Chapter 12: Project Management Features

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12 Project Management Features[edit]

12.1 Introduction[edit]

In this chapter we'll be looking primarily at some of those features of REAPER which you are more likely to want to use when you are managing your project as a whole rather than just focussing on individual tracks or items. These include using the Project Media/FX bay, Locking, modifying a color scheme, using the Track Manager, Screen Sets and more. We'll start by looking at how you can change a project's start time.

Note: Some of the illustrations in this chapter use REAPER 4 theme and colors. The information and instructions, however, are valid for REAPER 5.

12.2 Setting the Project Start Time[edit]

With many projects you will find that you have a few seconds of recorded silence before the program material (instruments and vocals) actually start. This can create two annoying problems:

Times shown on the timeline and on the big clock do not accurately represent the time within the song.

When you go to the start of the project, there are always a few seconds of silence to be played before you reach the start of the song.

In the example shown above the actual start of the song is at 0:04.701. We want to reset this point to Zero. This is how it is done:

Place the cursor at the point that you wish to mark as the start of the song - in the example shown this will be 04.607 into the project.

Press Alt Enter to display the Project Settings window.

Select the tab labelled Project Settings.

Click the button labelled Use Cursor (see right). REAPER will automatically enter the correct position into the Project start time box for you.

Click on OK to close the Project Settings interface.

If you wish to mark this point, press the letter M on your keyboard. This creates a marker on your timeline labelled 1.

If you need to refresh your understanding of markers, look back thru Chapter 9.

The position of the marker is now set to 0:00.000 and you can jump straight to this point at any time by pressing 1 on your keyboard (see right).

If you wish, you can double-click on the marker to open up the Edit marker dialog box, where you can give it a name.

12.3 Crop Project to Selection[edit]

When recording, it�s not unusual to end up with a period of silence at the beginning, before your song actually starts, and varying periods of silence at the end of your various tracks, where you have perhaps allowed the recording to continue longer than necessary.

Of course, you can fix this by slip-editing your tracks individually, then dragging and dropping them to the start of your timeline. A quicker way would be to Crop project to selection. To crop a project to selection, do this:

  1. Click and drag along the background area to mark the area that you want to keep � see picture below.
  2. Right click over the Timeline and choose Crop project to selection from the menu. If you wish, press Esc when this is done to remove the time selection.

Tip: If immediately after cropping to selection (and before pressing Esc) you again right click over the Timeline and choose Zoom selection from the context menu (or use the shortcut keys Ctrl Numpad Plus your project will expand horizontally to fit the width of your Track View window.

12.4 Locking Media Items[edit]

Individual items can be locked into position to prevent their settings from being accidentally changed, such as by being moved or deleted, while at the same time leaving you free to manipulate other items as you wish.

To make use of this feature, first ensure that both of the item icons Locked and Not locked are selected (along with any other item icons that you wish to use) under your Options, Preferences, Appearance, Media settings (see above). Whether the icons are displayed on top of the media items or in a lane above it (as in the example below) will depend on whether you have enabled the option Draw item labels above rather than within the item.

Locking for individual media items is then toggled on and off by clicking on the small padlock item that will be visible at the top left corner of the media item.

The example above shows a track with two media items. The first item has been locked (notice the dark padlock icon). It can now not be deleted or moved, unless its status is set to unlock. Similarly, you cannot grab the handle across the top of the media item and drag it down to adjust its volume, nor can you add a fade in or fade out, nor can it be slip-edited.

You can, however, make changes to most of its settings within the Item Properties dialog box (pitch, play rate, FX Chain, and so on) or using the media item context menu. The second item, however, remains unlocked (notice the open padlock icon). It can (for example) be moved, or deleted, or have a fade out added. You can also open the item for editing, in the MIDI editor (MIDI items) or your installed external editor (audio items).

Locking and unlocking can also be performed with multiple items. To lock a number of items, simply hold the Ctrl key while you click on each item in turn to build the selection, then click on the padlock for any item included in the selection.

12.5 Locking Track Controls[edit]

The toggle command Lock Track Controls (from the track control panel right-click context menu) can be used to lock/unlock the controls for any track or selection of tracks. This prevents you from making accidental changes to any of the track's controls (e.g. Volume or Pan). In the example shown, track controls have been locked.

You can hover your mouse over the control of a locked track to see its current setting displayed as a tool tip.

12.6 Project Lock Settings[edit]

The Locking feature of REAPER can be used to effectively freeze certain aspects of a project file to prevent something accidentally being changed or deleted. There are two aspects to locking:

Deciding which project elements you would like to be locked.

Enabling or disabling the locking feature. The keyboard shortcut L can be used to toggle this on and off.

To display the Lock Settings window (shown right), press Shift L or right click over the lock button (the last item) on the toolbar. The table below summarises some of the ways in which you are able to make use of this feature. Select which ones you wish to lock, then Enable locking to actually lock them.

Locking Option Comment Time selection This locks the current time selection so that, for example, if you accidentally click and drag at some other point along the timeline your time selection will remain unchanged. You can remove a locked time selection by pressing Esc then selecting Yes when prompted.
Loop points Locks currently selected loop points.
Items full This option prevents you from making any changes at all to any of your existing media items. For example, you cannot mute them, add FX to them, delete them, move them, slip edit them, or even access the Item Properties window or right click menu for any of your items.
Items (prevent left/right movement) This option allows you to make any other changes you like to your media items except move them left or right.
Items (prevent up/down movement) This option allows you to make any other changes you like to your media items except move them up or down.
Item edges This option disables actions such as slip editing.
Item fade/volume handles This option can be used to prevent any adjustments being made to any item's volume handle or rotary fade controls.
Item stretch markers This option can be used to prevent any changes or movement from occurring to any item's stretch markers.
Item envelopes
Track envelopes
This option ensures that when locking is enabled you will not be able to make any changes to existing item and/or track envelopes. For example, you will not be able to move or add points, or change shapes. You will still be able to add new envelopes for faders and plug-in parameters, but you will not be able to edit these in any way. For more about envelopes see Chapter 18.
Regions Locking regions prevents you from changing (for example by moving, deleting or renaming) existing regions. However, you will be able to create new regions with Lock Regions enabled.
Markers Locking markers prevents you from changing (for example by moving, deleting or renaming) existing markers. However, you will be able to create new markers with Lock Markers enabled.
Time Signature Markers Locks time signature markers and prevents them from being modified.


