Most useful Ableton Live shortcuts

Ableton Live is one of the most potent DAW’s (digital audio workstations) out there alongside Logic, Cubase, and FL Studio. Ableton Live distinguishes itself from all the other DAW’s by its powerful interface to perform live. Connect every synthesizer, midi keyboard, sequencer, and drum pad easily to Ableton and you are ready to go. Ableton’s interface is all about improving the workflow through its shortcuts. There are tons of shortcuts that you can utilize to optimize your workflow. Shortlisting from the big list of shortcuts, we have prepared a list of the most useful Ableton Live shortcuts for you.


Most useful Ableton Live shortcuts


  1. Project saving
  2. Arrangement view / Session view switch
  3. Clip view / Device view switch
  4. Insert MIDI track
  5. Select loop
  6. Activate / Deactivate clips
  7. Undo / Redo
  8. Searching
  9. Transposing Octaves
  10. Cut Time

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1.Project saving

We’ve all lost crucial changes or even entire files while working on a song because we didn’t save it. Get into the habit of saving and improve the routine of your workflow by using this shortcut, which can be easily done through the use of your keyboard. For a quick save, press ⌘ + S (Ctrl + S). This shortcut is perfect to overwrite an existing file. If you want to save as a new file, press ⌘ + ⇧ + S (ctrl + ⇧ + S).


2.Arrangement view / Session view switch

Ableton can be divided into 2 sections: Arrangement view and Session view. The arrangement view displays an extensive arrangement of the included sounds of your track, while the session view displays a simple overview of the included sounds without an arrangement. Start idea’s in Session view and use the Arrangement view to build up your track. By pressing ‘Tab‘, you’ll be able to switch between the two.


3.Clip view / Device view switch

Creating the perfect melody while selecting the right sound at the same time can’t be done, but Ableton can make it a little bit easier for you. It can be a hassle if you want to jump between your effects rack and your MIDI clip, especially within a full arrangement. Normally you should use your mouse to switch between these two, but no more. Just press ⇧ + Tab (shift + Tab) to jump seamlessly between the clip – and device view. Extremely useful and time-saving Ableton Live Shortcut.


4.Insert MIDI track

Adding new elements to your tracks has never been easier. You don’t want to perform different actions to achieve a certain goal within a DAW. It should be quick and easy otherwise your creative idea will be lost. Just press ⌘ + ⇧ + T (ctrl + shift + T) to create a new MIDI track. This Ableton Live shortcut will save you a lot of time during the music production process.


5.Select loop 

Once you’re starting to work on specific sections of your track, you can select it and make it loop. In that case, you don’t have to worry about stopping the audio or playing it back from the beginning. Creating a loop can be very efficient as you can record multiple instruments while playing the audio. Just select a section of your track you want to work on and press ⌘ + L (ctrl + L). To turn it off, just press ⌘ + L (ctrl + L) again and you can start working on a different section.


6.Activate / Deactivate clips

When you’re trying out different beat patterns or melodies, you can press “0” to activate or deactivate clips. This way, your data won’t be lost but it will just disable the audio. This Ableton Live shortcut will prevent you from deleting parts.


7.Undo / Redo

This shortcut will be the last savior to bring your deleted files back to life. If you’re working on a track and several changes you’ve made aren’t working for you, just press ⌘ + Z (Ctrl + Z). This action can be used to undo every change you’ve made until the very first step while building a track. If you want to redo your actions, simply press ⇧ + ⌘ + Z (shift + ctrl + Z).



Scrolling through your libraries full of synthesizers, effects, or samples is a waste of time. Just press ⌘ + F (ctrl + F) to activate the search feature, enter the right name, and Ableton will look through every library for that file. This shortcut will improve your workflow.


9.Transposing Octaves

You can easily use the arrows “up” and “down” to shift the entire structure to a different key, but if you want to transpose a melody a whole octave, just press ⌘ + ↓ or ⌘ + ↑ (ctrl + ↓ or ctrl + ↑). This will save you a lot of time while writing songs.


10.Cut Time

You started to work on the arrangement, decided to change your mind, and want to delete a certain section of your song. It will take a long time to delete every single sound until you’ve reached your goal. If you want to cut time within Ableton, just press ⇧ + ⌘ + X (⇧ + ctrl + X) and it will delete the entire selected section.

Read the next article: Top 10 Music Production Plugins for Beginners

Image Credit: Ableton

- DJ/Producer from the Netherlands. - Graduated from the Conservatory in Amsterdam. - Currently working as the technical writer at We Rave You

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