Common Browser Elements

Whether using the anchored Browser Panel or the dynamic Pop-up Browser, most elements are shared by both browsers, albeit with different orientations.

Living along the left edge of the window, the Browser Panel is vertical and thin by design.

Made to appear only when called, the Pop-up Browser has a larger, horizontal layout, like most computer screens.

For this section, we will take the perspective of the Pop-up Browser as it has a few additional touches.

Filters Area

Together with searching, applying filters will help narrow your search results to a manageable and thematic pile. All available filters are shown below the current source, and clicking any filter will select it, unfolding its entries in the space below.

Clicking an entry within a filter activates it. Multiple filter entries can also be selected in the standard way — by CTL-clicking (CMD-clicking on Mac) to add/remove additional entries.

When a filter is active, the name of the filter is replaced with its current selection(s). So regardless of which filter is currently open, an active filter will always be visible. And hovering over an active filter header also presents an x icon on its right edge for easily clearing it. (Pressing X will also clear the currently selected filter.)

As the Browser Panel is oriented vertically, pressing CTRL+ALT+UP ARROW and CTRL+ALT+DOWN ARROW (CMD+ALT+UP ARROW and CMD+ALT+DOWN ARROW on Mac) will move to the previous or next filter available. In the horizontal Pop-up Browser, this translates to CTRL+ALT+LEFT ARROW and CTRL+ALT+RIGHT ARROW (CMD+ALT+LEFT ARROW and CMD+ALT+RIGHT ARROW on Mac). These commands will work anywhere in the browser, including from the search field.

Finally, in the Pop-up Browser, the width of the source and filter area is resizable and will be remember for similar contexts (for example, the width you used when browsing for devices versus clips, and so on).


The Location filter is practically always visible, offering both disk locations and virtual ones. Pressing L from most browser locations will move focus to this filter.

As with all filters, the top-level items can always be clicked on to only show results from that entire location, or each entry can be unfolded for additional specificity.

My Library points to your local Bitwig user library, including subgroups that correspond to its folder structure.

Bitwig Studio points to any relevant internal content from inside the application, including subgroups of Devices, Modulators, and Grid Modules.

Packages points to installed package content, including subgroups for each individual package (and its folder structure) that contains relevant items.

Collections points to all of your user collections (including Favorites). When unfolded, all collections will be shown regardless of whether they have relevant content or not. This makes it possible to select one or more items from the result list and drag them into a collection via the Location filter.

Last comes with Added Locations Group. It is actually three top-level items, allowing you to select or unfold your Sound Content, Music, and Plug-ins locations for any relevant items.

File Kind

The File Kind filter allows isolating the results list to a particular kind(s) of file. Pressing F from most browser locations will alternate focus between this filter and the more specific File Type filter, discussed below.

All of these kinds are also available as sources of their own and were described above (see by Kind Tab). With certain File Kind selections, additional filters will also appear.

Shown above, a special icon chooser has appeared at the end of the filter section. For any device- or preset-based selection, these icons will appear so you can limit your results to just instruments (yellow), audio FX (red), or note FX (blue).

Also shown above, a File Type filter will appear for any File Kind selection that includes more than one format of file. When both filters are present, pressing F from most browser locations will alternate between selecting the File Type and File Kind filters.

And a special Vendor filter will appear for Plug-ins and other device-based selections. Pressing V from most browser locations will switch to this filter, where you can narrow your search by selecting one (or more) plug-in manufacturer.

Finally when Impulses is selected for File Kind, an additional Channels filter appears for limiting your results to files with a certain number of audio channels.


The Category filter allows limiting results to a specific category. Pressing C from most browser locations will alternate focus between this filter and the Creator filter.


The Creator filter allows limiting results to those made by a certain person. Pressing C from most browser locations will alternate focus between this filter and the Category filter.


The Device filter is useful when searching presets, limiting your search to only presets made with certain devices (or categories of devices). Pressing D from most browser locations will move focus to this filter.


The Tags filter is special, helping narrow your search with various assigned keywords. Pressing T from most browser locations will move focus to this filter.

With a potentially limitless number of tags in use, the interface here uses four columns to show much more at a time. The top 16 slots are fixed with a consistent layout, using tags from Bitwig's content that may apply to all types of presets. This full top block of 16 will always be shown. Below the divider, the space is filled with as many relevant tags as possible, picking the most common ones in use for your current search, and then sorting them alphabetically.

In this abbreviated layout, you must hover over tags to see how many results match that tag, as well as a short, subjective description of the tag's meaning.

Once a tag is clicked on and selected, your results list will have changed and so will the bottom section of tags.

Additional selections will further narrow the results and the tags available.

And in case this view is too limited, or you would just rather see all tags in alphabetical order, you can right-click anywhere in the tags area for a special pop-up menu.

Hovering over items will even work the same in this view.


The special Favorites filter is always available via the hollow star to the right of the current source name. Clicking it shows only results that you have also marked as your favorites.