Let�s suppose that we are happy with the way our media items line up, and we don�t want any of them being accidentally nudged or moved to the left or right. You might then wish to lock their horizontal position.

  1. Press Shift L to open the Locking Settings window.
  2. Tick only Items (prevent left/right movement).
  3. If Enable Locking is not enabled, click on it to turn it on.
  4. Now try to drag and drop any of your items to the left or right. They won�t move.
  5. Press the L key � this toggles locking off again.

12.7 Customizing Colors and Fonts[edit]

Chapter 15 of this User Guide covers REAPER's action list editor. One action that you might find useful is the action Theme development: Show theme tweak/configuration window

This is selected after choosing the Actions, Show action list... command. Enter theme in the filter window then select and Run the action Theme development: Show theme tweak/ configuration window.

Themes consist primarily of three types of materials: image files, color/font definitions and Windows settings. The image files provide, for example, the track control items and media item icons (pan and volume faders, mute and solo controls, etc.).

The definitions apply to items such as the font used for track names and the colors used for media items, track and mixer panels, edit and play cursors, markers, VU meters, envelopes, and so on. If you are not sure what any of the listed items are, you can use the Theme element finder to identify them (see below). To display this, Eter theme in the action list filter window then select and Run the action Theme development: Show theme element finder.

In addition to those installed with REAPER, many themes are available for download from To install a downloaded .ReaThemeZip file, drag and drop it from Windows Explorer into REAPER's Arrange View (main view).

The Load Theme � button (in the theme development/tweaker dialog) can be used to select any available theme. Scroll thru the Theme color/font settings list to see all of the items which you can change. Click on any item to open (as appropriate) the color picker or font dialog box, where you can change its definition.

Finally, having chosen your fonts and colors, you can save them all together into a new theme by clicking the Save theme... button and giving your theme a name.

12.8 The Project Media/FX Bay[edit]


The Project Media/FX Bay is a one stop center which you can use for managing and arranging a project's FX and media items. It is opened from the main menu by the View, Project Media/FX Bay command. The window contains five tabs (pages). The Item Groups (Chapter 7) and Take Comps (Chapter 8) tabs have already been introduced. The other three are:

Source Media. This lists the media items that are available for use in, or are already used in, the project. Each item will occur only once in this list. Where it is used more than once in the project, this will be indicated by the number in the Usage column.

Media Items. This lists only the items that are actually used in the project (i.e., active). An item will appear in this list as many times as it is used in the project.

FX. This lists the FX plug-ins that are used in the project.

You can drag media files (e.g., from REAPER's Media Explorer or from Windows Explorer) or FX (e.g., from the FX browser) into the Project Bay. Media items inserted in this way are added to the Source Media page. If the item is then used in the project, it will be added to the Media Items page. FX items are added to the FX bay.

You can rename items within the Project Bay, select all instances of a media file or FX within the project, and replace media/FX in the project with any other media/FX from the Project Bay. You can also mute/solo media items and bypass/unbypass FX.

Both Media pages and the FX page include a Retain column. When you drag media items or FX into the project bay, they are marked with a + in the retain column. This setting means that the entry will remain in the project bay even if there are no instances of that media item or FX in the project.

When you add media (by recording or inserting) to the project, they will appear as entries in the media items and source media bays, with the retain status unset. These entries will be automatically removed from the project bay if they are removed from the project itself. If you want the entries to remain in the project bay even after being removed from the project, you should enable retain for those entries in the source media bay.

FX entries in the project bay include a Preset column. If you change the value in this column (from the right-click menu), all instances of that FX in the project with the previous preset selected will be changed to the new preset. In addition, you can retain an FX entry with a specific preset, or multiple entries for the same FX with different presets, in the project bay.

The Project Bay includes the buttons Actions and Options. Clicking on either of these displays a menu. As an example, the Options menu is shown on the right. Most of these commands require little explanation.

Mirror selection in bay and project. When enabled, this causes an item selected in the project to also be selected in the bay, and vice versa. You can also ensure that REAPER will zoom to a selected item when this option is enabled.

Use last selected item as source for �draw a copy� mouse action. This enables you to use pencil mode to create copies of the last selected item.

Space bar previews media allows use of the spacebar to play the currently selected media or source media item. Loop media preview will allow any loop marked in the project to be applied. Preview (source or media items) through selected track allows you to play back the item with, for example, any FX in a particular track's FX chain, or any track envelopes, being applied. The Filter can be set to use name, path or comment.

Make sure the option Clear bay when changing projects is enabled if you wish to make each Project Bay project specific. Disable it if you want to carry over items in the current bay to the next project that you open or create. You also have the option to Automatically retain media items when they are removed from project. This ensures that retain status is automatically assigned when an item is removed from the project.

The Dock project bay and Close window commands are self-explanatory.

The commands on the Actions are shown right. They can be used with and applied to the items (media or FX) on whichever bay page is currently selected.

New project bay window opens a new project bay window. You can then use this (for example) to load a different saved project bay, whilst keeping the original bay open in the original window.

Create new folder. Individual project bay entries can be dragged and dropped in or out of the folder (see example below, where two folders have been created, Bells and Strings). Folders can be used for source media items (as shown below), Media Items (in project) or FX. Double click left of the folder name to collapse or expand the folder.

Force refresh forces a refresh of the project bay display.

Select all items causes all items in the current tab to be selected.

Retain all items causes all items in the current tab to be marked to be retained in the bay even when they are deleted from the project.

Remove all items from project will remove all items from the project, and Remove all items that are not used in project will remove from the media bay all items that are not used in the project.

The Media Explorer button (lower left) can be used to open the Media Explorer, from where media items can be dragged and dropped into the project bay (as source media) or into the project itself.

The rotary Volume control can be used to control the volume of any item being previewed when the option to preview thru selected track has been disabled.

The Bay button (bottom left) serves three basic functions. You can use it to create a new project bay, to replace the contents of the current bay with a previously saved one, or to merge the contents of a previously saved project bay into the current one.

The Source Media Bay and the Media Items Bay

The techniques for working with media items in both of these bays are very similar. The main differences are:

Items dragged into the Bay are placed in the Source Media Bay only, until such time as they are actually added to the project. They are then automatically also listed in the Media Items bay.

Only items which are active (and therefore included in the project) are shown in the Media Items Bay.

Active items can be managed from either of these bays. Available items can only be managed from the Source Media bay.

In order to do this � � you do this Change the column order Click and drag column header left or right. You can do this with any of the five Project Bay tabs selected.
Hide/Show columns Right click on any header, deselect/select from list.
Add an item to Source Media Bay Drag and drop from Windows Explorer or REAPER's Media Explorer. You can drag an entire item or (if using Media Explorer) a time selection.
To preview an item Select the item then press Space.
To add an item from Source Media or Media Items Bay to a project


  • Drag and drop from Bay into the project arrange view window,
  • Or � Select track and position cursor in Arrange view. Right-click on item name in Bay and choose Insert into project from context menu. If not already active, its status will now be made active.
To remove an item from within the project. Select the item and use the Delete key, either from the arrange view window or within the Media Bay.
To remove an inactive item from Source Media Bay Select item and press the Delete key, or right-click in item row in Retain column (to left of item name), then choose Remove from bay.
To remove all unused items from the Media bay Right click on title bar, choose Remove all items that are not used in project from the context menu.
To remove the retain status of an active item Select item in bay, right click in Retain column, choose Remove from bay if removed from project.
To remove all instances of an item from project Right-click item in Retain column for the item, choose Remove from project.
To reassign retain status to an active item Select item in Bay, right click in Retain column, choose Retain from menu.
To locate a Media Items Bay item or Source Media Bay item in the project Click on the item in the list then on the Usage button. Click on any item in that list in order to go to and select that item.
To mute an item in project Right-click on item, choose Mute from the context menu (to toggle).
To rename any media item Select item in the Bay: click Rename button or use the context menu.
To add comment to an item Double click in the comments column of the item row.
To filter the media item list Type a text string in the Filter box (e.g. vox to see only media items with vox in their name) then click on the Refresh button.
To clear a filter Click on Clear Filter button.
To replace a Source Media or Media Items item with another item Select item name in Source Media or Media Items list. Right-click and choose Replace in project. Then select from flyout menu, e.g. All instances or any single instance: choose the replacement item. The media format (e.g. MP3, WAV) need not be the same for both items.
To save an item set list from the Bay (for possible use in other projects) Select the items, then click on the Save button and choose one of the available options. You can Save selected items to a new project bay, or Save all items as a new project bay. For either of these, you will be prompted for a new .ReaBay file name. You also have the option to Save and merge selected items to an existing project bay file, in which case you will need to select the required file from the list.
To load a previously saved item set list. Click on the Bay button, choose a .ReaBay file from the list. You may Load and merge it with the current one, or replace the current one.
To sort media items list. Click on any column header to sort. Click again to reverse sort order.

The FX Bay and FX Parameter Bay

Many FX Bay management commands are the same as in the Media Bay � e.g., setting retain status on/off, applying and clearing filters, creating and using folders, and removing items from the media and FX bays are handled in exactly the same way. The example here shows three folders being used to organize the FX. This table emphasises those aspects more specific to the FX Bay itself.

In order to do this � � you do this Add FX from FX Bay to track or media item in project. Either... Select track or media item in Arrange view, right-click on plug-in name in FX Bay, choose Insert into project Or... Drag and drop plug-in from FX Bay to track panel or media item.
Open FX browser window Click on the FX Browser button.
Add FX to the FX Bay Drag and drop from FX Browser.
Locate and open FX window for any FX instance Right click over the track name or number in the Track column then click on the required instance. The Usage button can also be used for this.
Toggle any FX to bypass or offline Select the FX then choose Bypass or Offline from the right-click menu, or use the Bypass button (Shift-click for Offline.
Assign a preset to an FX (see note below table) Right-click in the Preset column for the FX and select from the menu.
Manage any FX parameter Right-click on FX name, choose FX parameters then FX parameters list, then select feature (e.g. Show in track controls or track envelope), then select parameter from list. More about this in Chapter 19.
Change FX instance preset Right-click in the Preset column for the FX and select from the menu.
Replace one FX with another project bay FX Right-click on FX name, choose Replace in project then select from the flyout menu of FX. You can replace all instances or a single instance.

Note: Some FX names may occur more than once in the list. In the example above, ReaComp appears twice. This is because one of these instances have been assigned a preset. This enables you to manage these separately. The preset stock � Modern vocal has been applied on one ReaComp on the Vox track.

Next to the FX tab in the Project Bay window there is a FX Parameters tab. This is used for managing various FX parameter features such as envelopes, learn mode and parameter modulation. This will be explained in Chapter 19, which deals with parameter modulation.

12.9 The Track Manager[edit]

The Track Manager (View, Track Manager) gives you overview control of your tracks. It displays a grid similar to a spreadsheet or table. If the grid is empty, click on the Show All button (above right) to display a list of the project's tracks.

Click on the Options button or right-click on the title bar to display a menu which includes Mirror track selection. This allows any track selection made in either the Track Manager or the TCP to be automatically applied in the other. You can also ensure that when this is enabled, selecting a track in the Track Manager will Scroll to selected track in TCP and mixer.

If your project includes folders with child tracks, then that hierarchy is retained within the track manager's track list. The option to Indent tracks in folders can be disabled from the Options menu. The other Options button menu items are explained in their context in the table below. The table also summarises what you are able to do within the track manager window.

To do this � � you do this Change column order Click and drag column header left or right.
Hide/Show columns Right click on any header, deselect/select from list.
Adjust column width Click and drag left or right on boundaries between column headers
Filter the track list by name Click and drag left or right on boundaries between column headers, Type text in filter box: e.g.� vo� to list in Track Manager only those tracks whose name includes vo. Supports use of NOT and OR filters: e.g. �bass OR guit� will find all tracks with either bass or guit as part of their track name. Use the appropriate Options menu commands to also Hide filtered-out tracks in TCP and/or Hide filtered-out tracks in mixer. The Clear button removes the filter. There is also an option on this menu to Display child tracks if folder parent is displayed. If you enable the option Close track manager on enter key in filter box from the Options menu, then pressing Enter in the filter box will automatically close the Track Manager.
Change TCP track order in track manager Drag and drop tracks up or down. This can be disabled by disabling Allow reordering tracks via track manager from the context menu.
Delete track Select track row and press Delete. You will be prompted to confirm this.
Show/hide Master Toggle Show master track in track manager in Options button menu.
Show/hide tracks in TCP/MCP Click in track row in TCP/MCP columns. You can use the toggle option (on the Options button) to Link TCP/Mixer visibility to synchronize track display. Supports �Swipe� (see last row of table).
Scroll track into view Double-click on track number in # column.
Set/change track color Click on the small square colored icon in the column left of the track number.
Open/show track FX chain The FX column shows the number of FX in each track's FX chain. Double-click on that cell to open the FX chain for that track.
Add FX to track or open an FX window Right click over the track's FX cell and use context menu.
Open/show track Input FX chain The IN-FX column shows the number of FX in each track's Input FX chain.
Monitor plug-in delay compensation Any plug-in delay compensation used by a track's FX will be indicated (in ms) in the track's PDC cell. Clicking on this cell toggles track FX bypass.
Arm/unarm tracks for recording Click in the R column for any track(s) to arm for recording. The letter R will be shown for armed tracks. Click again to unarm. Supports �Swipe� (below).Right click on any cell in this column to display record menu for that track.
Mute/unmute tracks Click in the M column to toggle mute status. All the modifier keys used in the TCP can be used here � e.g. Ctrl Mute to unmute all. Right-click for TCP mute context menu � see Chapter 5. Also supports �Swipe� (see below).
Solo/unsolo tracks Click in the S column to toggle solo status. All the modifier keys used in the TCP can be used here � e.g. Ctrl Alt Solo to solo exclusive. Right-click for TCP solo context menu � see Chapter 5. Also supports �Swipe� (see below).
Lock/unlock track controls Click in the Lock column to toggle lock status. Locked tracks display a + sign. Supports �Swipe� (see last row of table).
Lock track height Click in Height column to toggle.
Manage MIDI items Double-click a track's MIDI cell to open track MIDI items in new MIDI Editor. If item is already open, double-click to close. Right-click in cell for menu of options: Open in new MIDI editor, Open in existing MIDI editor, Open in existing MIDI editor (clear editor first) or Remove from MIDI editor. The third of these options removes from the MIDI editor any tracks/items already open before opening this one. Right-click in cell for menu of options: Open in new MIDI editor, Open in existing MIDI editor, Open in existing MIDI editor (clear editor first) or Remove from MIDI editor. The third of these options removes from the MIDI editor any tracks/items already open before opening this one.
Free Item Positioning on/off toggle Click in the FIPM column to toggle on/off Free Item Positioning. FIPM on shows a + sign. Supports �Swipe� (see last row of table).
Freeze/unfreeze tracks Select track(s) in Track Manager window, then choose whichever action you wish from the Freeze button menu. See also Chapter 6.
Sort Track Manager list Click on any column header. Click again to reverse sort order.
Manage track groups The track manager will respect grouped track parameters (Chapter 5). As with the grouping matrix, you can use Shift to temporarily over-ride these.
Swipe to toggle several adjacent tracks For example, to arm several adjacent tracks for recording, or to mute several adjacent tracks, or to enable free item positioning on a series of adjacent tracks. Click and drag/sweep down the appropriate column.

In the example shown above this table, the Vocal and Acoustic Guitar tracks and folders are the only ones shown in the TCP. All tracks are shown in the Mixer. The Vocals folder settings have been locked. Both the Vox Lead and Vox Harmy tracks are soloed. They are also FIPM enabled. The Reverb track uses plug-in delay compensation of 512 ms. Tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, and 11 have all been frozen, track 11 twice.

Tip: You can use the Screensets window to save different sets of Track Manager settings as Track Views, any of which can be recalled in an instant. Screen sets are explained later in this chapter.

12.10 Track View Screen Sets[edit]

Screen Sets enable you to save several different views of your project, so that you can easily select and recall them when editing or arranging. There are two types of Screen Set � Track Views and Windows.

Track Views are created and saved on a per project basis � the screen set data is stored in the project's .RPP file and can be recalled only when you are working with that project file. Using track view screen sets can be especially useful when you are editing or in some other way working closely with media items.

Windows screen sets are global and are stored in the Application Data screensets.ini file. They can be recalled from, and applied to, any project file.

The procedure for creating track views is:

Use the View, Screensets/Layouts command to show the Screen Sets window (the default keyboard shortcut is Ctrl E). The Screen Sets window may be docked (or undocked), and (if undocked) pinned to stay on top.

Adjust your track layouts to suit.

Select a number from the Track views page of the Screen Sets window.

Click on Save and name the set.

You can create up to 10 track view screen sets per project file. To recall a view, double click on its name.

You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to individual screen sets. By default, Shift F4 to Shift F6 are used to save your first three track views, and F4 to F6 are assigned to load each of these first three track views.

If you want to modify these, or assign shortcuts to other track views, then you should click on the Edit shortcuts button in the Screensets window. This opens the Action List Editor. For instructions on how to use the Action List Editor, see Chapter 15.

Notice that there is also an option available to Autosave when switching screensets. If enabled, this ensures when switching from one screen set to another that any changes made to the layout of the first of these screen sets will be saved. The Edit fields... button can be used to �tweak� this, so that only certain aspects of your changes are automatically saved.


  1. Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All Through The Night TRACK VIEWS.RPP.
  2. Adjust the track height of your Vox track as shown here (above).
  3. In the Screen Sets Track View page, click on 1, then Save to open the Save Track View dialog (below).
  4. Type: Vox View but do not yet press Enter.
  5. Take a look at the five options that are available. We'll examine these shortly. For this exercise, make sure that only Track control panel status is selected.
  6. Click on Save.
  7. Now adjust the track heights so that all tracks are minimized except the two guitar tracks. Make these two tracks high enough to show all track controls.
  8. In the Track views window, click on 2.
  9. Click on Save to open the Save Track View window.
  10. Again make sure that only Track control panel status is enabled and type Guitars View. Press Enter.
  11. To switch between these track layouts, double-click on their names in the Screen Sets window.

This simple example has introduced you to screen sets and how to use them. Because we selected only the option Track control panel status the project track layout was the only information saved with this screen set.

Notice the five options that you may choose to include in or exclude from a track view:

Track Cursor Position

Track Scroll Position

Horizontal Zoom

Track Control Panel Status

Track Mixer Status

Let's then now work thru a further example which use options other than track height.


