Computers have become a part of our daily lives and I am sure many of you would be hard pressed to find someone that does not use a computer at least once each day. There may be a few exceptions to the rule, but for the majority of you reading this, you are likely to be heavy computer users, or what many term as ‘power users’.
Despite the fact that I love computers and feel very much at home when sat (or stood) in front of one, reducing the time spent hunting for options, scrolling through menu bars and generally staring at a screen; is something of importance to me. This is where keyboard shortcuts are extremely useful and in some cases, absolutely necessary.
I have been using keyboard short cuts for many years now and it’s one of the first things I make the effort to learn when beginning to use a new program. Whilst the mouse has it’s uses, workflow can be streamlined and productivity can be increased simply by learning the keyboard shortcuts. Photoshop is the best example of this for me; with one hand on the mouse and the other on the keyboard, I have reduced the time it takes to cut out a shape and place it on white background to mere seconds. Perhaps not something entirely useful for you, but you get my drift.
Traktor Keyboard Shortcuts
Traktor keyboard shortcuts can be extremely helpful in reducing the time it takes to perform a specific action, or to use as your main form of DJ control.
When starting out using Traktor for the first time, using the keyboard as your main control method is the cheapest and most practical way to DJ right off the bat. There’s no need to spend your hard earned money on a state of the art midi controller, when the keyboard is all you really need. (See more on how you can save money as a DJ).
After you’ve mastered the main keyboard controls and decide that you want to use a midi controller, there are certain keyboard functions that I seem to use over and over again. I wanted to cover the top 5 Traktor keyboard shortcuts that I use and find the most useful to help you become a more productive Traktor DJ.
1. Browsing for Tracks
Depending on how you have your screen set up, along with your screen real estate, will determine how much you can actually see of your track collection. For those displaying 4 decks on a 13″ screen, you will likely only be able to see about 3 or 4 of your tracks. A simple touch of the Space Bar will switch you into ‘browser mode‘, clearing away the clutter and allowing you to see your track collection. Returning to the deck view simply requires another hit of the Space Bar.
Arrow Keys – The up and down arrows scroll through the track collection, but if you are not in the correct folder, you can use the left and right arrow keys to move through the ‘Browser Tree’.
2. Loading the Decks
Once you have the track you want to load highlighted, you can load it into either deck A or B, by pressing ‘Shift’ + either left or right arrow. The left arrow loads the track into deck A, and the right, into deck B.
3. Searching for Tracks
Perhaps you know the name, or part name of a track you want to play? As with almost any software the ‘Command’ + ‘F’ combination will take you right to the track search box, where you can start typing in the name of what you are looking for. (‘Ctrl’ + ‘F’ on a PC).
4. Waveform Zoom
Sometimes I find that I want to change the zoom of a waveform, whether it’s for beat-gridding or simply so I can zoom out to see what’s coming up in a track, I find a short cut is easier than using the mouse to find those small zoom buttons on the screen.
Simply by pressing either ‘.’ or ‘/’ you will zoom all track decks in or out. To reset the zoom to the default setting, simply press and hold ‘shift’ with either the ‘.’ or ‘/’ keys.
5. Open Preferences (Mac Only)
One of my favourite keyboard shortcuts that applies to any program on the Mac, is ‘command’ + ‘.’
This shortcut opens the preferences in any program that you are active in.
Whilst I only know for sure this works on a mac, I am open to suggestions for the PC option (Perhaps try ‘control’ + ‘.’ and let me know if it works?)
Other Keyboard Shortcuts
Whilst the ones listed above are the top 5 based on my uses, there are many more options available to you. You can download a PDF of the keyboard shortcuts here.
Learn how to use the REMIX DECKS using only the keyboard in the Complete Guide to Traktor Remix Decks.