06 Jun 2020

Cubase shortcuts, macros and tips (with gif examples)

Last update: Mar '24 on Cubase 12

We might take for granted the ability to customize shortcuts, but not every DAW offers this feature. In Ableton, Bitwig, Reason, and FL Studio (as far as I know), modifying shortcuts is not possible. Luckily, Cubase is the exception. You can set a hotkey for virtually anything. If there's a function you want but it doesn't have a default shortcut, you can create a macro, which combines smaller steps to achieve your desired outcome.

It's true that overcoming initial resistance to learning shortcuts might feel like an effort. However, Cubase prioritizes efficiency with its keyboard-focused interface, which some point-and-click enthusiasts might find less intuitive. I believe that mastering shortcuts not only pays off quickly in terms of workflow, but also fosters a sense of control, akin to piloting a spaceship towards your perfect song rather than getting lost in the maze of on-screen buttons.

Cubase Shortcuts


Default shortcuts

s = solo selected track s.gif
m = mute selected track m.gif
r = rec enabled on selected track r.gif
c = metronome c.gif
num * = record more info rec.gif
j = snap to grid (I also recommend `) j.gif
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 = switch tools switch-tool.gif
i, o = punch in / punch out
(starts and stops recording at locators position)
u = bring to front
I suggest reassigning u to 'Bring Events to Back' though, it just makes more sense, how do you move something to front if you can not click on it?
alt + z = mixer / VST undo
alt + shift + z = mixer / VST redo
⚠️ it will undo/redo changes in a VST plugin too!
ctrl + left / right
= move clip, step is quantize grid
alt (+ shift) + left / right
= nudge clip
. = toggle ruler between time and beats (change time format) dot.gif
, = return to start coma.gif
shift + t = input tempo shiftt.gif
shift + c = tempo window shiftc.gif
shift + n / b = jump to next / previous marker shiftb.gif
shift + num/ = preview cycle on / off shiftslash.gif
k = toggle group editing k.gif

ctrl + a = select all
ctrl + shift + a = deselect all
ctrl-a.gif p = locators to selection p.gif alt + p = loop and play selection alt-p.gif num / = loop on/off loop.gif l, e = jump to selection start / end l.gif x = crossfade. Remove fades: Audio > Remove Fades x.gif ctrl + l = move to cursor ctrll.gif f = follow cursor f.gif g / h = zoom in / out (view centers to cursor). One of the most cool features of Cubase, believe it or not. gh.gif shift + g / h = vertical zoom in / out shiftgh.gif alt + up / down = vertical resize of tracks altud.gif alt + x = split at cursor altx.gif q = quantize shift + backspace = delete time (region) shift + backspace - if Range Selection tool = delete time on particular track shiftbackspace2.gif ctrl + shift + e = insert time (empty, silence) ctrl + shift + x = cut time
ctrl + shift + v = paste time (region) ctrl + g, ctrl + u = group / un-group ctrlg.gif shift + del = delete track shiftdel.gif ctrl + f = find tracks F3 = mixer
alt + F3 = mixer in the lower zone f3.gif alt + l = show / hide control line altl.gif ctrl + shift + l / u = lock / unlock event ctrlshiftl.gif shift + x = split range shiftx.gif ctrl + 1-9 = set marker
insert = insert marker
shift + 1-9 = go to marker
marker.gif t = add track
ctrl + t = add audio track
alt + shift + t = add instrument track t.gif Right click menu also has hotkeys, D, R, B, N are my favorites. 1
track-menu-hotkeys.jpg Send tracks hotkeys 2
send-hot-keys.jpg Inserts hotkeys
inster-rcm.png   A = adjust fades to range


