Ability to drag and drop different file formats into plugin GUIs

I apologize because I have seen bits and pieces of similar requests like this but none have been all encompassing for all format / plugin types.

From some of what I read this may not be possible to achieve in Ardour but…

Wondering if their are any plans/capabilities to allow users the ability to be able to drag and drop various file formats into LV2, VST2 & VST3 plugin interfaces from within Ardour itself? This would of course require a tab in the sidebar to accomplish this because you would need a place to d&d from.

Most commonly mentioned is the ability to d&d audio files into samplers but their are other format types that plugins can allow to be d&d into their interfaces such as SF2, SFZ, etc.

Again apologize that this has been asked in various ways but this would cover the question for all…
Plugin Formats - LV2, VST2, VST3, etc.
Audio Formats - WAV, MP3, etc.
Other Formats - SF2, SFZ, etc.

If this is not possible / not a desired feature to be added please let me know.

Thank You

You cannot DnD into a plugin unless the plugin offers that option in its own GUI.

The DAW host has no idea how to “give” the plugin an audio file. The plugin must be setup to “accept” it.

It works for plugins that support it.

The Sampler(s) of the https://lsp-plug.in/ plugin-set do accept files via Drag/Drop. and the reverse is also possible. For example you can drag MIDI files from Addictive Drums directly to Ardour’s timeline.

What is not possible is to drag regions from the timeline to a plugin. Regions are just meta-data. They will have to be bounced or exported to an audio-file first.

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But to be clear, that’s drag-n-drop to/from the plugin GUI, not some GUI element created by Ardour to represent the plugin.

Hey guys thank you for the responses.
Wait a minute, you are telling me that Ardour does not even have the ability to alter the code of other developers plugins, what kind of program is this? Ardour is falling behind, I am pretty sure StudioOne has the ability to do this… :slight_smile:
Just kidding, no I know that the plugin has to be able to accept the requested format but if the plugin can, can you do this within Ardour itself as I mentioned?
Without having to open up a Linux based file manager to drag the file into the GUI?
I tried dragging wav files into a VST plugin GUI from both the sidebar “clips” section as well as the “import” sample window and was not able to? (Was testing Windows version at the time)
Also if this is possible, then where would one be able to access say a SF2 or SFZ file within Ardour to be able to drag it into a plugins GUI (that has the ability to accept it)?
I apologize if I am doing something wrong, I will mess around with things a little more and see.
Thanks again guys for your responses

You cannot drog from any internal file browser, due to the design of the GUI toolkit we use (and anyway, that may not be any improvement over using an external filebrowser)

Ardour’s own region / source lists are not designed for this purpose, and as Robin noted, dragging a region in this way would be a bit problematic since a region is not an audio file.

The same is also true of the clips list … we have not built these to be drag sources for external drop targets (like plugins), even though they function as drag sources within Ardour (because Ardour understands the type of object they represent, which is not a file)

What is it that you actually want to accomplish? Building soundfonts is mostly a job best left to dedicated tools. I can imagining loading specific regions into a simple trigger playback engine, but then you can use the clip/cue support in Ardour for that now.

Hey Paul, thank you for the response.

When I mentioned being able to DnD file formats like SF2 / SFZ I meant that some plugin “players” of these instrument types allow you to drag in the file into their GUI to open them (to use them as an instrument)
I have not been able to use it personally but I think a good example of this would be something like “Sfizz” which allows you to drag SFZ file into GUI to open them.
As mentioned in original post the value of this would come more from a sidebar based browser.
No regions, only speaking about files.

I did some more testing…
WINDOWS (Windows 7 64Bit)
-Was not able to DnD audio files from Ardours “Import” window (Ctrl+I) into VST plugin GUI (that accepts them)
Noticed that VST plugin GUI opens in a non embedded window, not sure if this is typical? Is there a setting to embed VST plugins inside Ardour?
If I open up a file manager the DnD DOES work.

