18. Working on a Tablet Computer

Bitwig Studio supports certain models of tablet computer. Features have been built in to Bitwig Studio to create a more seamless experience on tablets. These unique software options are primarily expressed thru a special display profile.

In other areas, features of Bitwig Studio in general have unique utility in a touch-screen context. A good example is Bitwig Studio's menu system, which allows you to create shortcut buttons for any menu functions that you would like one-touch access to (see The Menu System (via the File Menu)).

In additional, it seemed important to imagine a new way of working with this new type of hardware. So we will also get introduced to the Radial Gesture Menu, which magically — and in a context-sensitive fashion — appears as a halo around your finger. Dragging has never been so intuitively designed.


The features described in this section may not be available if you are not on a supported operating system and computer.

The Tablet Display Profile

The Tablet display profile is specially designed for touch- and stylus-based interfaces. To achieve this, the layout of the window has been rearranged and a few custom solutions have been integrated.

The most obvious changes from other display profiles are probably in the enlarged window header at the top of the screen, where some old friends have moved about and a new friend has appeared. Some items of note:

  • View words. The capitalized, bold words that appear in the top left of the window represent the currently available views (with ARR being the currently engaged option in this example). The available views will be discussed in the next section (see Tablet Views).

  • Panel icons. Mingling with the window controls (see Window Controls Section) at the top right of the window is this set of icons, each representing one of the available panels (see Panel Icons). Depending on the view selected, the available panel icons (and their corresponding panels) will change.

  • Project tabs. These tabs represent all currently open Bitwig Studio projects (see Project Tabs Section). In this display profile, the project tabs are found below the view words.

  • Track selector menu. Located in the top left corner of the window, the track selector menu is a new item. This menu allows us to focus on any track within the current project.

    The track selector menu is our only means of switching tracks in views that display only one track at a time, but it remains available in all views.

Tablet Views

Four views are available within the Tablet display profile, three of which are familiar and one of which is brand new:

  • PLAY. The Play View is only available within the Tablet display profile. Its primary purpose is to allow note entry via your tablet computer's touch screen.

    At the top of this view is a rather modest version of the Arranger Timeline, displaying a single track at a time. This makes the track selector menu and buttons necessary for switching out the single track being displayed.

    You also must choose between the Arranger Timeline Panel or the Clip Launcher Panel as only one can be shown at a time.


    You can still drag clips between the Arranger and Launcher by dragging your source clip from one panel onto the view toggle (found just above the single track header here) of the other. This is similar to dragging a clip from one project tab to another (see Going Directly between Projects).

    The Device Panel may be displayed in the center of the window. Neither the access panels nor the Inspector Panel are available in this view.

    At the bottom of this view is the On-Screen Keyboard Panel, which is where note entry and monitoring is possible. There are three keyboard modes available here:

    • The Piano keyboard provides a single row of equally-sized vertical bars for playing and creating notes.

    • The Octaves keyboard shrinks the Piano bars into squares and stacks them in octaves, filling the available screen space with keys.

    • The Fourths keyboard is similar to the Octaves keyboard but stacked in fourths.

    Each of these keyboard modes supports multitouch input so that multiple notes can be played at one time. While playing notes with your finger(s) or stylus, each mode also allows you to input Micro-pitch expressions (see Micro-pitch Editing Mode) by dragging from side to side, to input timbre expressions (see Timbre Expressions) by dragging up and down, and to input pressure expressions (see Pressure Expressions) by adding and easing pressure.

    Finally, the up and down arrow buttons in the bottom right of the On-Screen Keyboard Panel shift all available keyboard notes up or down by an octave.

  • EDIT. This specialized Edit View is similar to the standard version (see The Edit View).

    As with the Play View, the Arranger Timeline at top can display only one track at a time, and you must choose between viewing the Arranger Timeline Panel or the Clip Launcher Panel.

    Featured beneath the Arranger Timeline is the familiar Detail Editor Panel.

    Finally, the Inspector Panel and all of the access panels are available in this view, with only one being visible at a time on the right of screen. You may also notice in the image above four directional arrows in the bottom of the Inspector Panel. Pressing the up or down arrow will nudge any selected notes by one semitone, and pressing the left or right arrow will shift any selected notes by the current beat grid resolution (see Beat Grid Settings).

  • ARR. This specialized Arrange View is quite similar to the standard version (see chapter 3: The Arrange View and Tracks).

    Again, only the Arranger Timeline Panel or the Clip Launcher Panel can viewed at one time (not both). And the Inspector Panel and all of the access panels are available in this view, with only one being visible at a time on the right of screen.

  • MIX. This specialized Mix View is quite similar to the standard version (see chapter 7: The Mix View).

    The main difference here is that the optional Device Panel is shown above the Mix Panel instead of below it.


    The Dual Display (Studio/Touch) also provides a similar window for a touch-screen or tablet interface, along with a second window for a standard monitor.

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