Managing the User Library
- Live Versions: 9-10
- Operating System: All
The User Library is where you can save all your own presets, defaults, samples, Live Sets and much more: the place for your custom content.
Keeping this content separated from the Factory Content allows for easy backup and management of user created content: the factory content on the other hand can be downloaded and re-installed anytime, with no need to backup.
Please refer to the article for an overview on the different locations for Live's Library.
Default location of the User Library
Macintosh HD/Users/[username]/Music/Ableton/User Library
Instead of the default location, you can set a custom path to your User Library. It can be stored in any local folder or on an external drive. In Live's Preferences' Library tab, just click the related "Browse" button and choose your preferred location.
If you want to change the location of User Library, you can first move the User Library folder then set the new path in Live's preferences.
A quick way to open the actual directory outside of Live is to select the User Library, right-click in the content pane of Live's Browser and then choose "Show in Finder" (Mac) or "Show in Explorer" (Windows).
What is stored in the User Library?
By default, the User Library is almost empty; it only contains a basic folder structure which consists of five folders.
Managing the Folder Structure
You can add your own folders in addition to those that already exist, and you can even remove those pre-existing ones.
By right clicking on a folder in the User Library you can rename it. Drag it onto another folder to move it inside that one, and right click onto an empty area in the User Library to create a new empty folder.
Accessing the User Library with Finder (OS X) or Explorer (Win) and editing the content there will also work: Live will always stay in sync with changes applied to folders contained in the User Library.
The Clips folder is meant to contain your own Clips all in one place, independent of the Live Set where those are used. To save a Clip just drag it onto the User Library, ideally inside this folder. If you have created a number of sub-folders, just hold the Clip for a few seconds on the Clip folder, and this will unfold showing the nested content.
By saving a MIDI Clip, not only is the MIDI information (notes and automation) stored, but also all the settings used for the Instrument as well as the Effects loaded into this channel.
When you save an Audio Clip or if the MIDI Clip uses Drum Rack, Sampler or Simpler or even a Max for Live device which references audio samples, the referenced samples should be stored in the User Library too.
Live will take care of this automatically, depending on the settings under Preferences→Library→Browser Behavior.
Choosing "Always" will automatically save all the samples referenced by a preset in the dedicated "Samples" folder in the User Library. By choosing "Ask", a dialog will pop up upon saving a Clip or a Preset, allowing you to specify which samples will be copied into the User Library.
As shown in the screenshot, it makes sense to exclude samples from Factory Packs, to avoid redundant copies of samples which are installed in your Live Packs directory anyway.
The Defaults folder serves the purpose of storing all defaults for Tracks, Devices, Effects, Slicing to MIDI and more: this will be the default settings each time you will load the corresponding device or use the corresponding feature.
You can store your device's current settings as a Default by right-clicking on the device's title bar and choosing "Save as default preset". After doing this, a preset will be stored in the respective folder under User Library→Defaults.
Note you will have to delete the Default from the User Library if you want the device to reset back to the factory setting.
If you are interested, find out here more information on how to use Defaults in Live 9.
The grooves folder is the place to store your own Grooves, which change the "rhythmic feel" of warped Audio Clips or MIDI Clips.
You can extract a groove from a warped audio file based on the detected transients by right clicking on the sample waveform and choosing "Extract Groove" from the context menu. You can do the same on a MIDI Clip, by right clicking anywhere in the MIDI Note Editor, in order to extract the Groove information from a MIDI recording.
After having extracted a groove, this will appear in the Groove Pool of the loaded Live Set.
Now you can right click on the Groove name to rename it. You can also click the little disk icon at the right of the Groove's name to save it in the corresponding folder in your User Library.
The Presets folder is the place where all your Instruments, MIDI and Audio Effects Presets are stored by default when saving a Preset.
Devices which use samples (such as Simpler or Sampler) will also require you to save the referenced samples (once more, this behavior can be specified under Preferences→Library→Browser Behavior).
Those samples will also be stored in the Samples folder.
All the referenced samples when saving a Default, an Instrument or a Live Set in the User Library will be stored here. A separate folder for recorded samples or processed samples will be created as soon as Samples will be saved, depending on their source.
By moving around samples inside the User Library, file references will be kept: you can add folders and organize your samples any way you like.
Managing the Library
Managing all the presets and making sure that all the referenced samples are stored inside the User Library is quite easy.
Click File→Manage Files→Manage User Library to see an overview of all the presets, files, clips and sets stored in the User Library.
Further options are available to search for missing files, to include all the referenced audio files in the Library, or to delete unused samples in order to save disk space.