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Mousing Around in Logic

Five quick tips for faster workflow By Frank Moldstad

The humble mouse has a surprising range of functionality in Apple's Logic Pro 7 that can save time and generally make life easier. But many users don't take advantage of these features, so here's a quick overview of some of the more useful mouse tricks.

There's just one caveat: Most of these tips do require a two-button wheel mouse (I use a Kensington). If you don't have one, you really should. They are vastly more convenient than the old hockey pucks. Of course, there are even more advanced options with Trackballs and Wacom tablets, but we're not going there today.

After it's clicked, this parameter in Logic's Space Designer plugin can be adjusted by turning a mouse wheel.
1. Starting with Logic Pro 7.1, it became possible to adjust plugin parameters by using a wheel mouse after clicking on a knob or a numerical window. This works with all of the plugins and virtual instruments included with Logic, and with some third party plugins as well, such as Cakewalk's Rapture soft synth and the URS EQ plugins.

It's far easier and more precise than the awkward motion of turning virtual knobs and dials with the mouse pointer.

2. The mouse wheel can also be used for a variety of navigational tricks. You can scroll horizontally across Logic's interface by pressing Command and turning the wheel. Or, with the Option key held down, the wheel can be used to zoom in or out vertically. Option-Command allows you to zoom in or out horizontally. To zoom in and out in both directions, press Option-Control while turning the wheel.

After a little practice, you'll use Logic's horizontal and vertical scroll bars less often.

3. Alternatively, you can scroll around the interface in any direction -- horizontally, vertically or diagonally -- by grabbing and dragging the X/Y scroll element (it looks like a crosshair) at the bottom left corner of the interface. This is a very fast way to get around.

Toolbox can be assigned to right mouse button.
4. The right button on  a two-button mouse can be assigned to the Toolbox with the  Global >Editing>Right Mouse Button Opens Toolbox preference. By doing this, you'll be able to open the toolbox anywhere in a window by right-clicking -- much better than navigating up to the Toolbox or holding down the Command key and clicking.

5. For MIDI quantization, instead of setting values in the Regional Parameter boxes at the left of the screen, you can just click on single notes or groups of notes while holding down the mouse button to open the Quantize menu, where values can be set from your location right next to the notes.

Of course, there's always Expose, the window management tool in OS X beginning with OS 10.3 (System Preferences>Personal>Expose). I've been using this for several years, and it's definitely handy for quickly seeing all open windows or hiding everything to view the desktop. But I do think about disabling it at least once a week, because everytime you mouse too close to the corners of the screen, all the windows come up and you have to reclick in the window where you were working (or hit F9) to resume what you were doing. But I haven't dumped it yet, because it is useful in situations where many windows are open, allowing you to quickly cycle through them.

Another OS X mouse utility I use is an expanded pointer, an option introduced in Tiger. This lets you scale the pointer up to make it easier to see, which is a must if you use an Apple Cinema display. The controls are accessed via System Preferences>Universal Access Pane>Mouse tab. There you find a slider to adjust the pointer size.

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Related Keywords:Apple, Logic Pro 7, plugin, parameters, mouse, soft synth, plugins

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