-Opened up the “Import” window and when you change file types to “All Types” and you go into a folder that contains say SF2 files, a dialog box pops up that says the following…
“One or more of the selected files cannot be used by Ardour”
which prevents user from being able to select a file to be able to DnD them in.

Might just be me, not sure if other users can verify same results?

In what real-world scenario would you want to drag an imported file into a plugin?
Imported files are files that appear in the timeline in the Edit window; they’re not something you’d usually throw into a plugin.
Sure, if you have a bass drum wav with just a single kick, that you’ve imported into the timeline, it could make some sense to being able to throwing it into a sampler plugin, but if you already have it in the timeline you could just as well just copy it and place it where you want it.

SF2 files are sampler files, which you load into a sampler.
They’re not something you import into Ardour’s Edit window.
That’s the reason they don’t show up in the import window unless you change the file type list.

But Sfizz has its own GUI that allows you to select SFZ’s. What is gained by first selected SFZs in Ardour, and then d-n-d-ing them into Sfizz ?

In what real-world scenario would you want to drag an imported file into a plugin?

When you want record a sound and/or want to edit an audio file before you put it into an sampler. Also, you might want a sampler to use an imported copy within the ardour project folder.

Another post I had lost faith in but still curious on.
Again not sure why everyone keeps refering to audio being dragged out of track list that is not what I am talking about.

As far as audio, to give example, lets say you have a drum sampler plugin, maybe one that looks like an MPC grid where it allows you to drag audio samples into each one of its pads (into the GUI).
Would be nice to be able to use Ardour as a file browser where you can arrow through samples allowing you to “preview” what they sound like and then be able to drag those samples into a plugin GUI.
For drum sampler plugins that do not include a file manager / have ability to “preview” samples.

It was said above that Ardour can do this but I was not able to. The only way I was able to do this in the past if I remember correctly was to be able to drag samples from an OS file manager that had no connection to Ardour.

This is just one example of what I am refering to.
You can also think of dragging impulse responses (wav) into an IR Loader.

Similar to the same concept I mentioned about being able to drag in other types of files such as instrument formats (SF2, SFZ, etc.) into plugin players that support this DnD feature.

Being able to do all of these things without having to step out of Ardour to do so.
I understand that most plugins come with little file pickers but they are usually lacking and as mentioned may not allow users to preview samples, etc. Nice to have an ablity to access through real browser like the one in Ardour, but as mentioned it does not allow access to all file types.

I am correct in saying that Ardour cannot do this at the currently?
Say with audio files, can ignore instrument formats question for now.

Thank You

So again, am I correct in saying that Ardour cannot do this at the currently?
Say with audio files, can ignore instrument formats question for now.

Thank You

You can drag-n-drop most audio file formats into a track in ardour.

Ardour is not going to intervene for other files types (IR, SF2, SFZ, whatever) and pick a plugin to use it with. Load the plugin you want to use, drag-n-drop the file to the plugin (if the plugin UI supports it - some do, some don’t).

So as Paul said, this is on the plug-in to support, not Ardour. If the plug-in supports it Ardour shouldn’t be doing anything to prevent it from working and it should just work. If the plug-in doesn’t support it, Ardour can’t do anything to make the plug-in support it, that just isn’t possible for a host to do the way plugins are designed I do not believe.

can we have option to right click on audio region in sources list (or on the region in editor) and have option ‘reveal in finder’?
otherwise i have to go like 10 levels deep to the project dir…

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Would be more difficult due to the large number of file browsers out there, but I do agree this would be very useful.


actually it would be very straightforward…
Mac has finder
Windows has explorer
linux has… (i prefer mc :D)

Yep that last part is really what I was referring to:)


You can already open the export directory in the project folder in the export dialogue.

Well, there are things like xdg-open /my/path which is supposed to work across all (major?) linux desktop environments + their GUI file managers…

But you will always find the odd system config where this will not work for certain users for sure…