  1. Horizontally zoom your project to display only the first 45 secs. Position the cursor at the 46 sec mark.
  2. In the track view page of the screensets window, click on 3 then on Save.
  3. Make sure that ONLY Track cursor position and Horizontal zoom are selected.
  4. Type a name for the screenset: Verse 1. Click on Save.

You can now at any time use track view screen set 3 to zoom to Verse 1 and position the play cursor there, and either of the other two screens sets to then zoom vertically to either the vocal or the guitar tracks. To remove any screen set that you do not wish to keep, simply select it and click on the Clear button.

Track Mixer Status

Notice that one of the options that you have when saving track view screensets is Track Mixer status. This option can be used to save any Track Manager settings regarding which tracks are and are not displayed in the Mixer at any time. Switching between different track views would then automatically select different selections of tracks to be shown in the Mixer.

Do not confuse this with the option Mixer flags in Windows screen sets, which allows you to select not which tracks but which mixer elements and options (FX inserts, sends, multiple rows, etc.) are applied.

Note: As you adjust the height and/or width of your track panel, the display area for track controls will become smaller or larger. Some control will disappear and reappear. An example is shown here.

12.11 Windows Screensets[edit]

Unlike track view Screen Sets, Windows Screen Sets are not project specific, but can be applied to any project. They are stored in the Application Data folder in a file called screensets.ini.

After opening the Screensets/Layouts view (Ctrl E), the procedures for creating Windows screen sets are as follows:

Decide which windows and views you want displayed, and arrange them on screen as you wish.

In the Screen Sets window, select the Windows page, select a number, then click on Save. Type a name, then select as many of the six options as you require (see below). Click on Save.

To recall and open any screen set, simply double-click on its name.

To change a screen set, open it, make the changes, then save it.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts with Windows screensets. By default, Shift F7 to Shift F9 are assigned to saving Windows screen sets 1 to 3, and F7 to F9 to loading them. These assignments can be changed in the Actions List Editor (see Chapter 15).

The options that you may choose to include in or exclude from any screen set are:

Main Window Position

Tool Window Positions

Docker Selected Tab

Mixer Flags


Last Focus

Some of these are self-explanatory. In addition, note that:

The tool window position option will cause the position of those windows which are defined by Windows as tool items (such as VST FX and the MIDI Editor) to be saved and recalled with the screen set. For any particular project, however, this will only be applied if that particular window exists in that project. This option is useful, for example, if you use a set of standard plug-ins in the Master and you want to easily be able to open and close all these FX windows when working with any project.

Enabling docker selected tab will ensure that whichever window in the docker is visible when the screen shot is saved will be visible when it is recalled.

The mixer flags option, if enabled, will save your various Mixer menu options (FX inserts, sends, folders, top level tracks, position of master, etc.) with the screen set. These options are discussed in detail in Chapter 11.

We encountered layouts in Chapter 11, in the context of the Mixer. You'll find more information about Layouts later in this chapter. Enabling this option will ensure that your layouts are saved with the screen set.

The last focus option can be selected to ensure that a particular view automatically is given focus whenever the Screen Set is loaded.

12.12 Auto Saving Screen Sets[edit]

You have the option to automatically save changes to your Track Views or Windows screen set layouts. To do this, simply ensure that the Auto-save when switching screensets option is selected (see below). This can be used to ensure for example, that if you change the selected tab to be displayed in the docker before switching to a different Windows screen set, when you return to the first screen set, REAPER will have remembered which docker tab was last selected.

If using auto-save, consider using the Edit fields... button to decide which elements for which you want changes automatically saved (see right).

The available options are all items that were included in your options when you created your screen sets.

12.13 Item Selection Sets[edit]

By using item selection sets, you are able to create many different selections of items within a project file and select all of the items in any set simply by selecting that set name. The procedure is as follows:

Use the command View, Screensets/Layouts to display the Screensets window.

Select the Selection sets tab.

Within your project, select all of the items to be included in the group. These can be on a single track or across any number of tracks.

Select a set number, then click on Save.

Give the group a name and press Enter.

At any time you can now recall that group by double-clicking on its name, or by selecting the name and clicking on Load.

In the example shown here, two selection sets have been created, one for Vox Verses and one for Vox Choruses. Simply by double-clicking on the required set name, we can select all of the items in either set.

12.14 Track, Mixer, Transport and Envelope Layouts[edit]

Layouts in general, and mixer layouts in particular, were discussed in Chapter 11. Layouts are created, stored and retrieved with individual themes. From the Layouts tab of the Screensets/Layouts window you can select any theme from the drop down theme list.

Layouts are designed and created for use with individual themes. Therefore, the choice of layouts available to you will be largely dependant on which theme you are using. Themes can be downloaded from

Layouts associated with your chosen theme will be available to you from the various drop-down lists in this window, such as track panel layouts and mixer panel layouts. For earlier themes that do not include any layouts, a number of standard layouts are available.

Shown right is an example, in this case double-clicking to display the Mixer Panel drop down list and to select a mixer layout. This is an example only � the exact range of choices available to you may not be exactly the same as shown here. When one of these drop down lists is displayed you can hover your mouse over any item to see how it looks, in this example in the mixer.

Here is a summary list of the main layout elements available:

Global Layout Selects theme defaults for all layout elements.
Transport Selects layout for the Transport bar.
Envelope Panel. Selects a layout for track envelope panels. See Chapter 18
Master Mixer Panel Selects a layout for the Master in the Mixer panel.
Mixer Panel Selects a layout for all tracks and folders in the Mixer panel.
Master Track Panel Selects a layout for the Master in the Track control panel.
Track Panel Selects a layout for all tracks and folders in the Track Control panel.
Selected track panel Selects a layout for selected tracks in the Track Control panel.
Selected track mixer panel Selects a layout for selected tracks in the Mixer panel.

Shown here is an example of one rather different track panel layout that you might choose � Standard Media. Amongst other things, it uses horizontal faders (rather than rotaries) for volume control.

You do not need to open the Layouts window to select layouts for a project. You can also use the Options, Layouts command from the main menu or the Track layout command from the TCP or MCP context menu.

Assigning Actions to Layouts

Within the Layouts screen you can assign up to 20 actions to quickly recall any layout. These can be assigned to shortcut keys and/or to custom toolbars.

