Here’s some great advice I got…

Last year I was interviewing Jon Tidey (of Audio Geek Zine and The Home Recording Show) for a product I was putting together.

We mostly talked about editing.

Now I had been using Pro Tools for years, but I had never really gotten into the “keyboard focus” stuff. (That’s essentially when you put Pro Tools in a certain mode, and keyboard shortcuts get even shorter.)

In other words, you can press just one key to do a specific task, rather than holding down a modifier AND pressing a key.

The two big ones that Jon shared with me were for zooming in and out and separating a region.

Up to that point, I had always zoomed in and out by using the shortcuts Cmd-[ and Cmd-]. For separating a region, I would use the Cmd-E shortcut.

Jon pointed out that I could simply use T and R for zooming in and out and B for separating regions.

“Ok, big deal,” you might say.

But think about it. Over the course of an editing session, I’ll zoom in and out a bajillion times, and I’ll be separating regions all along the way.

These simple single-key shortcuts end up saving me a LOT of time. For one thing, I can do all of them with my left hand, so my right hand never has to leave the mouse. Secondly, I really don’t have to look down at the keyboard to find the Command key and the other key.

It easily saves a second or two…EVERY TIME I need to zoom in or separate a region. Multiply that by the hundreds or thousands of times I do those functions on a given project, and that’s some serious time saved.

And if you’re charging by the project, the time you save is money in your pocket.

Workflow is certainly important. The faster you can perform a task (and still perform it well), the more you can get done, which has its obvious benefits.

Be careful.

You can easily become obsessed with memorizing shortcuts and “maximizing workflow” that you actually don’t get anything done.

Don’t learn every shortcut. Incorporate a few new ones as you go.

And keep working on projects…shortcuts don’t help you if you have no projects to work on.

Almost every time I learn a new shortcut or time-saver, it’s from talking with other engineers.

Speaking of talking with other engineers, if you want to hear Jon’s full interview, and 8 other interviews with other really smart people who can help make you better (and faster), go here: