Questions & Answers

Request to rethink the tool selection process

+56 votes
asked Dec 10, 2015 in Look and Feel by niles (54,610 points)
recategorized Apr 20, 2018 by niles

I often find myself struggling with Studio One's separate tool selection bars.
This is a request to rethink the tool selection process, not a request with concrete solutions.

First issue:
Currently we have two tool selection bars. One for the arranger and one for the editor.
They work independently from each other, but both partially share the same key commands (KC).
Both separate tool bars react depending on where your mouse pointer hovers, regardless of the current focus.

This often leads to confusion when switching tools in the editing process.

Below is an example where I repeatedly switch between tool 1 and 2 while hovering my mouse from the arrangement to the editor, without click to focus.
Notice how the tool bars are switched depending on my mouse hovering position.


In the process of recording and editing, I'm not always aware where my mouse pointer resides.
So let's say I record a part with the editor open, my mouse pointer resides in the arranger. When the recording is finished I want to mute a few notes, so I press 5 on my keyboard. But because my mouse resides in the arrangement part, I select the Paint tool in the arranger, instead of the Mute tool in the MIDI editor.

Second issue:
A second issue I struggle with is the order of the independent tool bars.

The current tool order for the Arrangement window is:
1. Arrow
2. Range
3. Split
4. Erase
5. Paint
6. Mute
7. Bend
8. Listen

The current tool order for the Midi Editor is:
1. Arrow
2. Split
3. Paint
4. Erase
5. Mute
6. Listen

As you can see, only the Arrow (1) & Erase (4) tool share the same position (and KC).
While Split (3 & 2), Paint (5 & 3), Mute (6 & 5), Listen (8 & 6) could share the same positions too, since those are consistent tools.
Leaving Range & Bend as unique tools for the Arrangement window.

Because simple range proceedings can easily be accessed by the CTRL modifier when the arrow tool is selected, I'm inclined to request to (re)move it, to obtain consistency between at least the first six tools (and KC's) on both tool bars.

Like for instance this:
1. Arrow
2. Split
3. Paint
4. Erase
5. Mute
6. Listen

And for the Arrangement additionally:
7. Range
8. Bend

With this request, I just wonder if the tool bars can't be implemented smarter, more intuitive?
Maybe a single dynamic tool bar solution with a consistent tool order between different editors.
Or, like others suggested in different feature requests, a smarter tool.

Mockup of consistent tool order (random) for the first six items.

11 Answers

+2 votes
answered Dec 12, 2015 by davlet (5,340 points)
Smart tool is what we need.
+1 vote
answered Feb 8, 2016 by Funkybot (21,580 points)
Agree with Zirrex. There's already a Smart Tool thread that I think, if implemented, would resolve a lot of the tool selection issues:
+3 votes
answered Feb 9, 2016 by niles (54,610 points)
edited Feb 9, 2016 by niles

Funkybot answer This request is solely about addressing the consistency in the tool selection and order process. Not about implementing a smart tool (that's where the smart tool FR is for). When a smart tool is implemented (I'm all up for that btw), user override should always be possible and it would be nice if it is consistent across the editors and the project/song view (what this request is about).


+4 votes
answered May 18, 2016 by Timm United (300 points)

this request is what I need since the beginning... here is how I just posted it somewhere else. Glad im not the only one

Hey guys,

so Studio One is great. we all know it.. However there is one thing that really stops my workflow regularly... and its the following:

Im a real keyboard shortcut guy ... so all my tools have a keyboard shortcut..

T = select
R = Range
E = Erase
S = Split 
B = Draw etc etc

however... due to the way that the keyboard shortcuts are setup ( as tool 1 - 8, intead of direct names for the tools!) my keyboard shortcuts change when I use normal arranger editing or PRV editing!


So what happens is : because in PRV the range tool is missing, my keyboard commands are messed up ... ( because in Keyboard commands its tool 1, tool 2, tool 3 as apposed to SELECT tool, ERASe tool etc.)

