Reaping in the Dark – Part 1.2: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting

Welcome back to Reaping in the Dark. In this article, we will be going over some basic tips, tricks, and troubleshooting techniques to ensure you get the most out of future chapters.

Updates and Version Changes

Best efforts will be made to keep the information provided in these tutorials as up to date as possible. When applicable, a heading at the top of articles which provide hands-on work with Reaper will list the relevant version numbers of Reaper and the extensions being used.

Key Conflicts

By default, pressing space is assigned to playing and stopping the project. This is true even when you are navigating a menu or any other area outside of the track list. To work around this, shift + space can be used to click on buttons in place of using space alone.

The Reaper Action List

When in Reaper, a full list of available actions can be opened by pressing F4. By default, the cursor will start at the top of the list of actions. By arrowing down, you can browse the list, and the shortcut for an action will be voiced before the name of the action. For best results, have your screen reader’s punctuation setting set to the highest level so that shortcuts which use special symbol keys will be properly read out.
The action list can be referenced when an instruction in an article does not match the key map that you may be using if your version of Reaper or any of the extensions is different from those being used in the article. Furthermore, if you are following this course on a Mac, this list can be referenced to find out the Mac version of the keyboard shortcuts mentioned throughout the articles.
When specific instructions are provided, both the keyboard shortcut and the name for the action as it appears in the action list will be mentioned, so that the accurate shortcut for an action can be found if the shortcuts do not match.
The action list offers several ways to browse for a particular action. By default, you can start typing when the list opens and Reaper will automatically show results which apply to what you have typed. You can search by entering a specific action name, or by entering one or more keywords. You can also search by extensions, for instance typing “Osara” to bring up a list of all the Osara shortcuts. To Browse through the results, arrow down in the same field where you typed your search criteria. Furthermore, you can browse action sets for other categories of tasks by tabbing to the combo box labeled section. By default, this is set to Main, though Reaper may automatically change this if it detects you are working in an area that is more along the lines of one of the other options. For example, if a MIDI track is selected, Reaper may automatically show you the MIDI actions when the action list is opened. Most of your work will fall under the Main option of the Section list, so that is usually the best first place to look when searching. Throughout the course, best efforts will be made to specify if a particular action appears in a section other than Main.
Finally, you will occasionally come across actions which do not have shortcuts assigned to them by default. This is typically because they are actions you will probably not use frequently enough to waste a valuable key combination on. However, as you become more involved with Reaper, you will find some actions which do not have a keyboard shortcut assigned to them which you like to come back to frequently because you like how they fit into your workflow. You can easily assign a shortcut to such an action by finding it in the action list, tabbing to and clicking on the Add button while the action is selected, and following the prompts to create a custom shortcut for that action. Don’t be afraid that you will override an existing shortcut, since Reaper will warn you if you are using a command that is already assigned to an action. Follow these instructions to change the action for an action that already has a command assigned to it, then select the action once more, tab once to the “Shortcuts for Selected Action” field, select the shortcut you wish to delete, then tab to the delete button and click it to remove the unwanted shortcut. This may be required in situations where you have a particular command assigned to a function outside of Reaper which you do not wish to accidentally trigger while working.

Shortcut Help Mode

By pressing F12, you can toggle the shortcut help mode on and off. When shortcut help is on, you can press key combinations on your keyboard and your screen reader will voice the action assigned to that command if there is one assigned. This is a quick and easy way to get familiar with the shortcuts Reaper uses and what they do, as well as search for commands which do not have anything assigned to them which can be used to customize your workflow as described above.

Final Thoughts

With the information provided above, you will be able to resolve issues that arise in cases where your version of Reaper or the necessary extensions do not match that which is being used for these tutorials. You will also be able to customize Reaper to better fit your workflow. Finally, you now have the tools to begin exploring the many possibilities which Reaper has to offer and get an idea of how you will be interacting with the software throughout the following parts of this course.

Support the Series

This course is provided free of charge, and is supported by contributions from readers. If you have benefited from this course and would like to give back to support future content for the course and others like it, please consider making a contribution in any amount by buying me a coffee through Ko-fi.

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