Keyboard Workflow


I have been checking in on Renoise once in a while during a few years of time. Now I finally made the decision to buy it and I’m very happy about it!

I’m coming from an Impulse tracker background and would appreciate it very much, if someone could do a small tutorial here on using basic Renoise functions with the keyboard. This would help me to get going with this amazing piece of software! I have RTFM :D but it seems like many shortcuts won’t work anymore (like for example “lctrl-lalt+up/down - Go up/down in file / directory list in Disk Browser panel.”)

What I have in mind is very simple! I’m writing the steps I’m looking for below and hope that someone could fill in the key presses that these steps require! It would be great!

1. Activate editing mode - ESC (this one I know)

2. Switch to “sample” mode in the disc-opt for downloading some samples - F4

3. Use file browser to locate the samples folder -LALT+LSHIFT+F1 to activate browser, UP and DOWN arrows to browse between folders, LEFT and RIGHT arrows to open and close folders

4. Scroll trough different samples for previewing them -TAB to activate file-view and UP and DOWN arrows to browse files

5. Pick a sample in to Renoise -ENTER

6. Go to an empty sample slot -LEFT ALT+UP AND DOWN ARROW KEYS does this work also when the sample list is not visible (when I’m seeing only the pattern mode)? Yes it does, cool!!

7. Pick another sample in to Renoise -TAB to switch to browser again and UP and DOWN arrows to browse folders and LEFT and RIGHT arrows to close and open folders

8. Compose something -first F1 to activate pattern view then USE THE QWERTY KEYBOARD

9. Play pattern -SPACE

10. Make a selection in the pattern -LEFT SHIFT+ARROW KEYS

11. Play only selection -?

12. Transpose the notes of the selection up by one -ALT+F2

13. Transpose the notes of the selection down by one -ALT+F1

14. Insert a new pattern and change it to number 2 -LEFT CONTROL+INSERT -->LEFT CONTROL+RIGHT ARROW

15. Select different patterns in sequencer (in order to do cloning) -??? Can this be done without mouse?

16. Clone selected pattern -LEFT CTRL+K

17. Save song -CTRL+S

This is basically all I need to get going fast with my composing. Knowing how to do these things with just the keyboard would make Renoise PERFECT for me! If you know the answer to ANY of the questionmarks, please post it and I will edit them in to the list!

Thank you very much!

Ps. Is there any info on the web for former Impulse Tracker users to help us adapt to Renoise? I found a nice IT-skin from the themes-section, but it would be nice to see if there is any tips&tricks for those coming from an Impulse tracker background. Is there any downloadable IT-style keyboard shortcut mappings for example?

Please try to bear with my english :-/

Okay, I found out that (number 2 on my list) would be simply -F4

That seems to take me to the sample mode. What I couldn’t figure out is how to change the focus from the window that shows the samples of a folder to the window on its left side (the one where you navigate trough folders)?? Is there a keyboard shortcut for this?

ANY help at all will be appreciated!

Found out that I can browse trough folders with UP and DOWN arrow keys and open and close folders with RIGHT and LEFT arrow keys. But it still doesn’t solve how to change the focus to the folders from the samples list without using the mouse. Is there a way?

an interesting read:
Learning the keys

Thanks for your input!

The thing is, I have actually read that page. It’s just I couldn’t find most of the questions that I made answered there and some information simply doesn’t seem to work, like for example the disk browser commands.

Disk Browser commands

  • lctrl-lalt+up/down - Go up/down in file / directory list in Disk Browser panel.
  • lctrl-lalt+left/right - Go to folder or file panel in Disk Browser panel
  • lctrl-lalt+enter - Load current selected file under cursor in Disk Browser panel.
  • lctrl-lalt+[driveletter] - Select drive

My point with this thread is to build up the fastest possible workflow using only the keyboard. After getting this list filled, I am going to memorize it so that I could do those steps even in my sleep. This way I could press exactly the same buttons on the keyboard every single time I start up Renoise and making quick song-sketches would be very fast.

For me the most important thing in a tracker is the speed of making music, and especially I would like to be able to browse trough different sounds in my way too huge sample library as fast as possible. I believe this could be helpful for other new Renoise users too, as this list (IMHO) shows quickly all the keyboard presses for completing a song using only the keyboard.

Now I am looking for the answers by myself also and filling up the list as I find them. I just think you experienced users might have some better worklow tips and for sure you can tell the answers faster. I understand if you don’t have the time to help with all the questions in my list, but if you know the answers to even some of them, please contribute! Also if there is steps in my list that simply can not be done without the mouse, then please let me know that too. Thank you very much!

