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When installing OSARA, there is an option to install the OSARA Key Map. All keyboard commands described in this Wiki, unless specifically noted, will assume that you have this installed. A number of the OSARA bindings use actions that are from SWS, this is another reason to install SWS when installing Reaper and Osara.

Most of the Wiki content will include the Windows mapping, if you use Reaper on the Mac, then the below conversions will assist in finding the Mac version.

Windows to Mac

  • Windows Control is Mac Command
  • Windows Alt is Mac Option
  • The Windows Key is Mac Control

The vast majority of keystrokes are mapped as per the above conversions. There are a few exceptions to this though. In some cases commands on Windows when converted to Mac, run into system commands or are problematic for other reasons. For example, the action "Unmute all tracks," is Control+F5, on the Mac, this is Command+F5 and toggles Voice-Over off an on. In these situations, the Mac Command Key is replaced with the Mac Control key. Another class of actions that have slight differences between Windows and Mac are those for adjusting the boundaries of time selections and item edges. To adjust the left boundary of these you use the Control key as the modifier on Windows and Option as the modifier on Mac. The right boundary uses Alt as the modifier on windows, and Command as the modifier on Mac.

As many of the actions in Reaper use the F-Keys, you may wish to change the default behaviour of these keys under System Preferences for your Mac. For example, by default F11 and F12 control volume. Go into System Preferences, Keyboard, and find 'Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys'. After checking this box, you can now use these keys as described, as standard function keys rather then controlling the hardware. If you still want to be able to use them to control hardware, add the FN key.

The Actions List

A really great aspect of Reaper is the Actions List. Essentially, anything that Reaper can do can be assigned to a keyboard shortcut or a button, knob, slider, pad or key on a midi keyboard or controller. This is excellent news for blind users. Even better is the fact that many of Reaper's actions are already assigned to keyboard shortcuts, and OSARA and the Sws extension extends this even further. We covered how to download OSARA and SWS in the Getting Started section. You will need OSARA in order to make Reaper accessible.

All possible actions, along with information about associated keyboard shortcuts, can be found in the Actions List. The way to immediately get to this is to press F4. The Actions List is a very powerful tool. The first thing you land on when you press F4 is an edit field that allows you to type in order to filter down your results. If you Tab a few times past the edit field, you will get to a list of actions, preceded by the associated shortcut. The keyboard shortcut, if there is one assigned, is read first, followed by the description of what that shortcut does. If there isn't a shortcut assigned to an action, but you would like there to be, you can easily assign one, but we will cover that in a moment. If you press enter, the selected action will be carried out and you exit the Actions List, if you press escape you will simply exit the Actions List.

managing shortcuts

To assign a shortcut to an action that does not have one, first locate it on the list of shortcuts by selecting it with the up or down arrow keys. If then the tab key is pressed once, another list will be announced, which contains the shortcut or shortcuts that belong to that action (there can be more than one indeed). Tabbing once more will place the focus on an add button, tabbing one more time will place the focus on a delete button.

adding shortcuts

To add a shortcut you can tab to the add button, and press enter or space on it. You can then press the desired key combination and then press enter. If the hotkey is already bound to another action, reaper will alert you of this fact and will ask you if you wish to override the mapping. If you answer no, changes are discarded and you are back on the actions dialog. If you answer yes, whichever action it is that had that key combination already in use will have it removed and the new assignment will be valid for the action for which you just added a shortcut.

If you tab inside the dialog in which you add a shortcut instead of typing in a hotkey or moving a midi controller to assign to an action, you will find a button called special key, enter, tab... You can thus press enter on that button, press shift enter for example, then press enter once more, and your shortcut will be assigned to shift enter and you will be taken back to the actions list dialog.

deleting assignments

To delete a hotkey combination that has been assigned to a particular action you first have to select the action, then the assigned hotkey from the list that is before the add... button, and then you can press enter or space on the delete button. There is no confirmation dialog!

what about the other buttons on the actions dialog?

