Let’s say you’re done working on a Pro Tools session and you want to archive it. That is, you want to put all of (and ONLY) the necessary files for the session all in one tightly-packed folder. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Delete Unused Playlists. Go to any audio track in your session and choose “Delete Unused…” from the playlist menu on the track. The Delete Unused Playlist dialog will open. Highlight all of the playlists in that list (as in Figure 1) and click Delete. This will eliminate any playlists that are not visible in the Edit window… any playlist that is shown on screen and is playing back will not be deleted.

Delete Unused Playlists

Figure 1. Delete Unused Playlists. Select “Delete Unused” from the playlist menu, and a window with all of the unused playlists will open. Select them all and click “Delete.”

2. Remove Unused Regions. From the Regions list pop-up menu, choose Select > Unused. Any regions that are not referenced by any track or playlist in your session will become highlighted.

3. Clear Regions. From the Regions list pop-up, choose Clear. The Clear Regions window will open, as in Figure 2. Choose “Remove” to remove the unused regions from the session, or “Delete” to permanently erase the files from your hard drive. Whether you choose “”Remove” or “Delete” will not affect the size of your archived session, BUT choosing “Delete” will erase the unused audio files from your hard drive PERMANENTLY. Only choose “Delete” if you’re trying to clean up your hard drive.

Clear Regions

Figure 2. Clear Regions. Removing unused regions from a session can make archiving a much faster process while also using up less hard drive space.

4. Compacting (this is an optional step). Compacting deletes unused portions of audio files to conserve disk space. Although it can save hard drive space, be warned. Compacting is a destructive command. It permanently changes the original audio file and cannot be undone. Thus, I would only use this step if you need the archived file to be as small as possible. Otherwise, skip this step.

5. Save Copy In. Choose File > Save Copy In and the dialog in Figure 3 will open. Check off all the items that you want to include in the archive (most importantly, All Audio Files). Be sure to check “Enforce Mac/PC Compatibility” if you’re archiving to a version of Pro Tools before version 7.X. The Save Copy In command is great because it creates a duplicate copy of everything that’s included in the session, including audio files, fade files, plug-in settings, and movie/video files. All of the copied files are put together in one folder. Thus, if you have files spread out all over different drives, this is the best option for bringing all of those files together for archiving. You can also save your session to be compatible with an earlier version of Pro Tools, if so desired. Since this command will copy everything involved with your session, it may take some time to process.

Save Copy In

Figure 3. The Save Copy In Window. Always check the Enforce Mac/PC compatibility box if archiving the session to anything earlier than Pro Tools version 7.X.

You can now store this tightly-packed folder on a hard drive, DVD or other storage medium. I recommend making a couple of copies of that folder and saving the copies on different storage mediums (e.g., one copy on a hard drive, one copy on a DVD).

Happy Archiving!

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    Hi Dave
    great post. I routinely take large 1 Hr + sessions, and carve it into songs, using this process. BUT I also get much larger audio files than I would expect given 4 min Song. At 24 bits, I would expect 30 MB per track, or 480 MB per 16 audio tracks. But I have 80 and 100MB audio files all and 3-4 GB, even after following this process (excluding the compact). What gives? What is the missing step to get Save cOPY iN to JUST have the right sized audio files for that single song?

    Thanks urgently,
    Cheers, Chris Rigatuso

    This is a great tutorial. Unfortunately, it’s not working for me. The ‘delete unused’ function is grayed out. Any idea why? PT 7.4.2 on 10.5.4

    when i tryu to use save copy in
    enfroce mac /pc compatibility is not highlighted
    how do i trun it on or is there somthing not set right it will not let me check it or uncheck it or anything please help
    thank you michael mitchell or tazzmidia1@aol.com

    Hey David
    Thanks for the great info. That said… why when I open the “Copy of” sessions I get the dialogue that I’m missing files do I want to re-link?

    I thought the purpose of this was so that EVERYTHING necessary – ie. audio files, etc… would now be together in one place. Why do I need to relink?


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