Unit One On'.

In the Device Mapping Section, Activate the 'Learn' button (it will turn yellow when you click it).

Effect Unit One On

Press the 'M' key, which will map this function to the 'M' key on your keyboard.

Next, you need to double-check to see if the 'M' key has been already assigned to another function.

Scroll up through the other assignments. If you are using the Traktor Scratch 2 Default Mapping '" Generic Keyboard, you should notice that 'M' has been assigned to 'Play Primary' '" Sample Deck 4, Slot 3. If you don't think you'll be using this function, you can delete it by pressing the Delete key located below the Assignment Table. You can also assign this function to another key by clicking the 'Learn' key, and then pressing a different key on the keyboard. Make sure the new key you pick is not assigned to any other functions though!

Next, in the Mapping Details section, you need to choose the 'Interaction Mode'. Since you will want to toggle your FX on and off, choose 'Toggle' from the drop down menu.


To the right of 'Interaction Mode', you'll see the 'Assignment'. Choose 'Deck A' to assign 'Effect Unit One On' to Deck A.

Click Close on the bottom of the Preferences menu.

Press the 'M' button on your keyboard. If you have successfully mapped the Effect Unit One On function, you should see FX 1 on Deck A light up when you press 'M'.

Congratulations, you have learned how to create MIDI mappings! Once you have mastered this skill set, you can apply your new knowledge and create a personalized MIDI Mapping from scratch, or simply continue to customize the Default Mappings.

Sara Simms captivates the world as an innovative musician, DJ, turntablist and electronic music producer. She's a multi-instrumentalist who's known for her love of music technology. Sara makes her mark in the music community by crafting diverse sets with styles ranging from pulsating techno to house. She balances technical skills wi... Read More


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