Results List

A list of results is always visible in the browser, presenting each item that matches your current search terms and filters with an icon and its name.

Any small colored circles represent collections that that item belongs to (or a star, in the case of it being a favorite). The DOWN ARROW and UP ARROW keys provide the simplest navigation.

Right-clicking any item also reveals a useful context menu.

Clicking one of the listed Collections will toggle the item's status, either adding it to or removing it from that collection. But the numbers beside each collection represent a key command that can be used without entering the context menu.

To add/remove an item from a collection from the results list: select the desired item(s), and press the number key associated with the collection.

So in the Pop-up Browser with its Live Preview mode, or when going thru samples in either browser with the Auto-Preview option enabled, filing items is as easy and pressing DOWN ARROW, instantly auditioning a preset or sound, pressing a number to send it to a collection (0 to mark it a favorite), and then pressing DOWN ARROW again.

In the Sort Order submenu are options for how the results list should be sorted. Options include:

  • by Kind / Name (default), which separates various file kinds (such as Bitwig devices, then plug-ins, then Bitwig device presets, and so on) and alphabetizes each kind.

  • by Name, which alphabetically sorts the entire list, regardless of file kind.

  • by Date, which sorts files by their modification date, with most recently touched files coming first.

In the Browser Settings submenu are preferences for omitting content from the results list, including whether the results Should include Legacy Content and whether the list Should hide redundant Plug-ins, which is based on your settings (see Other Settings).

Finally, the Pop-up Browser also has a unique collapsed view, available by clicking the folding triangle frame in the bottom left corner.

All key commands listed above (for moving thru the results list and even adding items to Favorites and other collections) still work in the small view, making it a nice way to try out content while keeping the rest of the Bitwig window visible.

File Area

When an item is selected, the file area on the right tells you about it.

Many options and much information are available here.

  • Beside the item's icon and name are a pair of up and down arrows, which can be clicked or tapped to move to the previous or next result, respectively.

  • All labeled data (shown below the item description) are clickable, effectively toggling those filters.

  • When a device (that has presets) or a preset itself is selected in the Pop-up Browser, a button to Show Presets for that device appears near the top of the area. Clicking it will select the target device in the Device filter, limiting your current search to only presets from this device. Clicking the button again will return you to your previous search.

    • In both browsers, devices that have accessible presets will show a small greater-than symbol (>) at the right edge of their result list entry (see Organ in the image above). Clicking that icon or pressing RIGHT ARROW will toggle on the Show Presets for mode. And pressing LEFT ARROW will then exit that mode.

  • In the Pop-up Browser, the width of the file area is resizable and will be remembered for similar contexts (for example, the width you used when browsing for devices versus clips, etc.).

  • In the Pop-up Browser, entries for the item's Location (or Package, etc.) and clickable buttons for its Collections are always present. In the Browser Panel, these items can be enabled from the Browser Settings menu.

  • In case space is tight in the Browser Panel, the folding triangle frame to the right of the file name can be clicked to fold away the rest of the file area, except for the preview player…

Preview Player

For audio files, clips, and other timeline-friendly content, special information about the file will be present, as well as a preview player at the bottom of the browser.

The preview player offers a volume fader at the left edge, as well as a play/stop button on the right. The speaker icon in the bottom right corner toggles the Auto-preview When Selected setting. If you would rather trigger (or just stop) each selection manually, RIGHT ARROW also alternates the play/stop state.

For audio samples, the file information section starts with a drop-down chooser for the Audio Preview/Import Mode preference (also found in the Dashboard under Settings > Behavior).

Two modes are available here, each defining how any audio will be previewed and imported.

  • Play at Original Speed previews the audio at its original length and speed, regardless of the project tempo. If then inserted as clip material, that clip will be set for playing back neutrally at the project's current tempo.

  • Stretch to Project Tempo previews the audio at the project's current tempo. If then inserted selected as clip material, that clip will be set to play back at the project's current tempo as well.

Visual Browsers

The Pop-up Browser can be invoked in numerous contexts. Some content is better visualized than read about.

The primary difference with these special browsers is that results are presented as rows and columns, so all four arrow keys are used for moving between results.

Curve Browsers

Bitwig has a family of curve-based devices, currently numbering three modulators and five Grid modules (with two of those modules also present in Polymer, and the Transfer waveshaper also available in Filter+ and Sweep). They can all load and save the same BWCURVE files, whose free-form shapes are visualized in the curve browser.

Wavetable Browser

WT-format wavetable files can be loaded by the Wavetable oscillator (as a Grid module or in Polymer), as well as by the Wavetable LFO (in either its modulator or Grid module incarnation). A tilted 3D layout of each file's tables is presented by the wavetable browser.

Impulse Browser

Bitwig's Convolution device can load any audio as an impulse response. Once loaded, the audio is saved to your library as a BWIMPULSE file, joining the hundreds of files available in Bitwig's factory library.

The impulse browser visualizes the amplitude of these files, along with their original length listed beneath them.

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