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Audio Editing & Production

A guide to Audacity, GarageBand and FL Studio, three free Digital Audio Workstations.


Toolbar Components

Menu (left to right):


Many of the menus will be familiar to the user. Notable standout features are:

  • Add: Provides a list of synths, plugins and instruments that can be added to the project.  
  • Patterns: The basic building blocks of music in FL Studio. This menu allows the user to create, name and color patterns. 
  • View: Toggle on or off elements of FL studio such as the piano roll and step sequencer. 

Note: Directly below the Menu is the HintBox. The HintBox displays the name of the current button when the mouse is hovered over it. 




Familiar controls to play and stop the project. The master volume knob and project pitch up/down knobs are located to the left of the Transport node. Note the Pattern / Song Toggle that selects whether FL Studio will play a single pattern or the entire song. 

Project Settings (left to right):


Metronome, Playmode, Count-In, Recordmode, and Loop functions. Unique to FL Studio, Playmode allows FL Studio to begin playing or recording only when audio input is detected. Recordmode toggles recording overdub on or off. 

Tooltips (left to right):


  • Snap: Designates how clips will move and snap to the playlist grid.
  • Draw: Add clips by draw mode. Clicking and dragging in draw mode moves a clip through space in the playlist.
  • Paint: Add clips by paint mode. Clicking and dragging in paint mode creates multiple copies of a clip in the playlist.
  • Delete: Delete clips in the playlist
  • Mute: Mute individual clips in the playlist.
  • Slip Edit: Move the contents of a clip left or right relative to the start / end boundaries of the clip.
  • Slice: Click and drag vertically through a clip to slice it into two clips. 
  • Select: Click on or click and drag a box to select a clip or multiple clips.
  • Zoom: Click and drag to zoom to that selection.
  • Play Selected: Click desired clips to play. The click position will set the start location.
  • Play/Pause: Left click to start / pause playback. Right click to stop and return to the last set start position. Right click (when stopped) to return the playhead to the start of the song.

Windows (left to right): 

  • Playlist: Opens the playlist, where clips can be arranged.
  • Piano Roll: Opens the piano roll, where MIDI notes can be created or edited inside a clip.
  • Step Sequencer: Opens the step sequencer, where samples can be triggered on the sequencer grid.
  • Mixer: Opens the mixer, where channels can be routed to individual tracks for modification and modulation.
  • Browser: Browse media on your computer to import into the project.
  • Project / Plugin Picker: Opens a menu to browse projects or plugins.
  • Plugin Picker: Opens the plugin picker for use in the project.
  • Tempo Tapper: Opens the tempo tap menu, where you can click to set the project tempo.
  • Touch Controllers: Opens the touch controller, including the touch piano and touch pads.
  • Online Content: Click to view recent updates, promotions, and giveaways related to FL studio.

To learn more, click the links below.