The fifth in this week of Essential But Decidedly Un-Sexy tips has to do with Live’s somewhat homely but extremely important Browser. If you’re not speedy at working with the Browser, it’s hard to be speedy with Live. Set aside some time to explore it and make sure you’re totally clear on how it works.

The Browser has six different views (see left) : Live Device (for built-in instruments and effects), Plug-In Device (for VSTs and Audio Units), File Browser 1, 2 and 3 (for easy access to three different hard drive locations) and Hot-Swap for loading presets, samples and grooves.

Read the first 10 pages of Chapter 5 (“Managing Files and Sets”) in the Live manual. You’ll be glad you did.

Two things I always tell people about the Browser:

  • Double-click any of the Browser’s buttons on the left to completely
    collapse all of the folders in the current view. This can save you a
    lot of scrolling.
  • Unless you’re already an experienced Live user, drag files and devices out of the Browser and drop them into tracks – don’t double-click them. Double-clicking sometimes causes items to end up in unexpected places. With drag-and-drop you are always completely in control.