What is the Marquee Tool?
When you’re editing Audio and MIDI in Logic, you’ll find yourself needing to work on 2 levels, at the region level, where you’re moving deleting and copying regions around, and at the subregion level where you want to grab a part of a region and do something with it.
The Marquee tool is what you turn to when you want to work with part of a region. It’s simple to use, you just Command+drag with the mouse over the part of the region you want to select and go from there – provided, of course, that you’ve got a pair of eyes to see where you’re making the selection, which leaves us mouse-challenged blind folks out in the cold right? Well – not quite.
So how do you make partial region selections with VoiceOver?
You can use command+t to split your region at the start and end of the selection – but, I don’t really like this method because if I just want to copy part of the region I don’t want to be left with 3 regions rather than 1 that I didn’t need to split in the first place.
The best alternative I’ve discovered so far is a sneaky trick that lets you use the Marquee Tool with VoiceOver avoiding having to drag with the mouse, allowing you to make partial region selections without splitting the region.
The way we’re going to achieve this is by using 2 nifty key commands. These are called Set Region/Event/Marquee Start to Playhead Position and Set Region/Event/Marquee End to Playhead Position. These keys are command+Left Square Bracket and Command+Right Square Bracket respectively. The problem is though that these key commands are context-sensitive. So, if you use them as is, you’ll be changing the start or end position of your region, not what we want.
The trick then is to create a marquee selection anywhere on the track we’re working with and then we can use these keys to reset the start and end of that selection anywhere we like . Confused? well I will be posting an audio tutorial to demonstrate how this is done but here’s the step-by-step.
1. Find any region on the track on which you wish to make the selection.
In my example, I want to remove a part of my Vox track, so to find a region on this track I do the following:
- bring up the item chooser
- type the phrase vox r eg
- press VO+space to land on the region
2. Make a marquee selection
Now that you’ve found a region on your required track, the mouse will be on that region so you can make a marquee selection by holding command – which flips your mouse into Marquee tool mode and Physically clicking the mouse. No need to see where it is, we now know where it is. You do, however need to physically click it with your trackpad or your Magic Mouse.
But, what if you don’t have a physical mouse as part of your system?
If this is the case, you can turn your mouse into a Marquee tool by pressing the letters t, to bring up the tools menu and then e, to select the Marquee tool. You can then click the mouse on the region with the regular VO+Shift+Space. Finally, you’ll want to return to the regular pointer tool. Do this by pressing the letter t twice. However, Command+Clicking with a physical mouse is just quicker.
3. quickly check that you’ve got a Marquee selection
You do this simply by playing the song, pressing spacebar to stop the song and playing the song again. You’ll find that the song starts playback from the same place each time.
4. Use the above key commands to make the selection
We’ve now got a marquee selection so we can put the playhead at the start of the selection, press command+Left Square Bracket to mark the start of the selection. You can check by playing the song again and you’ll find that the song will now begin playback at the start of your selection.
You then go to the end of the selection and mark that with Command+Right Square Bracket. You’ll find that if you now play your song, only the selected part of the song will play and, of course, you can solo the track if you only want to hear the part of the region by itself.
You can also use these keys on the fly, so once you’ve got a Marquee selection, you can simply play your song and mark the start and end of the selection while the song plays if you want.
The final thing that’s handy to know is how to remove a selection and you do that via the Deselect All key command. Shift+Option+d. You’ll find it in the select submenu of the edit menu and it unselects anything that is selected not just Marquee selections.
It would be great to have a key command that allows us to kickoff a Marquee selection, but we don’t currently have one of those. Nevertheless, we can command+click any region on a track and then use command+Left/Right Square Brackets to create one. How cool is that!
Although this looks cumbersome when written down. I’ve practised this and find it a useful addition to my workflow. Give it a try and see if it makes you more productive.