In the example shown here, Action #1 has been assigned to select a Track Panel layout called Tracking and Action #2 is being assigned to select a different Track Panel called Vertical (vertical meters). You could then click on the Edit shortcuts button and assign shortcuts to the two actions Layout: apply custom layout #01 and Layout: apply custom layout #02. You could also use the Customize toolbar editor to create icons for these actions on one of your toolbars. See Chapter 15 for information on both how to assign keyboard shortcuts and how to create custom toolbars.

Default Theme Layouts

The drop down lists in the various Layouts categories include many options that you can explore. These include Track Panel specialist layouts for recording and tracking, and layouts with vertical meters. Mixer Panel layouts include narrow channel strips and wider strips with a sidebar to display FX chains, sends, etc. (see example right).

12.15 Further FX Parameter Management[edit]

In Chapters 2 and 5 we looked at some uses for the Param button in REAPER's FX plug-in windows. In chapters 16 and 17 you'll see how this can also be used to create automation envelopes and for parameter modulation. Meanwhile. here are some other ways in which you can use them.

If you touch any FX control (such as a fader) with your mouse and then click on the Param button you will see a menu similar to that shown here. In summary, these options are:

Show in track controls. Adds a rotary fader to TCP and (optionally) MCP for adjusting that parameter's value. See Chapter 11 and below.

Show track envelope. Adds an envelope for automating that parameter � see Chapter 18.

Parameter modulation. Enables parameter modulation for this item � see Chapter 19.

Learn. Allows you to assign this parameter to an external control device, such as a fader or button on a control surface � see The Learn Option below.

Alias parameter. Allows you to assign your own name to this one instance of this parameter. This name will be used, for example, on any track control or envelope that you create for this parameter.

FX parameter list. This causes a flyout menu of a list of all parameter controls for this FX to be shown. Using this menu is another method of assigning (or unassigning) any of these options to any parameter, rather than touching it with your mouse � see above right.

Most of these options are available only with FX in a track's FX chain (including the Master). However, Learn is also available with record input FX and monitoring FX. Learn and Show track envelope are both available with per take FX.

The MIDI Learn Option

Let's take a closer look at the Learn option.

When you touch the control in the FX window with your mouse and then click on Learn the Learn window is displayed (see below).

Twiddling the control (such as fader or rotary) on your control surface device will cause information to be displayed in the Command window about the channel and CC assignment for this control. This information is picked up from the control surface.

Choice of CC mode (absolute or relative) will depend on the parameter being assigned and your own control device. In many cases, absolute mode with soft takeover will be appropriate, but you may need to experiment.

Soft takeover: if enabled, the learned parameter will not be changed by moving a MIDI knob or fader until the MIDI knob/fader equals the value on the screen.

For example, if the current value of a parameter is (say) 100 and the controlling hardware slider is (say) 30, then with soft takeover enabled moving the fader will not cause any change to the parameter value until the value of the fader itself nears 100. If the fader is then moved to (say) 120, then the parameter value will also be moved to 120.

The option to Enable only when effect configuration is focused is especially powerful � it means that this control surface assignment will only be used when that plug-in has focus. This enables you to assign the same control surface fader to any number of different functions with different plug-ins. For example, the same fader used to control EQ gain in one plug-in could also be used to control the threshold setting on a compressor.

When one or more parameters in a plug-in has been assigned to a control surface, you will see an extra command on the Param menu � Default controller mappings.

This leads to a flyout menu (right). You can use this menu to save these settings as the default for this plug-in, so that these controls will be automatically made available whenever that plug-in is loaded into other tracks.

Other options on this menu (where a default has been saved) are to Clear default or Use default.

Show in track controls

When track controls are shown in the TCP and MCP, they are not only controls for individual parameters. They also serve as a gateway to managing your console. To display these in the Mixer, you must enable the option Show FX parameters when size permits from the Mixer menu.

Right click over any of the controls in the TCP or MCP for menu (see below right). This menu includes:

Remove from list. This removes the control from the TCP and MCP.

Learn, Modulate, Envelope and Alias. These four options are the same as on the Param button menu in the FX window. For example, from here you can add control surface support to any of your custom track controls by choosing Learn.

Plug-in Menu (shown in the example below are ReaEQ and ReaDelay). This lists the plug-ins in the track's FX chain, together with a flyout menu of all their parameters. You can use this menu to add controls for any of these parameters: the menu includes the option All parameters.In the MCP, when the option Show FX parameters when size permits is enabled, you can right-click in this area for any track to add controls to that track. An example is shown right. The actual menu that is displayed will, of course, depend on which FX are included in the track's FX chain.

Track Templates

Back in Chapter 3 when you were introduced to recording, we mentioned track templates and how useful they can be. Now that you have discovered a lot more about REAPER, it's worth revisiting this topic. Track templates can be your best friend when you are setting up your projects.

A track template can be made up of any track or any selection of tracks. For example, you might have a folder called Drums. This might contain a series of child tracks � Kick, Snare, Toms, Hi hat, etc. � all of which have their own track FX with their own settings, and with volume and pan faders set at their own levels. You could save the entire folder (parent) with its child tracks and all their settings into a single track template called Drum Kit.

Items that get included in track templates include track name, track control settings, track properties (color, icon, etc.), track FX (together with their parameter settings), track controls, FX alias names and FX parameter alias names, parameter modulation, FX parameters, sends and receives, and more.

To save a track (or selection of tracks) as a track template, choose Track, Save tracks as track template from the main menu. To insert tracks from a track template into a project, choose Insert track from template from the same menu.

12.16 Track Control Panel and Menu Bar Help[edit]

A selection of useful information can be displayed below the control panel and at the end of the main menu bar. Right click just below the track control panel and select from these options:

Selected track/item/envelope details

CPU/RAM usage, Time since last save

Track/item count


No information display

Show mouse editing help

The first five of these options are mutually exclusive: that is you can select only one of them. In the case of the menu bar (right hand end), you can select as many or as few of the following options:

Show free disk space

Show recording path

Show recording volume name

Show recording format

Show audio device information

This menu also gives you access to the Audio Device page of your preferences, the Media Settings page of your project settings, and the Monitoring FX window.

12.17 Using Multiple Dockers[edit]

In Chapter 2 you were introduced to working with REAPER's docker as an aid to navigating your way thru REAPER's various views and windows. In fact you are not restricted to just one docker: you can create up to 16 dockers if you wish. In the example shown here, we have two dockers attached to the bottom of the main window and a floating docker. The first docker (bottom left) contains tabs for displaying the Routing matrix, the Mixer, and the Media Explorer. The second is used to display at any time the Screensets window, the Track Manager or the Undo History. The floating window is a third docker, and this contains tabs for displaying the FX chains for four of the tracks in the current project. This is, of course, only an example.

