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Project Browser

The project Browser is for easy location of presets, audio samples, and projects (see Figure 3.98). FL Studio has made it easy on you by allowing drag and drop so that you can drop presets on a generator or place audio samples directly on the Playlist. You can also access any project, including the ones you have created, premade projects, and even tutorial projects (which I highly recommend).

Figure 3.98. The project Browser.

We have discussed many different ways of bringing up sounds and presets in the Browser using shortcuts in menus of other windows so that we can get a bird’s-eye view of all clips and presets related to our selection, but I have not yet explained how to fully navigate the Browser.

The Browser menu, shown in Figure 3.99, can be accessed by clicking the upper-left corner of the Browser window and begins with a set of familiar options. While we have discussed the Find options in the Browser and how to use Smart Find, some quick keys to take note of are F2 and F3, as they will jump one result back and one result forward, respectively, through the current search.

Figure 3.99. The Project Browser menu.

The View portion of the Browser menu is the most important part, because how you set up the appearance will determine how effective you are at finding files you need. The first option will allow you to change the Browser font to your liking (and vision) and display icons next to the folders in the Browser. Show Only One Folder Content is very helpful for not allowing the Browser to get too cluttered, because it will only allow the opening of one folder at a time. Show File Extensions will add the file type, such as .wav or .ogg, to the name in the Browser, and Show Unknown File Types allows files to display in the Browser that FL Studio would not normally recognize.

The Browser allows you to sort by group, but if you know part of the name of your desired file, stay with the Smart Find option.

Structure still relates to the view, and Collapse Structure is a quick way to view all the parent menus quickly. Reread Structure will display any files that were made while you had FL Studio running, so if you downloaded a plug-in preset or an audio file and it is not showing up, try choosing this option.

Configure Extra Folders will allow you to make a directory leading to files that you want to use in FL Studio, but which are outside of the typical FL Studio file locations. I found this handy when working with projects that someone had on a hard drive, where I pointed FL to them, and all the needed files showed up in a folder in the Browser.

Browser snapshots are an easy way to recall a certain look of the Browser when you find yourself using effects from similar folders often. To save a snapshot, select the snapshot number that you want FL Studio to remember and then open the Browser to the folder you want. Now when you press that number with the Browser focused, the Browser will automatically open the folders that you set. The Plugin Picker has been discussed, and like the other files in the Browser, each plug-in can be dragged and dropped to its desired location.

The important detail to keep in mind with the Browser is mainly its appearance, because it is how you use it (if at all) that can create success or headache. As I have professed, knowing where things are (or at least how and where to look for them) can be the difference between the exact sound you want and a mediocre beat that doesn’t stand out. The drag-and-drop ability of the Browser is more powerful than many users take advantage of, and I suggest taking a little time to explore all of the options we have discussed. Now that we have laid out the entire interface of FL Studio, including features and how to use them, it’s time to put this knowledge into action. In the next chapter, we will look at recording audio into the program and weigh the benefits and pitfalls of the different recording options available.

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