There are two new... buttons The first one of them will create a custom action and another one will be for making a new ReaScript. The "load..." button will open a dialog that prompts for a reaScript file, and the import/export button will let you import and export reaper key maps. The menu editor will allow you to customize every aspect of the menus in reaper, including which actions will apear or disappear! from what menu and the order in which they appear, their names, titles ETC. And you can import and export all of those menu sets as well.

creating custom action macros

A custom action consists of a series of actions, bundled together into one single keystroke. There is no limit into how many actions you can have assigned to just one key. For example, one of the actions already present in the osara key map is assigned to the letter A, and its called

Custom: Select and split item under edit or play cursor

Which uses two different actions:

  • Xenakios/SWS: Select items under edit cursor on selected tracks
  • Item: Split items at edit or play cursor

When you press the first "new..." button in the action dialog you will come to the screen that lets you create custom actions. a description of this dialog follows

  • the first edit box that you will encounter as soon as you open the dialog is for the action name.
  • consolidate undo points: this checkbox lets you group all of the performed actions into one if you wish. Useful when you repeat one action several times and do not want your undo history to be cluttered.
  • filter: enter here actions to search
  • the OK and cancel buttons save and discard your changes or new actions
  • the first list. Here, you will have a list of every action in reaper. if you used the search filter, you will see your results here
  • list two, or second list: here is where your sequence of actions go, in order.
  • Show in actions menu: this option lets you toggle the visibility of this custom action in the recently used actions menu.

So, how to add actions from the first list to the second list? What you will have to do is to select the desired action on the first list, and then use your screen reader's cursor routing functions.

  • For jaws this is routing the jaws cursor to pc using jaws plus numpad minus (desktops), jaws plus left bracket (laptops) and then performing a double click.
  • For NVDA, you have to move the mouse to the current navigator object insert plus numpad dash (desktops), alt shift M (laptops) and then use the keystroke that performs the default action on the current navigator object using NVDA plus enter. However if your navigator object follows your cursor, you just press NVDA plus enter without having to route the mouse.
  • to do: how is this done using voiceover?

After you have double clicked the action it will show up in the second list. If you need to remove an action from that list, you first select it and then tab five times to find a button called remove action.

One obvious use case for custom actions would be to create two actions to navigate to the top of the track list, and then speaking the track name. Same for navigating to the bottom of the track list, then speaking the track name as reaper does not have such actions yet. To do this

  1. open the create custom actions dialog, and then give the action a name
  2. use the filter to search for the action Track: Select track 01
  3. tab to the list containing the results, and add this action to the second list.
  4. go back to the search filter and search for Track: Select last touched track
  5. tab to the list containing the results, and add this action to the second list. There should be two in this exact order.
  6. go back to the search filter and search for OSARA: Report track/item/time selection (depending on focus)
  7. tab to the list containing the results, and add this action to the second list. There should be three in this exact order.
  8. press the OK button, and you are ready to assign a shortcut as described above.

To create an action that will go to the bottom of the track list, you will need to bundle all of the following:

  • Track: Select all tracks
  • Xenakios/SWS: Select last of selected tracks
  • OSARA: report track/item/time selection (depending on focus)

There is also an audio tutorial available which describes how to make custom actions.

Shortcut help

One very effective way to learn Reaper is by using shortcut Help. When in Shortcut Help, press any key or combination of keys on your computer keyboard to hear what action is associated to that key or key combination. For instance, if you press down arrow, you will hear, “go to next track.” If you press up arrow, you will hear, “go to previous track.” If you press control space, you will discover that this is to play and pause. You can enter and exit Shortcut Help by pressing F12. If you have a midi controller or keyboard and actions are assigned to any of its buttons, faders or knobs then pressing, fading or turning any of them will also read out the associated action. Lastly, there is a neatly compiled Reaper shortcut key list by headings which includes every reaper keyboard shortcut and lists them in terms of function.