shift + s = project properties shifts.gif alt + c = stationary cursor / page scroll altc.gif ctrl + i = info line ctrli.gif ctrl + v = paste
alt + v = paste at origin
shift + v = paste relative to cursor
ctrl-c-2.gif 2 = range selection tool
ctrl + x = cut ctrlx.gif shift + enter = set event name from track name shiftenter.gif num+ / num- = move playhead
ctrl + num+ / ctrl + num- = snap to grid
shift + num+ / shift + num- = fast
nuppm.gif F2 = show transport bar f2.gif F7 = direct offline processing f7.gif F8 = video F8.gif F4 = show input\output\bus selection, audio connections F4.gif F5 = show Media Bay F5.gif F11 = VST instruments F11.gif F12 = audio performance F12.gif shift + F2 = inline: view layout somehow it doesn't work in C10 shiftf2.gif alt + k = show/hide virtual keyboard (if enabled some shortcuts doesn't work) altk.gif ctrl + p = open pool ctrlp.gif e = left selection side to cursor e.gif d = right selection side to cursor d.gif ctrl + k = repeat ctrlk.gif alt + o = show / hide overview alto.gif alt + i = show / hide left zone alti.gif shift + i = show / hide punch in / out separate window shifti.gif alt + shift + c = events color window altshiftc.gif ctrl + shift + space = shuttle play 1/2x ctrlshiftspace.gif z = zoom track exclusive (I disable this because sometimes it conflicts with ctrl + z and wrecks horizontal zoom) z.gif alt + r = toggle read altr.gif alt + w, w = toggle write altw.gif alt + e = expand / reduce mixer racks (it should be in focus) alte.gif alt + a = activate / deactivate whatever can be activated/deactivated when it's focused
don't understand how this is quicker than mouse click, it must be for MIDI controllers alta.gifalta2.gif shift + q = auto grid 3 shiftq.gif ctrl + shift + up / down = raise the volume of the focused channel(s) in 1dB steps. Works in Mixconsole only. ctrlshiftup.gif alt + g / h = audio wave zoom in / out alth.gif alt + space = play selection or clip (it will stop at the end) altspace.gif n / b = locate next\prev event nb.gif (shift +) tab = move through fields tab.gif ctrl + shift + i = open in-place editor (I reassigned this to shift + e) ctrlshifti.gif shift + num* = retrospective record
ctrl + w = close project, current window, plugin
ctrl + z = undo
ctrl + shift + z = redo
ctrl + a, ctrl + shift + a = select all / unselect
ctrl + e = open (same as double click, use to open multiple midi or audio clips)
ctrl + alt + s = save new version
shift + F5 = search mediabay
ctrl + shift + n = new track version
ctrl + shift + h = next track version
ctrl + shift + g = previous track version
ctrl + shift + d = duplicate track version

My custom shortcuts

d = Edit > Delete
⭐ Very convenient, deleting is very common and to move hand to the right side of the keyboard is tedious. del.gif ctrl + space = Transport - play from selection start
ctrlspace.gif alt + f = invert selection
By default it's "Invert" however does nothing. So I reassigned it. altf.gif shift + d = zoom to event (custom, shift + e - default)
shift + f = zoom to project, horizontal (default) alt + shift + e = export mixdown altshifte.gif alt + shift + b = bounce selection altshiftb.gif alt + shift + v = events to part (is great for duplicating clip every N bars or make it have certain length). Cancel: Audio > Dissolve Part altshiftv.gif x = mute / unmute object
By default there is shift + m button but it seems not working. Mute/unmute object will work like a toggle. alt + m is possible shortcut, but recently I use just X altm.gif alt + shift + r = render in place (current settings) alt + ` = select next plugin window shift + F4 = close all plugin windows (useful if you use "always on top" option) ctrl + shift + f = find selected in pool (it is useful for quick change of file's tempo, stretch algorithm, finding its location, etc) ctrlf.gif ctrl + ` = pre-count on / off ctrlpre.gif shift + m = monitor on / off monit.gif alt + shift + x = split loop (cut selection at locators) altshiftx.gif num+ / num- = move playhead quantized (reassigned) numpm.gif ctrl + q = quantize pitch (reassigned) ctrl-q.gif ctrl + t = add mono track, without confirmation (reassigned) ctrlt.gif a = show used automation (selected track) (like Ableton)
shift + a = hide automation of the selected track a.gif ctrl + alt + e = edit in lower zone lower-z.gif alt + shift + q = quantize length space = play / stop
shift + space = toggle return to start position ctrl + shift + c = global copy (overwrites Show Chord Pads) / = preferences: automation follows events slash.gif y = convert to real copy y.gif 0 = pop-up toolbox show-toolbar.gif alt + shift + i = statistics statistic.gif ctrl + r = reverse
alt + shift + n = normalize
alt + shift + g = gain
alt + shift + s = silence
alt + ctrl + p = preferences
shift + F12 = key commands