I see what you mean, probably those shortcuts information are out of date, I’m sorry.

anyway, the shortcuts you mention would not always work anyway because of the “focus concept” (see the linked page above): some shortcuts are not “global”, as they work only when the focus is on a specific part of the application.

since you are asking for tips about experienced users, here there are mine:

1] you can define shortcuts to set the focus directly on a specific part of the application. For example, I have set the focus on diskbrowser/scopes to LALT+LSHIFT+F1. Once this combination is pressed until diskbrowser is shown, I can browse through files/directories using up/down arrow keys and switch between files and directories lists using TAB.

once done with files, I switch focus back to pattern editor with LALT+SHIFT+F2.

if you need help with setting shortcuts, see here

2] you can make it even faster by using one of the 7 preset views you can store by rightcliking the [1]…[7] buttons on the right top corner of the application. here it is how:

  • set the focus to disk browser (LALT+Leftclick the browser)
  • rightclick one of the 7 buttons

from now on, whenever you leftclick the chosen button, it will recall the exact visual configuration you had when rightclicking the button, focus included.

3] the preset views 1-7 can be recalled pressing F1-F7

Thanks a lot, I really appreciate your help!

I edited these steps into my list and it’s starting to look better already!

At this point I have been required to hit the following combination of keys:


Thus this combination has allowed me to browse and pick two samples and compose some notes and play them! Pretty fluid workflow so far! If I assume it takes me one second to press one button or button combination, this has taken me 15 seconds so far, which is cool! Just imagine how long this would take in Cubase or FL Studio which I have also been using before returning to the tracker scene (my one and only TRUE love)! :)

Btw, Ctrl+tab ( and ctrl+shift+tab) are also quite useful to cycle the focus through different parts of renoise.

Thanks for the tip!

It is definetly a good one! I’m just not sure if I can put it on the list since the effect of pressing Ctrl+tab depends on the currently active window and I’m looking for keyboard shortcuts that do always exactly the same thing so that I can memorize them perfectly and work even with my eyes closed. The possibility to actually do this is IMHO what makes Renoise such a good program for composing music! =)

But thanks, I appreciate your input on the subject!

I could be wrong , but i actually think Ctrl+tab works globally for moving the focus, no matter what window you’re in.
Either way it save a lot of time coz you don’t have to touch your mouse.

Yes, you are right. I meant that I’m searching especially for shortcuts that bring me to the same window every time. Now I’m not saying CTRL+TAB is not a good shortcut, because it is. But it won’t change the active window every time for let’s say browser window, but the window that it makes active depends on the previous active window.

By the way, are there any shorcuts for the following things?

-Play only selected part of a pattern
-Bring the cursor to the first line of the first track
-Interpolate selected values Found this, CTRL+I
-And finally: selecting patterns in the sequencer (in order to clone ect.)
-Increase/decrease song speed/BPM

Ewpsy, that was my fault… the original shortcuts to 1.5 and 1.8. These changed when multiple file selection was introduced with 1.9 (and i didn’t noticed)
Changed that chapter.

You could alway go to the Renoise Preferences and the go to the Keyboard shortcuts area and press the button.
In that way you always have the most current shortcut key layout (including your own custom defined keys if you did so before pressing that button) in a printable webpage.
(For Firefox 3.0 you need to patch your system to make it work, Firefox 3 not opening url’s from files is a bug in firefox ->…c=17001&hl= )

crytek: you have to explicitly set the shortcut fot this action, as it is not set as default.

edit => preferences => keys => global => view => focus/show diskop/scopes

Or you simply set up a new global view preset. Global view presets are the things that are assigned to F1-F7 by default. By right clicking on the 1-7 numbers on the top right of the interface, you can customize those. These presets will also save/restore the keyboard focus.

I have already stated this in my first message indeed, but sometimes is useful to switch focus back and forth between two sections of the same view, and these cases it is better to have a specific keyboard shortcut

Numpad enter activates the block mode playing which plays current 16 rows. Pretty clumsy to use because you cannot really control the beginning and end of the block. Would need improvements in this area.

There’s very limited keyboard control upon pattern sequencer. Don’t think about using it without a mouse. Generally you cannot achieve such intuitive workflow with Rns that you had with IT because of lack of keyboard control. If that’s what you want I suggest you make your songs with IT and do the final soundworks in Rns.