Pro Tools features four main edit modes, Shuffle Mode, Slip Mode, Spot Mode, and Grid Mode (there are some combination modes that will be discussed later). Edit modes decide how regions are affected when moved or trimmed, they can also have an effect on the way in which edit tools work as well including the selector and pencil for example.
The edit mode can be selected in the top left hand corner of the edit window, they can also be selected using the following shortcuts:
- Shuffle Mode (F1)
- Slip Mode (F2)
- Spot Mode (F3)
- Grid Mode (F4)
You may also notice at this point that the Grid mode can be changed between Absolute and Relative positioning, this will be explained later in the article.
Shuffle mode will make region boundaries align next to each other, for example if you had two regions on a single track with a space between them, as soon as the right region was moved at all the start of that region would automatically snap to the end of the left region.
The same process will apply when trimming regions as well, imagine three regions all directly following each other, if the end of the middle region was trimmed shorter, the region on the right would move in earlier to fill the space that was created.
Usually described as a ‘train-car’ like snapping edit mode, this particular mode is very useful for ensuring that regions are placed directly next to each other without end-silence or overlapping occuring.
Slip mode will allow you to move and trim regions freely without affecting the position of any other regions within the session, you can create overlaps or empty space between regions wherever you like.
Unlike Shuffle mode, slip mode will allow you to trim region boundaries and only that region will be changed.
This is a useful edit mode when you need to freely place regions and make frequent edits to them individually.
As you may be able to derive from its title, Spot mode allows you to precisely place or ‘spot’ regions to a very precise location value. As soon as you click a region in Spot mode you will be presented with a dialog box which asks for a precise value to place it within your session, you have the option to set the placement time of the regions start point, end point, or sync point.
Instead of trying to nudge regions to their required location, this edit mode will allow you to place it with exact precision up to the finest time values.
It should be noted however that edits such as trimming can be performed just as they would within Slip mode, the dialog only becomes present when setting its location placement.
Within Grid mode, any region movements will snap to the nearest set time increment depending on which grid value is set within the edit window toolbar. It does not matter if you are moving the region, trimming region boundaries or drawing in MIDI information, it will all be snapped to to the nearest time split value.
We find this a particularly useful tool when changing a songs arrangement setup, for example a verse will usually last for a set number of bars, if the grid mode matches this value then we can easily grab the entire verse regions and move or copy them in bar values to later in the session without losing its time placement.
It’s All Relative
As mentioned briefly earlier, Grid mode will allow you to work in both Absolute and Relative mode so we had best explain the differences…
When a region is moved or trimmed in Absolute Gride Mode it will snap to the nearest ‘absolute’ grid increment, the easiest way of explaining an absolute position is saying that the very beginning of the session will be the start of the grid and the increments go up from there.
Relative Grid Mode is used when we want to move a region which is not snapped to the absolute grid, for example a region which is perhaps placed a few milliseconds before a grid increment, with Relative mode enabled we can move that region by the set grid value while still maintaining the regions start/end position in relation to the absolute grid.
- You can lock shuffle mode (so you can’t use it) by CMD_Clicking (mac) CTRL_Clicking (Windows) the shuffle button when in any other grid mode
- Snap To Grid is a function whereby your editing is constrained to the grid whilst in Spot, Shuffle or Slip mode. Hold SHIFT and clicking Grid and one other grid mode to activate.
- While in Grid mode, holding CMD (mac) or CTRL (windows) whilst dragging a region will temporarily suspend grid mode.