Flo Tools 2.3.2

Changes, changes, changes! Yep, things are always changing. As we all know, that’s the only thing that stays the same. The Flo Tools Team is always making changes, mostly to try and make your experience of using Pro Tools better and more efficient. This time around, the changes in Flo Tools were necessitated by changes in Pro Tools 2018.1.

What? Version 2018.1? What happened to version 12.9? What about version 13? Well, turns out a lot of developers are adopting a new versioning system that reflects year and month of release. So, Pro Tools 2018.1 means it was released this year on the first month. A version released in April would be called 2018.4 and, if a subsequent patch were released for 2018.4, it would be 2018.4.1. Confused? Well, the Flo Tools Team wasn’t, at least not until we started considering whether we should synchronize Flo Tools version numbers with Avid’s release numbers. That’s where it started getting really hairy. We’ll spare you the details. The thing to keep in mind is that it’s always a good idea to use the latest version of Flo Tools and the latest version of Pro Tools to have the best compatibility and accessibility experience.

Long Story Shortcut

OK, so what changed in Pro Tools 2018 that spawned Flo Tools version 2.3.2? Primarily, it was the introduction of a few new Pro Tools keyboard shortcuts that caused conflicts with some existing Flo Tools shortcuts. Which shortcuts? Funny you should ask because we were just about to enlighten you, and there are no shortcuts to enlightenment but, if there were, Avid would probably steal those shortcuts too. Who, us? Bitter? Never. Here are the keyboard shortcuts Avid stole, uh, borrowed indefinitely from us:

  • Option+Shift+t: OK, seriously, one of the most important commands in Flo Tools is Speak Selected Tracks/Deselect all Tracks. That Option+Shift+t saw a lot of key presses. In Pro Tools 2018.1, that keyboard shortcut was assigned to “Move Selection to Target Playlist.” Huh? Target playlist? well, it’s beyond the scope of this What’s New document to cover Pro Tools functions but you can find out about it in the What’s New in Pro Tools 2018.1 pdf which, by the way, is not nearly as entertaining a read as What’s New in Flo Tools. So, we commenced a search for a replacement shortcut, suggested a few candidates and, after consulting with a number of our users, the winner is: Option+Shift+l. The related shortcut for List Selected Tracks/List Unselected Tracks (Control+Shift+t) follows suit and will also switch to the letter l which mnemonically fits nicely. You can’t plan stuff like this. Well, actually, you can, and we did, and there you have it.

  • Option+Shift+p. Users might have overlooked the Speak Selected clips command, Option+Shift+p, but it’s been there since Flo Tools 2.2. As of Pro Tools 2018.1, pressing Option+Shift+p will issue the “Save Track Preset” command. Track presets are now a thing and you can read all about them in Avid’s documentation which, somebody might have once said, is not as entertaining as What’s New in Flo Tools but that could be fake news. Not the part about new things in Flo Tools but about stuff being less entertaining in, uh… oh never mind. Back to speaking selected clips: the new shortcut for that is: Option+Shift+comma. When you consider that the Flo Tools shortcut for marking a clip for dragging as well as auditioning is Command+Option+Shift+comma, it seemed like a natural choice.

  • Control+Left/Right Arrows: Flo Tools Plug-in Views fans probably didn’t panic too much when we commandeered the very same shortcut outside of the Plug-in window to switch between columns when automatically reporting things like a selected note’s pitch, attack, release or start, end or length of slected clips or MIDI data. Well, with such a simple shortcut, it was probably just a matter of time before the Avid engineers said, “Hey, let’s just use Control+Left/Right Arrows” for such and such and that’s exactly what happened. Pro Tools now uses that shortcut to trim a selected MIDI note’s start time (or note on) earlier or later by the nudge value. Yay for MIDI editing, boo for having to give up shortcuts. OK, no big deal—we changed it to: Option+Shift+Left/Right Bracket. Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?Of course not, and that’s what we kept telling ourselves.

Accessibility Fix for the Record

So, the aforementioned shortcut relocations had to be made because Avid thought our key combinations were just irresistable and we forgive them for that because of an accessibility improvement they made in Pro Tools 2018.1. the Flo Tools Team is super excited to finally take the training wheels off of the Speak Record enabled Tracks command and remove the word “beta” from the title of the macro because, guess what? Avid has finally fixed the Track and Global record buttons to correctly reflect their on and off states. No more issues with VoiceOver sometimes seeing, sometimes not seeing the armed state while the record button was flashing. As a result, Flo Tools can now reliably report how many and which tracks are record-enabled. This alone was probably enough cause for a new Flo Tools release and for much rejoicing. Yay for Pro Tools bug fixes!

Over 30 New Pro Tools Shortcuts? Help!

In our quest to help make shortcuts Helper more helpful, we’ve added all of the 30+ new keyboard shortcuts introduced in Pro Tools 2018.1 to Flo Tools. As ever, improving Shortcuts Helper is an ongoing effort so, if you catch any errors or have suggestions for making its prompts more, um, helpful, . let us know and you’ll be helping us help you.

Well, that’s about it for what’s new in Flo Tools 2.3.2. We’ve come a long way since Flo Tools version 1 was released back in 2016 but we’re going to continue to figure out ways to improve the Pro Tools experience for blind users. We’re already working on the next release and which version number we choose is anybody’s guess. Until next time, as always, go with the Flo!

The flo Tools Team

Written on February 2, 2018