How do I label an automation?

Hi. I’ve got files with lots of automations on various controllers on various channels. Most control various parts of external equipment (guitar tones, vocal harmonies, etc) and I’m having trouble keeping it all straight because the automation lanes have labels like “LSB for Control 23(…”.

Is there a way to rename these to something more useful like “guitar distortion ch 16” or “vocal doubling ch 14”?

Hi. Just checking in on this question. If the answer is “no you can’t label”, that’s fine.

Would a donation help to prioritize this feature for future addition?

It sounds from the name example you gave as if this is MIDI “automation” data, aka “Continuous Controller” data aka “CC messages”. The names given by defuault are taken from the MIDI standard. They can be overriden by using an industry-standard MIDNAM file for the equipment in question, which describes the names to be used for all (or a subset of) the controllers. Ardour comes with a large set of MIDNAM files (more or less every single valid one we could find online), but that doesn’t even a small fraction of actual equipment.

You can’t manually rename those automation tracks.

Donations are always welcome, but to be honest they really have almost no impact on our priorities. In general the work involved in most features is far in excess of what normal donation levels would suggest. In addition, we have our own extensive road map / priority list that is based on trying to bring maximum value to the most people. In particular, we are currently in a (sadly) very extended period of working on major architectural changes, and so specific features requests like this are way off in the future, if they were to happen at all.

I don’t know what platform you are using, but on Windows and macOS there are a couple of free MIDNAM editing programs that you could use to create a MIDNAM specific for your device(s). On Linux, there’s no such software, but if you are comfortable editing XML in a text editor, the large number of example files would make it not particularly hard to create a MIDNAM file that way. Then you could specify the correct MIDNAM file for the track(s) in question, and the correct controller names will just show up.

You can take an original file “MIDI.midnam” from “/opt/ardour/share/patchfiles/”, make a copy and edit. Inside the file you can find:

ControlNameList Name=Controls string.

Below this string there will be a list of control’s names, which you can just correct for your needs:

Control Type=“7bit” Number=“1” Name="YOUR CC NAME"

After that put a custom file in to a folder:


If the folder “patchfiles” is absent - just create it.

** These instructions are for Linux. If you’re in Windows - I guess there must be analogous folders.

If you’re interested, I’ve already done a topic about a year ago here:

If you’d like to dive into crazy experiments with CC check a link:

I’ve forgot!! To make your custom file visible in the list of the external devices (in the track header) you need to rename the file

and correct strings from this:


to this


There’s no matter what will be “your_custom_name”