M8 Docs   User Interface

The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is everything you see on the screen, that is all the windows, editors, buttons, sliders, scrollbars, etc..., which are called the GUI components (aka widgets, controls).

The GUI is the interface by which you tell the app what you want to do.

Most GUI components work as you're used to from other applications, but some components have more specific behaviours, which are described as follows.


Important Note To MacOS Users

These docs are written from a Windows user view. Not because MuTools prefers Windows, no, it's just that repeating the platform-specific differences all the time would be boring for you as well for me. So that's why the following is mentioned only once here:

Whenever this user guide mentions right-click, do [Ctrl]+click.
Note that a right-click might work too, it depends on your MacOS setup.

Whenever this user guide mentions [Ctrl]+click, do [Apple]+click.

Whenever this user guide mentions [Ctrl]+key, do [Apple]+key.



  • You can move a window around by dragging its title bar.
    Alternatively you can also move a window by [Alt]+click-dragging its borders.
    This may be handy when the title bar is off screen.
  • You can resize a window by dragging its borders or its corners.
    Not all windows are resizable though.
  • Right-click a window's title bar or borders to popup its context menu.
    That context menu also contains a "Move To Top-Left" function in case you can't reach the title bar anymore.
  • Most floating windows can also be closed by pressing [Esc] when the window is focused.
  • You can press [Ctrl]+[Tab] to focus the next window.
    On MacOS, this is also done by [Ctrl]+[Tab] as [Apple]+[Tab] is already used by the system.

    GUI Focus

    When you press a key on your computer, then the question is: what part of the GUI will process that key? Imagine, you press [Delete], then should the app delete the selected parts or a track or a rack or... So it's important to have a certain focused component that will process the keys you press. This is applies to all software applications. Normally this is the last component that you clicked in, or mouse-wheeled in. The app can clearly indicate the focused GUI component by drawing a colored rectangle around that component cfr this picture:

    But by default this focus box is not drawn as it can be distracting for some users. That's why this is a user preference that can be set via "Edit Preferences" -> "Draw GUI Focus Box".


    Alert boxes

    Whenever an alert box pops up, you can choose one of the button options by clicking on it (of course), but also by pressing the first character of that option. And when there is a "Cancel" option, you can press [Esc] to cancel.

    So for example for this question alert:

    Pressing [Y] = Yes
    Pressing [N] = No

    In Yes-No question alerts, [Enter] and [Return] also mean "Yes" and [Escape] means "No".


    Knobs and Sliders

    Above are examples of a knob and a slider. Knobs and sliders almost work in the same way:

    • Clicking on it and dragging it up-down OR left-right will tweak the knob/slider. For a vertical slider you can only drag up-down of course.
    • When you hold [Ctrl] while dragging, the changes are much finer.
    • When you hold [Shift] while dragging, the changes are more extreme.
    • When you hold [Shift] when you click a slider, the handle immediately jumps to that position.
    • When you hover a knob/slider with the mouse, you can also use the mouse wheel to tweak the knob/slider.
      And again [Ctrl] and [Shift] give you more control, cfr above, thus hold [Ctrl] while scrolling the mouse wheel for scrolling values in smaller steps.
    • When the knob/slider has the focus (=colored box around it), you can also press the +, - for tweaking. Pressing [Ctrl] and [Shift] works similar as above, thus [Ctrl][+] increase the value in small steps.
    • Pressing the Home key sets the knob/slider to its default value. This can also be done via a [Alt]+click on the knob/slider.
    • You can double-click the value of a module parameter to set that value via an input dialog.

    If you want you can design the looks of the knobs and sliders yourself, or import presets from other users.
    For more details see this doc page


    Menus / Tree Lists / File Browsers

    • The Desktop button brings you to the Desktop.
    • The Favorite Folders button allows you to quickly go to one of your favorite folders, or manage them.
    • The File Name Filter button allows you to set the name filter to e.g. "B*.Mux" which means that the browser will list all files starting with B and having a 'Mux' extension.
    • When also a new file can be chosen, [Alt]+N corresponds to the "New File" button.

    • When browsing for an audio file, then when you click the file name, the audio file plays one-shot AND it is active on your MIDI keyboard so you can instantly play some notes with the preview.
    • You can also drag-drop a file from the Windows Explorer / MacOS Finder on the file browser so to sync it to that dropped file/folder.
    • [Arrow Right] opens a group. [Arrow Left] closes a group.

    • You can type in characters to search for an item. Press [Ctrl]+G to search for the next item.


    Context Menus

    Context menus are popup menus that are only relevant to a specific context/object.
    Context menus are opened by right-clicking on the relevant object.
    On MacOS that is [Ctrl]+click. Note that a right-click might work too, it depends on your MacOS setup.

    Within these context menus, you can press the first character(s) of an option to choose that option.
    Sometimes this might be quicker than selecting the option with the mouse.

    If you often use the same menu options it might be a good idea to assign a shortcut key to it, that will speed up your workflow.
    See the Function Shortcuts doc page for detailed info.
    While a context menu is open pressing [Alt]+S lets you quickly assign a shortcut to the highlighted option.

    When holding the mouse over certain menu options, an into tip window shows a description of the menu item.
    Not all menu options show such description, often menu options are self-explanatory.
    The "Show menu info popups" preference defines whether these menu info popups should be shown or not.

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