These instructions assume that you are already familiar with the basic techniques for docking and undocking windows, and so on, as explained in Chapter 2. You can attach any docker to the main window in any of the four positions. You can also choose the same position for more than one docker (for example, you might wish to attach two dockers to the right).

To do this � You need to do this ... Attach a docker to the main window Click on the ! to display the menu, then choose Attach docker to main window, then select a position (bottom, left, top or right). More than one docker can be attached to any of these positions. Click and drag on the boundary between two dockers docked in the same position to adjust the position of the boundary between them (and therefore the relative size of the two dockers. Use this menu also to change the position of a docker, e.g. from top to left.
Dock a window Right-click on the window's title bar and choose the command Dock � in Docker.
Create a new docker Drag and drop any tab from an existing docker into the arrange view area.
Move a window from one docker to another Drag and drop the tab from its present docker to its new one.
Reorder tabs in any docker Drag and drop tabs left or right.
Close a docked tab Alt Click on tab, or click on tab x button.

12.18 Saving New Project Versions[edit]

REAPER's action list includes an action File: Save new version of project (automatically increment project name) which by default is assigned to the keyboard shortcut Ctrl Alt Shift S. This causes a new .RPP file to be created when you save a project. Thus, if, for example, you have a file open called WinterBlues.RPP then running this action would cause this project in its current state to be saved as WinterBlues_1.RPP. Running the action again would save it as WinterBlues_2.RPP, and so on.

12.19 Multiple Project Backup Versions[edit]

The Project page of REAPER's Preferences includes an option when saving to create multiple rpp-bak backup files. To do this, enable the option Keep multiple versions, with or without (as you wish) their own undo histories. If enabled, using File, Save project as... to save a project (over writing the previous file) will cause a new time and date stamped backup version to be created.

Opening the .RPP file will always open the most recently saved version. However, opening the RPP-BAK file will cause a Choose version from backup file dialog to be displayed. Here you can select which version you would like to load. With multiple project tabs you are able to have multiple versions open at the same time.

12.20 Associating Rendered WAV Files with Source Project Files[edit]

When using the File, Render command to render a project (or part of a project) to .WAV file(s), there is an option to Include project file name in BWF data. Rendering is discussed in detail in Chapter 21. If this option is enabled, the RPP project name will be embedded in the rendered file(s). This ensures that this RPP file will remain associated with the rendered WAV file(s).

If any file rendered with this option enabled is subsequently inserted into another project, then the command Open associated project in tab: xxx.RPP (where �xxx� represents the associated project file name) will appear under Open items in editor on the media item context menu.

This can be used to create a new project tab into which it will open the associated RPP file.

12.21 Projects and Subprojects[edit]

A very powerful feature of REAPER is the ability to build a master project that uses any number of subprojects, rather than having to store all your individual tracks, folders and media items within a single project file. As you are about to see, this has many potential applications but is likely to be especially useful for those projects which require a very large number of tracks or for sound design projects where you might wish to use subprojects to build a single overall audio item. The more the subprojects contain multiple media items which need intricate editing, or make use of features such as automation, parameter modulation and FX, the greater are the potential benefits (in terms of project management) that can be gained from using subprojects. A more advanced application might be for a single subproject (or proxy) to be used in multiple projects (for example, advertisements), so that when it is updated all of the �master� projects are automatically updated.

Before you consider working with subprojects, however, you should first develop a solid knowledge and understanding of REAPER's essential project building features, such as (but not confined to) audio and MIDI recording, the media explorer, editing media items, track and item FX and automation, and so on.

In principle, subprojects are not too difficult to understand. Shortly we will work thru an example. In overview, the basic steps involved in using it are as follows:

  1. Create a new project file in the normal way (Ctrl N), and save it. In doing this, it is advisable to select the option to create a subdirectory for the project. Consider also whether you wish to use one of the options to copy or move all media into the project directory.
  2. Create (either by recording or importing, or some combination of both) one or more tracks for this project, such as some foundation tracks or a guide track. You do not have to do this before adding any subprojects, but it can often make sense to do so.
  3. Create a track to �hold� your subproject. The reason for this should become clear shortly. Name this track: e.g., if it is for drums, call it Drums, or for strings, call it Strings, or for foley or sound effects call it Foley or SFX, and so on.
  4. Select this track and choose the command Insert, New subproject. If you wish, you can set the initial length of the subproject by defining a time selection before doing this. When prompted, accept the default name or make up a name (e.g. DrumsSub, StringsSub, etc.) and click on Save.
  5. A short media item will be inserted at the play cursor position. This is (or represents) the subproject.
  6. Double-click on this item to open the sub-project in a new tab. Two markers are automatically created, (=START and =END) at the start and end of the subproject. They define the rendered portion of the subproject, and can be moved or deleted at any time.
  7. Build your subproject by recording or importing media as required. Various options that control playback behavior when working with multiple projects open are available on the project tab context menu. We'll get round to explaining these shortly.
  8. When finished, press Ctrl S to save the subproject. The media items will be rendered to a single file which will appear as a single media item on its own track in the main project.
  9. Display the main project (select its project tab). You may need to extend the length of the media item on the sub project track to display its contents. You may now close the subproject file if you wish. It can be re-opened by double-clicking on the media item in the main project file. With large projects (e.g. with many sample based instruments) that are slow to load it can be simpler just to keep them open, although doing so will use more RAM.
  10. When you play the main project file, its output will now include the rendered contents of your subproject.


Let's now look at an example of how this might be done in practice. To make it easier to understand, this example will be kept to a simple project. After reading thru this, you might be able to then think of a further example that you can try out for yourself using your own projects.

