Global Tracks - Three of Them

Thursday, November 16, 2017 09:30

The Global Tracks Button in Logic Pro X functions as a toggle, switching between two states, Show/Hide Global Tracks. But this button has a "hidden" third state that definitely should be part of your workflow.

Quick Answer

If you are a busy (or impatient) person and want the answer about this third state of the Global Tracks Button right away, here we go:

Press the G key

The Key Command G  toggles between Hide Global Tracks  and Show Global Tracks ➌.

Press the Apostrophe Key

The Key Command ''  (the apostrophe key next to the return key) toggles between Hide Global Tracks  and Show Marker Track Only ➏.


Now let''s go into a little bit more details behind those Global Tracks and review a few things along the way.

Basic Functionality

The Global Tracks Button is located on the Track List Header, the area on top of the Tracks List. The Global Tracks are disabled by default and the button is grayed out ➊. When you click on it, the following will happen:

  • The area between the Track List Header (where the button is located) and the Tracks expands  to display four of the seven Global Tracks.
  • The Global Track Button changes its appearance from a gray button to a blue button  and the tiny downward arrow now pointing upwards.
  • Click the button again to hide the Global Tracks.

Of course, using the Key Command G is much faster and it won''t get easier than that to remember the key "G", "Global Track".

Shortcut Menu

Right-click on any of the Global Track Headers  to open their Shortcut Menu ➎. It lists all the seven Global Tracks. Click on the individual items to determine which Global Tracks are shown when you enable the Global Tracks Button. The menu also lists the corresponding Key Commands  that lets you quickly toggle individual Global Tracks to be enabled or disabled from the list. Please note that using any of these commands will also show the Global Tracks if they were hidden.

The Menu is also available from the Main Menu Track  ➤ Global Tracks ➤

There is an additional item on the menu: "Configure Global Tracks..."  that opens the Global Tracks Configuration Popover.

Global Tracks Configuration Popover

Selecting the item "Configure Global Tracks..." or using its Key Command opt+G will open the Global Tracks Configuration Popover . BTW, "popovers" are the black windows with that arrow (the "anchor" ) pointing at the area that it controls.

The popover lists the same seven Global Tracks ➌ as the Shortcut Menu, but instead of selecting/deselecting items one at a time, here you can conveniently check and uncheck the checkboxes. Close the popover by clicking outside the window or using the same Key Command again opt+G.

Reorder & Resize

There are two handy little actions you shouldn''t overlook:

  • Reorder: Drag a Global Track Header up or down to arrange the order of the visible Global Tracks. The mouse cursor changes to a fist  and the blue line  indicates the position where you drag that Global Track.
  • Resize: When you move the mouse on the divider line at the bottom of a Global Track Header, it changes to the Resize Tool  and you can now drag up/down to change the height of that Global Track.

The Hidden Button

The reason for the third button is based on the limitation regarding the Marker Track (or maybe because that functionality was there in Logic before and was removed?).

The Marker Track

The Marker Track is special among the Global Tracks. If you show the Global Tracks , created some Markers  on the Marker Track, and then hide  the Global Tracks, then those Markers will still be visible. They are now displayed on the Playhead Ruler ➍, the always visible strip where the Playhead Thumb  is displayed.

However, the functionality of this mini-Markers on the Playhead Ruler is limited, and if you want to fully edit the Marker Track, then you have to make the Global Tracks visible again.

This, however, makes all the other Global Track that you might have selected, also visible. You can hide them, but now you have to un-hide them when you need to see them ... too much clicking around ... unless there is an easier solution.

Bonus Information

Before we continue, here are some handy Key Commands that you can use on the mini-Markers displayed on the Playhead Ruler:

  • Cmd+drag the Marker to move it.
  • Cmd+double-click on a Marker to rename it. There is a bug and you first have to move the Playhead over the Marker you want to rename.
  • Opt+click on a Marker to place the Playhead at the beginning of the Marker.
  • Sh+click on a Marker to move the Cycle Range to that Marker, adapting to its length and move the Playhead to that click position.
  • Sh+opt+click on a Marker to move the Cycle Range to that Marker, adapting to its length and place the Playhead at the begging of that Maker.

The Hidden Marker Track Feature

And finally, the hidden Global Track Button.

Logic provides a special command, only available as a Key Command, that switches to a special Global Track view, only displaying the Marker Track. This special Global Track view is indicated by the third appearance of the Global Track Button.

So now you have two toggles:

  • Show/Hide Global Tracks: The Key Command G (or clicking on the Global Tracks Button) toggles between hiding the Global Tracks and showing the Global Tracks.
  • Show/Hide Marker Track: The Key Command '' (apostrophe key ➏) toggles between hiding  the Global Tracks and showing only the Marker Track. This status is indicated with the special Global Tracks Button, blue on gray button ➑.

The apostrophe key makes sense for toggling the Global Marker Track because it is used for other Marker commands too. Here is a quick reminder:

  • Opt+'' Create Marker
  • Ctr+opt+'' Create Marker without rounding
  • Sh+opt+'' Create Marker for Selected Region
  • Sh+'' Rename Marker (at the current Playhead Position)

Single Global Track Only

However, you also can see that the Marker Track is actually not that special because that "only" functionality is available to all seven Global Tracks ➓. You can assign your own key equivalent to switch to only that Global Track. The Global Track Button will appear as "blue on gray" to indicate that special "Single Global Track Only" status.

Here is an example to show only the Movie Track.

Graphically Enhanced Manuals

If you are interested in learning more about Logic Pro X, check out the best-selling books in my "Graphically Enhanced Manuals" series. All books are available as pdf files, printed books on Amazon and interactive multi-touch iBooks on Apple''s iBooks Store.

For an up to date list of my "Graphically Enhanced Manuals (GEM)" series and all the links, go to my website.


Thanks for your time and interest,

Edgar Rothermich