Power Mixing Using Keyboard Shortcuts in Pro Tools 11

Pro Tools 11 has added a bunch of new features and workflow improvements over version 10. Mike Watkinson shows you how to get your mixing chops up to scratch in Pro Tools 11 with this guide.  

Along with the much-heralded improvements in performance, Pro Tools 11 has added a raft of new features, which while less headline-worthy, are going to improve the quality of life and hopefully the musical output of producers and engineers. A new set of keyboard shortcuts has been added (and Pro Tools is all about keyboard commands so just add these to your memory bank – what do you mean you need an upgrade?) enabling what Avid refer to as ‘power mixing’ – a grand term, but essentially the ability to bypass sets of insert plug-ins by category so that comparisons and checks on effectiveness can easily be made.


The List

Here is a list of the eight keyboard shortcuts, and the category of insert plug-in that they bypass:

(Keyboard shortcut/Effect category)

Shift-A All

Shift-1 Inserts A-E

Shift-2 Inserts F-J

Shift-E EQ

Shift-C Dynamics

Shift-V Reverb

Shift-D Delay

Shift-W Modulation


If keyboard shortcuts really aren’t your thing (maybe you have a lot of time on your hands) then you can also bypass these categories by choosing Bypass Inserts from the Track menu.


Shift-A bypasses all insert plug-ins

Shift-A bypasses all insert plug-ins.

Each bypass command is a toggle - so repeat Shift-A to un-bypass all insert plug-ins

Each bypass command is a toggle - so repeat Shift-A to un-bypass all insert plug-ins.

The bypass commands only work on selected tracks. This is the effect of using Shift-A with one track selected.

The bypass commands only work on selected tracks. This is the effect of using Shift-A with one track selected.

Using Shift-1 with all tracks selected.

Using Shift-1 with all tracks selected.

Using Shift-2 with all tracks selected. An effective use  of Shift-1 and Shift-2 can be used to great effect (if you‘ll pardon the pun) is to compare two effects chains, one set up in Inserts A-E, the other in Inserts F-J.

Using Shift-2 with all tracks selected. An effective use of Shift-1 and Shift-2 can be used to great effect (if you‘ll pardon the pun) is to compare two effects chains, one set up in Inserts A-E, the other in Inserts F-J.

Using Shift-E - note that the EQ section of the Channel Strip plug-in is deactivated but all other sections remain active.

Using Shift-E - note that the EQ section of the Channel Strip plug-in is deactivated but all other sections remain active.

Using Shift-C - note that the dynamics section of the Channel Strip plug-in is deactivated but all the other sections remain active.

Using Shift-C - note that the dynamics section of the Channel Strip plug-in is deactivated but all the other sections remain active.

Using Shift-V - note that the sends remain active while the insert plug-ins in the aux tracks that they sent to are bypassed.

Using Shift-V - note that the sends remain active while the insert plug-ins in the aux tracks that they sent to are bypassed.

Using Shift-D.

Using Shift-D.

Using Shift-W - note that despite the name the ModDelay plug-in is not bypassed as Pro Tools has this in the Delay category.

Using Shift-W - note that despite the name, the ModDelay plug-in is not bypassed as Pro Tools has this in the Delay category.


Bypass All Sends?

You might be wondering if there is an equivalent for sends? No, not as such, but there is a keyboard shortcut that ‘bypasses’ sends, except that you don’t bypass sends, you mute them of course, since they are not a process, simply a routing.

To mute a send, Command-click the send selector

To mute all sends to the same bus, Option-Command-click a send selector


Mike has been obsessed with music software since he first saw Fairlight's Page-R, and has tracked its development through his work as a performer, composer and producer. As a writer he has contributed articles to Sound On Sound since 1999, and currently writes their Apple Notes column. As well as being a certified Logic Pro and Pro Too... Read More

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