If you were teaching someone how to use Pro Tools who is brand new to the program, what are some drills or tasks you would have them do to teach them how to be dextrous around the program?

I'm pretty fast around the program, and I attribute that to my years and years of gaming experience in using macros and hotkeys. But, I don't think that would be smart to assign a thousand hours of playing Ultima Online or Quake...

How would you go about teaching someone the dexterity you've learned over the years of using the program who is brand new?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

6 Answers 6


Depends why they are learning to use ProTools but if its soundpost one task I'd use would be to give them a Quicktime of a half hour TV show (with burnt in timecode) and half a dozen audiofiles and ask them to go through and do a first quick ambience pass (ie choosing a single ambience and cut it to the length of the scene or shot, checker boarding as they go) I'd also ask them to time how long it takes them to do this the first time through. Afterwards check their edits are frame accurate, and that their decisions on scene cuts are correct (being fast at Protools is no use if they aren't also accurate)...

Then give them 12 more half hour QTs to do the same with...


Open the PT Shortcuts Guide PDF, then unplug the mouse and take it with you. Nothing made me faster with basic keyboard shortcuts than being 100% unable to reach for the mouse.


Simply by putting them to edit sound.

If they're smart, they'll develop their workflow, because inefficient use of the mouse and the keyboard and doing repetitive control movements and tasks eventually leads to frustation. At least I hope so.


I think, like everything, the best way to go is to start from basic things - read manual, memorize keyboard shortcuts, and stuff like that. And - practice.


i'd have them do all of their sessions for a week without a mouse.

then after that i'd have them build quick keys for the more common tasks.

that'd do it. :)


I would stay off the smart tool, I know editors that use it and it makes them slow. Command 1-6 is a good easy hot key that would get the fingers used to quick keys faster. But I mean if it's your thing, then keep doing it. Also I like to add an apple S to the end of every combo stroke ;) Theres nothing like being able to move around with out a mouse, plus it impresses clients if you can edit faster then they can type.

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