Transferring Live Projects to another computer or user

  • Live Versions: 8 - 9
  • Operating System: All

Introduction

Live Projects are cross-platform compatible - they can be opened in both the Windows and Mac OS versions of Live. The same projects can also be opened in the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Live. The Live Set file (.als) within a project folder contains all relevant data, including MIDI notes and mappings, automation events, references to audio files, information about loaded devices and 3rd party plug-ins etc. Audio files or Max for Live devices are not saved by default but can be copied into the project folder using the "Collect all and Save" command. Please follow our recommendations on how to ensure a flawless transfer of your Live projects.

 First Steps: Install the same version of Live, all content and plug-ins

  • Install the latest version of Live on both machines. Live sets made in later versions of Live (like 9.7) can't be opened in any earlier versions of Live 9. More information here: Live 9.7 sets can't be opened in earlier versions
  • Where possible authorize the same edition of Live on both computers, e.g. Live Standard.
  • Install the same additional content Packs on both machines
  • Install the same third party plug-ins on both machines

Then depending on whether you are transferring individual projects or all of your projects, please follow these recommendations:

  1. Transferring individual projects to another computer or user
  2. Transferring all your projects to a new computer

1. Transferring individual projects to another computer or user

Audio Files and Max for Live devices

In order to copy all audio files and Max for Live devices used in a project into the project folder, use the command "Collect all and Save" from Live’s File menu. In case you're using Max for Live devices which are part of a paid Live Pack, you should install and authorise the same pack on both machines.

3rd party Plug-Ins

The VST format is cross-platform, so when transferring projects between Mac and Windows (or vice versa), Live will be able to load any projects made using the VST version of the same plug-in. If a project contains AU plug-ins then it will not be possible to load that project on Windows and have the plug-in automatically replaced with its VST counterpart (or vice versa). 

Note: Plug-ins are not collected to the Ableton project folder when using "Collect All And Save". The plug-ins have to be installed separately on both computers.

Feature limitations between different editions of Live

A Live Set created with Live Suite may exceed feature limitations when opened in a less fully featured edition like Standard, Intro or Lite. In this case Live will switch into demo mode and saving and exporting are disabled. Here is more information on opening sets in a lesser featured version of Live.

In case the user you are sharing with is using a lesser featured edition of Live, you may need to take steps like freezing and flattening any devices which they don't have, and/or limit the amount of tracks so that it can be opened by them. Please reference this article for the feature comparison between different versions of Live.

2. Transferring all your projects to a new computer

In case you are moving all your projects to a new computer, for instance when upgrading your computer, it may not be necessary to "Collect all and Save" them as long as you place your personal sample library in the same location and folder hierarchy on your new computer. This will save disk space and time. The methods differ depending on which OS you are using and whether you are transferring across different platforms:

Transferring from Mac to Mac:

  • You can clone your hard drive using Migration assistant. This is the quickest and easiest way to migrate your data - you will not need to re-install any programs, or re-organise your data as everything will be duplicated exactly. For detailed instructions, please reference this article from Apple.
  • You may also want to do a clean installation. This is recommended if your existing hard drive is cluttered. In which case you can still use Migration assistant but you can choose which data to transfer - you'll need to re-install Live, all content and plug-ins as per our instructions above. Then see points 1-4 below.

Transferring from Windows to Windows:

Transferring from Windows to Mac and vice versa:

What should be transferred:

  1. The Core Library is included in each fresh installation of Live so this doesn't need to be transferred
  2. Your User Library, which contains any presets, sounds and defaults that you saved should be copied onto the new computer. Here's where to find your User library.
  3. If your personal sample library already resides inside your User Library then Live will automatically remember the sample references. You can place your User Library anywhere on the new computer and link it in Live's preferences. This works even when transferring your User Library onto a different operating system.
  4. If your personal sample library is not stored within the User Library, then it should be copied over and placed in the exact same location and folder hierarchy on the new computer. This way Live should still be able to locate the referenced samples when you open an existing set on the new computer, provided both computers are on the same platform.