So please change the tool naming from a generic tool 1, 2,3,4, etc. to a specific selection: SELECT TOOL, ERASE tool, etc. in this way.. I can use the same key commands in Arranger and PRV editing, without the key commands shifting ( due to the fact that there is no range tool in PRV mode - thus shifting the tool numbers..)

I hope my description is clear and I hope you can address this.. 

Thanks already, Tim


+2 votes
answered Dec 20, 2016 by scoredfilms (6,830 points)

I'm not sure about a smart tool. But I do find myself having brain farts about navigating which tools I'm using in Studio 1. Neil Gaiman said that when people tell you there is a problem, they are almost always right. When they tell you how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. So I won't suggest EXACTLY what PreSonus should do here.

But I will say that switching between Select, Transform, Highlight, Split, Mute... this switching isn't what I want it to be. Transform is a subcategory of highlighting, which I hate. Cubase's grab handles are far more intuitive as they are RIGHT in the editor. And that's saying something, because Cubase never does anything more intuitive than Studio One. This isn't my biggest desired feature. But it's surely one that would improve my user experience on an every-day basis.


+2 votes
answered Feb 28, 2017 by brianjones15 (240 points)
Sorry I haven't gone through all the entries however what I want is a small Tool Kit or Tool Box GUI that we can move around the screen and populate with the tools we opt for. It could be very useful as Im sick of going back to the top of the screen for the items I use the most.

I seem to remember some very old versions of Cubase VST had something similar back in the 90s.

I would save use some editing time.
+2 votes
answered Feb 10, 2018 by matthieulizot (820 points)
edited Feb 10, 2018 by matthieulizot

I totally agree with this post.

The shorcuts are not the same according to which editor you're working on no

I can't imagine how someone beta testing Studio One didn't face this problem. I mean anyone working on edition would come to realize this in 2 minutes...
Very, very bad for the workflow.

There is another big problem with the CAP key which disables the number keys shortcuts on the keyboard. Some shortcuts seem to need CAPS LOCK on and other need CAPS LOCK off.

I tried to solve this problem by assigning the same fonction to both symbols of the same key (like for example "ctrl+?" and "ctrl+,") but guess what... Only one shortcut can be assigned to one function. sad

It can be very annoying when you just entered some text in CAPs (naming track for example) because when you're back to editing if you forgot to hit CAPS key to delock then the tools shortcuts don't work anymore.

I think the CAP key should only be working when writing text and have no impact when editing or mixing.

+4 votes
answered Jun 3, 2018 by robertgray3 (42,650 points)
Smart tools are nice and all, but if they could just make the shortcuts the same between the two editors that would be incredible. I mix up the arrange split (3) key and the music editor split (2) key multiple times a day.
+4 votes
answered May 28, 2019 by robertgray3 (42,650 points)
Bump for 2019, the difference in tool order trips me up at least once literally every single day
+3 votes
answered Apr 4, 2020 by benmccormick (770 points)
edited Apr 4, 2020 by benmccormick
I adore Studio One - the most intuitive DAW I've ever used by a long, long way. However, for such a well-designed piece of software, the way the tool selection shortcuts are set up really are at best bizarre, and at worst extremely annoying.

Two possible fixes... forget applying shortcuts to Tool 1, 2, 3 etc. as the tool order in different is both the Arrange and Editor windows and simply have a shortcut named for each tool... Split Tool; Pencil Tool; Eraser Tool etc. (as has already been suggested).

Or if the numbering system stays (not my preference), keep the order of the tools the same in both windows. Currently - and goodness knows why - the Eraser tool is placed between the Split and Pencil tools in the Arrange window, but comes after Split and Pencil in the Editor.

Please PreSonus - if this could be a relatively simple fix, please sort this out!
+6 votes
answered Jun 7, 2020 by robertgray3 (42,650 points)
I think Ben's correct, the best way to handle this is to make the shortcuts in the keyboard shortcut menu not for "Tool 1" or "Tool 2" but "Pencil" and "Range" and the specific tools. That way the same key always selects the correct tool.