  1. Here we have created a new project file, and saved it into its own subdirectory, calling it WaitingMain.RPP, We have recorded a guide track and added a second track, called Drums.
  2. After selecting the Drums track we used the command Insert, New subproject to insert a subproject which we named and saved as DrumsSub.RPP. Notice both the short media item that is automatically added to the track and the new project tab above the toolbar.
  3. We select the DrumsSub subproject either by clicking on its project tab or by double-clicking on the media item. We right click on this file's project tab and enable the options Synchronize any parent projects on playback, Run background projects, Run stopped background projects, Play stopped background projects with active project and Synchronize play start times w/play background projects.. We'll get to the two markers shortly.
  4. We build our drum tracks in the normal way. For the sake of simplicity, in this example we have just added two tracks, but of course we could have as many as we require. Whenever we play these back, the guide track in the master project will also be heard. Track volume and pan settings are adjusted as required, FX and envelopes are added, and so on. When finished, we move the =END marker to the end of the tracks.
  5. We now save this file. Notice that audio output is rendered as the file is saved. We return to the main project. At first sight, nothing seems to have changed:
  6. However, when we extend the media item to the right, we can see the rendered drums:
  7. If we close the DrumsSub project and play the main project file, the rendered drums can clearly be heard along with the guide track.
  8. Any later changes that we make to the DrumsSub project will be included in the audio file that is rendered when the subproject is saved. Thus, when the main project is next opened, the audio item on the Drums track will include these updates.
  9. We can now add further subprojects, in this example one each for the vocals and the rhythm section. The guide track is no longer required: it can be muted and hidden. We can also make further edits, add FX, etc. to the rendered subproject tracks:

This example has been kept simple for learning purposes. In practise, subprojects are most useful when working with complex and intense applications such as movie scores, radio programs, large orchestral arrangements, game/video sound design and electronic music production. Another potential application is in finalising an album, with each song being inserted as a separate subproject within a master project.

Working with subprojects � some handy tips and hints

It's easy to stumble and make (sometimes elementary) mistakes when trying out something new. These comments are not comprehensive but they are here to help you.

Creating a subproject file

It's not the end of the world if you forget to position the edit cursor in the master project accurately before creating a subproject. You can move the media item within the master project file later.

You can specify the position and length of a subproject by defining a time selection before you create it.

It usually pays to ensure that the master project is set up within a new folder, and the subprojects are all stored in that same folder.

Don't use the name of an existing file in the same folder as a subproject file name. If you do, you will overwrite that file with a new empty one.

Individual media items from an existing project file can be imported into a subproject file in the usual way (e.g. using REAPER's Insert, Media item command, or via the media explorer).

An existing .RPP project file can be imported into a master project as a new subproject item.

Either drag and drop the .RPP file from media explorer into an empty track in the master file, and when prompted choose Insert project as media item, or select the empty track and use the Insert, Media file... command.

An existing media item (or item selection) in a master project file can be extracted from the master file and moved into a new subproject file. Right-click on the selected item(s) and choose Move items to new subproject. Items within the selection on the same track will be moved to a single subproject file. Items on different tracks will be each be moved into a separate subproject file. The subproject file is fully editable: its contents will appear in the master project file as a single item, which will be updated each time the subproject file is saved.

An entire track or selection of existing tracks in a master project file can be converted into a subproject by following these steps:

  1. In the TCP, select the track or a number of tracks. If these are enclose in a folder, include the folder in your selection.
  2. From the main menu, choose Track, Move tracks to new subproject.

The tracks (including any folders) will be moved and saved to a new subproject file: their output will appear in the master file as a rendered single item on a single track. Note, however, that any sends/receives between the selected tracks and any other tracks in the master file will be removed.

Working with subproject files

If your master/subproject arrangements become very complicated, and you wish to be able to save without having to wait for rendering to complete, click on one of the project tabs and enable the option Defer rendering of subprojects (render on tab switch rather than on save).

A new subproject file will take some project settings (e.g. BPM, time sig) from the master project file. However, changes to master project settings will not be automatically applied to subprojects.

You do not need to have the master file (or any other file) open when you are working on a subproject file. The file will be automatically re-rendered when you save your changes, and it is this re-rendered version that will be displayed when you next open the master file. However, often you will want to have the master project file open, to give your subproject file(s) relevant context.

The =START and =END markers can be used to ensure that only a portion of the material in a subproject file is rendered and returned to the master file when the project is saved (shown here).

If you delete these two markers, the entire project from the start (zero on timeline) to the end of the last item will be rendered when the file is saved. This could lead to the loss of reverb tails if the reverb is intended to play beyond the end of the last item.

When you play back a subproject file with Run background projects and Synchronize any parent projects on playback enabled, the item takes in the master file that correspond with that subproject file will be automatically muted, and remains so as long as that subproject remains the active project.. This prevents the same material from being played twice.

If when working on a subproject file you wish to hear only the contents of that file on playback, you should disable the project tab option Synchronize any parent projects on playback.

Be aware that if a subproject has been edited within the parent project (e.g. with FX, playrate changes, etc.) the Synchronize any parent projects on playback option may not produce the same results as playback of the parent project would provide.

You have already learnt that when a subproject file is saved its contents are rendered to audio. This process uses that file's project render realtime/online settings. Thus, if you wish you can use different render settings for different subproject files.

A subproject file can be auditioned in media explorer. Navigate to the correct folder, and select the .RPP project in the usual way. The audio render will be played. This enables you to play it back in media explorer without having to open it. Within media explorer, the Options menu includes Auto-render proxy (subproject) to preview REAPER.RPP projects. If enabled, this ensures that when you select an .RPP subproject view for preview, if it needs rendering it will automatically be rendered.

Within the main project file, you can create a new take of any subproject item. Just right-click on the media item and from the context menu choose Open items in editor, then Open item copies in subproject tab. You will now have two subproject files for this track. These two files can be edited independently of each other and will be displayed in the master project as two separate takes. They can be manipulated and edited in exactly the same way as any other takes.

Your subproject files, like any other project files, can include markers and regions, as you wish. On saving, any regions will be identifiable within that subproject's rendered media item in the main project file.

Summary of master and subproject project tab options

Parent projects:

If you enable the option Run background projects then you can fine tune how the background projects should behave by enabling or disabling any or all of the options Run stopped background projects, Play stopped background projects with active project and Synchronize play start times w/play background projects.


If you enable the option Run background projects then you can fine tune how the background projects should behave by enabling or disabling any or all of the options Synchronize any parent projects on playback, Run stopped background projects, Play stopped background projects with active project and Synchronize play start times w/play background projects.

On both parent and subproject project tabs various subproject rendering toggle options are available. These are Do not automatically render subprojects (require manual render), Prompt before automatic rerender of background subprojects, Defer rendering of subprojects (render on tab switch rather than save) and Leave subproject open in tab after automatic open and render.