Keyboard Shortcuts

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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.

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.

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.