Working with Folders

A folder is a region that can contain other regions, much like a folder in the Finder can contain other folders or files. In principle, you can edit folders as you would edit MIDI regions.

One way to visualize a folder is as an arrangement within an arrangement. A folder can contain as many tracks, featuring regions, as required. A closed folder looks like a MIDI region, but is placed on a track assigned to a folder in the track list, rather than a channel strip.

Figure. Arrange area showing closed folder track.

When opened, folders look just like the Arrange area and track list in a project.

Figure. Arrange area showing open folder track.

All regions in the folder are routed to, and played by, the channel strips set in the folder’s track list, just as they would at the top level of the Arrange window.

Note: If you drag a folder to a track that is set to an instrument channel strip, its entire contents (all MIDI regions within the folder) are played by that instrument. This usually only makes sense if the folder contains tracks for a given instrument or instrument type, such as a drum kit or generic string sound. This technique provides a quick way of listening to a string arrangement, if some of the intended sound sources are unavailable, for example.

For example, a brass section folder could contain trumpet, saxophone, and trombone tracks, or perhaps 14 tracks of drum instruments, which you may want to treat as a single drum pattern region.

In the same way, your entire project, including all tracks and regions, could itself be a folder, appearing as a gray beam in an arrangement. In this way, you could arrange several projects for a concert.

This is not all that folders can do. You can use folders to represent song choruses and verses, for example. As in the Finder, you can place as many folders as you like within other folders, and within yet more folders (for the instrument groups within the different parts of the song, as an example), with no limit to the number of levels you can create.

Another possible use might be to store different arrangements of a project in different folders, allowing you to switch between them rapidly.

Packing and Unpacking Folders

You can pack selected regions into a folder, or create an empty folder and add regions to it.

To pack selected regions into a folder
  1. Select the regions.

  2. Choose Region > Folder > Pack Folder (or use the corresponding key command, default assignment:  Shift-Command-F).

If all selected regions are located on different tracks, a new folder track is created.

If all selected regions are located on the same track, the folder is created on that very track, and not on a separate folder track.

Note: When moving a folder with just one content track between tracks of matching type, the content always plays back via the channel strip of the hosting track.

If no region is selected, Logic Express creates an empty folder. It contains no regions—just tracks assigned to all channel strips from the current level.

To unpack a folder
  1. Select the folder.

  2. Choose one of the following commands:

    • Choose Region > Folder > Unpack Folder.

      The Arrange window updates to display the contents (the tracks and regions) of the folder.

    • Choose Region > Folder > Unpack Folders (Create New Tracks), or use the “Unpack Folder to New Tracks” key command, default assignment:  Command-U.

      Logic Express creates new tracks on the same level that the folder was located on (below the former folder track).

    • Choose Region > Folder > Unpack Folders (Use Existing Tracks), or use the “Unpack Folder to Existing Tracks” key command.

      The regions contained within the folder are placed on tracks assigned to appropriate channel strips.

Entering and Exiting Folders

Once you have packed a folder, you will generally enter and exit it to alter data, as your arrangement grows. You can easily differentiate when you are inside or outside of the folder display in the Arrange window:

  • When at the top Arrange level (outside the folder), the folder itself is visible on a track, the Arrange window title bar shows the project name, and the Hierarchy button is dimmed.

  • When inside a folder, the folder track can’t be seen, the Arrange title bar shows the project name followed by the folder name (Untitled:  Chorus Folder, for example), and the Hierarchy button is available.

To enter a folder
Do one of the following:
  • Double-click the folder region.

  • Select the folder you want to enter, then use the Go Into Folder or Region key command.

    You should ensure that the folder is selected before using the command. If a MIDI region is selected, the Event List editor (showing the MIDI region content) is opened.

Double-clicking a folder track name in the track list opens the Mixer.

To exit a folder
Do one of the following:
  • Double-click the (folder) Arrange area background (or use the Go Out of Folder or Region key command).

  • Click the Hierarchy button at the left end of the Arrange area’s local menu bar. The help tag shows Leave Folder.

You move one level up the display hierarchy, and the contents of the Arrange window (showing the closed folder) are visible.

Adding and Removing Regions from Folders

You can easily add regions to, or remove regions from, an existing folder. This is fairly commonplace as you will often experiment with your arrangement, and find that you need to add or remove parts.

To move regions into a folder
  • At the top level of the Arrange hierarchy (outside the folder) drag the regions onto the folder, at the desired position.

    Figure. Arrange area showing regions dragged onto a folder.

    If the folder does not already contain a track that uses the same channel as the source region, Logic Express creates one. If it does, this channel is used. When you enter the folder, you see the dragged regions at the drop position.

    Figure. Arrange area showing dragged regions inside the folder track.
To drag individual regions out of folders
  1. Open a second Arrange window by choosing Window > Arrange in the main menu bar (or using the Open Arrange Window key command, default assignment:  Command-1).

  2. Enter the folder that you want to remove the region from in one of the two Arrange areas.

  3. Drag the region from the folder into the other Arrange area.

You can also cut a region from a folder, using the Edit > Cut command. This transfers the region to the Clipboard. You can then copy the region to the desired Arrange area position using the Edit > Paste command.

Creating an Alias Folder

You can create a copy of a folder that contains aliases and clones of the regions in the original folder. The advantage is that, within this folder, you can (for example) mute regions, and alter program, instrument, or playback parameters. This provides you with an alternate mix folder—don’t forget that folders can be muted and soloed, like other regions—allowing you to quickly switch between different arrangement versions.

To create an alias folder
  1. Select a folder.

  2. Choose MIDI > Alias > Make but Copy Folder.