It’s not an accident that the “Smart Tool” mode in Pro Tools is so popular and efficient. Smart Tool mode is where the Pointer tool automatically changes to various different tools depending on where you position the mouse on an audio or MIDI region (Left: top, middle, bottom, Right: top, middle or bottom, or bang in the middle of a region). Logic can automatically select between Grabber, Trim, Loop, Fade and Marquee tools. Not having to manually change tools speeds things up a lot, especially during editing.
Here’s a way to set up Logic Pro X in a similar way to Pro Tools to gain the benefit of way less tool changes and a more intuitive operation, which should speed up your workflow.
First, set Logic up so it allows three tools instead of two by going to and setting the following Logic Pro X preferences:
Logic Pro X> Preferences> General> Editing>
- Right Mouse Button> Is Assignable to a Tool. (Creates a tool slot for the Right Mouse Button)
Then in the same preference pane add the automatic assignment of Pointer to the Fade tool when hovering over top left and right of audio regions.
- Pointer Tool in Tracks Provides: Fade Tool Click Zones.
I used to also set the Marquee tool click zones option, but have now stopped doing this – see the text below the video for a brief explanation why.
I now set my three tools (at the top of the Main Window) to Pointer, Pencil and Marquee. (Left Mouse, Command-Mouse, Right Mouse).
The minor sacrifice is that the right mouse button is used for the Marquee tool rather than those handy contextual menus. To get the contextual menus, you’ll now have to hold Ctrl and use the left mouse button – which is old-skool Mac techniques from when they only had a single mouse button.
I recommend spending some time learning how to use the Marquee Tool – it’s the equivalent of the Select Tool in Pro Tools and is incredibly powerful once you get your head around it.
Check out my video on the Marquee tool here:
Note that in this video I have “Marquee Tool Click Zones” selected in Logic’s General/Editing preferences (which means Logic Pro automagically switches to the Marquee tool when in the lower third of a MIDI or audio region). To be honest this is very finicky to use when you’re not fully zoomed-in, and can also be prone to accidental selection weirdness happening unless you are. Plus, Apple have recently changed how automation points are selected and edited with the mouse that makes it easier to just have Marquee tool on the right mouse button instead, so I recommend just doing it this way.
Bonus Pro Tools Operation Tip: Open (and enlarge) a Mixer Window (Cmd 2), then you can toggle between them just like in Pro Tools with Cmd = or Cmd ~