Doesn't have a shortcut by default

in brackets my variant

  Slip Event Content Left / Right (No need a macro anymore!)

slip-step-edit.gif   Move Event Ends to Cursor

event-end.gif   Remove Fades

remove-faders.gif   Remove Volume Curve

remove-volume-curve.gif close gap (Audio > Advanced)

close-gap.gif convert tracks: mono to multi-channel, '

mono-to-multi.gif decrement event volume (can be done at Info Line)

decrease-volume.gif delete overlaps (Audio > Advanced)

del-over.gif detect silence (Audio > Advanced)

detect-silence.jpg unstretch audio, shift + k

unstretch.gif shrink to range selection (i.e. crop range), shift + c

crop-range.gif edit VST instrument (i.e. open/close VSTi), v

show key commands window, shift + F12

key-commands.png scrub tool (fun for sound design)

scrub.gif jog left / jog right

jog.gif next / previous quantize setting, alt + 1 / alt + 2

quant-np.gif next / previous VST instrument preset, [, ]

vst-preset.gif next / previous preset, =, -

preset.gif rename track version, F2

rename-tv.gif copy/paste warp markers from selected events (Audio > Advanced)

warp-markers.gif alt + d = the shortcut assigned to the built-in macro named "Duplicate selected track without data" in PLE. I highly approve 👍 altd.gif


Remove all arms for record PLE

Media Type Is - All Types
Track Operation - Record - Disable
(I don't use "Enable Record on Selected Track" so I need a quick way to disable previously armed instruments)
shift + r shiftr.gif

Duplicate time (region)
Ableton inspired

Edit - Global Copy
Transport - Go to Right Locator
Edit - Paste Time
Transport - Locators To Selection
Transport - Go to Right Locator
ctrl + shift + d (reassigned from Duplicate Track Version)

💡 So to sum-up working with time in Cubase (the space between left and right locators):
Insert Empty Time - ctrl + shift + e
Delete Time - shift + backspace
Copy Time (i.e. global copy) - ctrl + shift + c (by default there is such command, but no shortcut)
Cut Time - ctrl + shift + x
Paste Time - ctrl + shift + v
Duplicate Time - ctrl + shift + d (for consistency I replaced 'duplicate track version')

Play file in Media Bay with a shortcut

To test an audio sample in a mix.

I use num enter

Play from selection start

I use ctrl + space for this macro.

Quantized Nudge

A thing before Cubase 12.


File that stores shortcuts is Key Commands.xml

User presets are stored in c:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Cubase 10_64\Presets\KeyCommands\

You'd better save your configuration as preset from time to time save. Sometimes Cubase' config files get corrupted and don't work. So it is a good idea to back-up them.

My shortcuts preset: download. Just in case. It is better to make your own personal shortcuts preset.


Key Commands Overview as HTML Page
Original post at

This is a really cool, well made thing to display your hotkeys as printable table that looks like image below. First you open raw file from github, then press ctrl + s to save it as web-page (plain HTML tool). Then you open that web page in a browser (Firefox, Opera, Chrome), there will be a form to pick a file. You select your key-commands.xml file from path mentioned above and it will display this table.

backup download

KeyCommand Utility
Original post at

VB Script that creates two HTML files which show Cubase shortcut keys.
1. List of the commands which have keys and their associated key
2. Matrix of all the Keys vs Modifiers, and the commands for each combination
The HTML files will be opened in your default browser and are stored in the installation folder (see below). Place this script in the Cubase 'User Settings Data Folder', where the 'Key Commands.xml' file is stored. Run the script (double click) and it will create two HTML files (in the same folder as the script) and display them in your default browser. Original scripts written by JMCecil and someone else, adapted by MJV.

backup download

Here is an example of its output for defult Cubase 9.5 Key Commands.xml. Different colors mean different key mapping groups. Editors - mistyrose, Transport - yellow, etc.
Also I've modified it a little bit so there are free keystrokes that you can use as your own hotkeys. For example Y is totally free.