It is likely that the first things you were shown during your introduction to Pro Tools were the tools available at the top of the edit window. You will see the Zoom tool, Trim tool, Selection tool, Grabber tool, Scrub tool and finally, the Pencil tool.
You will also notice that there is a small bar which surrounds the Trimmer, Selection and Grabber tool, click this and you will activate the Smart Tool.
Quick Tip: You can also activate the Smart Tool using the shortcut F6 + F7 (or F7 + F8)
What is the Smart Tool?
You will notice that when you activate the smart tool, all three edit tools become highlighted and therefore activated. Which of the three tools is deployed depends on the mouse placement and this is what we will look at next.
Using the Smart Tool
If your mouse is placed in the middle, top-half of a region then the Selection tool will become active.
If your mouse is placed in the middle, bottom-half of a region then the Grabber tool will become active, shown as a small hand symbol.
When the mouse is near to the start or end of a region, the Trimmer tool will become active, allowing you to trim the region boundary simply by dragging from side to side. This tool looks like a small staple-like symbol as shown below.
When the mouse is placed in the top right or top left hand side of a region, the fade tool becomes active, simply drag across from the corner to add the fade for however long you require. The fade tool will be displayed as a half-shaded square.
Similarly, if you place your mouse at the bottom of the space between two regions, you will be able to use the Fade tool to create a crossfade between them.
Quick Tip: The shape of both the region boundary fades and the crossfades will be based on the ‘Default Fade Settings’ in your preferences. Navigate to Setup > Preferences and you will the see options under the Editing tab.
I’m sure it is instantly recognisable how useful this tool can be for your sessions. It may seem a little strange at first to see the edit tool change as you move your mouse around a region, but you will quickly adapt to using it and without a doubt will notice how much quicker you can work with it active.