The User Library
- Live Versions: 9-10
- Operating System: All
The User Library is where all of your own presets, defaults, clips, default Live Sets and more are stored.
Note: The User Library is a Live Project. Saving the Live Sets you are working on into the User Library is therefore not recommended as it will only create an .als file, but not the entire Project folder and lead to problems when e.g. trying to find missing samples.
The User Library is separate from the Core Library content so that it can be easily backed up, or shared between different Live installations or computers.
Default location of the User Library
When you install Live for the first time, the User Library is created at this location:
- Windows: \Users\[username]\Documents\Ableton\User Library
- Mac: 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 "Browse" button and choose your preferred location. This will create a new User Library in your preferred location.
Moving an existing User Library
If you want to change the location of the existing User Library, first move the User Library folder in Finder/Explorer 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 in Live's Browser, right-click on it and then choose "Show in Finder" (Mac) or "Show in Explorer" (Windows).
The folder structure of 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/Explorer 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 for saving your own Live Clips, independent of the Live Set where they are used. To save a Clip just drag it onto the Clips folder in the User Library (or any other 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 stores all your preferred defaults for Tracks, Devices, Effects, Slicing to MIDI and more: this will be the default setting each time you will load a device or 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. You can also drag and drop a device or item from the Live window into the Defaults folder to create a default preset/configuration.
To reset a Default, simply delete it from its folder.
Here's more information on how to use Defaults.
The grooves folder where your own Grooves are stored, 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.
Watch our video tutorials about Live's Groove Pool here:
The Presets folder is the place where all your Instrument, Max for Live, MIDI and Audio Effect Presets are stored when you save a custom 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 are 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.