Implementing Folder Tracks?

I’ve been thinking about this for some time now.

I was pondering with the idea of creating a comprehensive and well thought-through feature proposal and presenting it then, but I decided to just share my mind on the subject and discuss the ideas with the community instead.

I am missing a function in Ardour that’d enable me to quickly show and hide groups of tracks. A folder track maybe? A possibility to fold a track group so it consumes virtually no screen space, but can be opened up with a single mouse click?

One could have a single MIDI track to play and program the instrument and a Folder Track below with all the buses needed to create the desired sound (or a kit of sounds - a drumkit for example), that can be folded down so they occupy no space.

Maybe an ability to quickly collapse Track Groups in the editor view would suffice?

The main problem is that hiding and showing again multiple tracks one by one is tedious and doesn’t help productivity.

Should Track groups and folder tracks be separate entities? Should Folder Tracks be possible to nest? Should one be able to save a Folder Track as a template and essentially have multiple tracks packed together available as a template?

I would like to talk about this, instead of just putting a feature request in Mantis.

What do you think?


It sounds like redoing the “track visibility” option that is now available in the Editor List. I like what you are proposing since it would probably restore track position in the window when hiding / restoring. The function now in the Editor List loses track position and a restored track seems to always pop up as the first track.

Sounds like a Folder Track might require setting up before it could be used. What about something simple like selecting tracks by painting and then a keyboard shortcut to collapse them. This would need to leave some kind of small item in the window where the tracks were so that the they could be restored back in the same place.

Could it be like code folding in a coders IDE text editor ? Folding leaves a + sign where rows are hidden and clicking on it unfolds the tracks.

Folding groups of tracks would be nice also. You could fold the drum group when you are done mixing drums and you want to focus on other instruments.

I think it might be best to remove the current Editor List track hiding option, since folding would be basically the same thing implemented in a nicer way.

This feature would help when editing music.

Just my 2 cents :slight_smile:

VCA spill is useful to quickly focus on specific tracks, but that’s mixer GUI only (it does not affect control-surfaces, nor the editor).
Folder-tracks or nested tracks rather strike me as a feature for a comping workflow, not visibility in general.

I like this feature too for combining tracks and making them instant (in)visible via one klick rather than selecting each track via strg klick and making them (in)visible. Looking at it may be happened in future developement.


Folder tracks are about more than just visibility in many cases. For just visibility management you can use edit groups.


I didn’t know it is possible to hide groups. I just discovered that option. Thank you!

No problem.


I’m curious what the latest for this is. This is almost 4 years old, so is there any updates along these lines?

I’m struggling to get better layout management. I’m getting comfortable with how ardour and how all other things are working together now, but there’s not much screen space in the editor to see lots of tracks from an orchestra layout with potentially multiple copies of instruments.

There are no plans to work on this at any time in the foreseeable future. Using VCAs and groups can go some distance towards making this manageable.

Thanks Paul for taking the time to post. Groups are helpful. I’m still learning my way around, I’ll check out VCAs next. Is there any way to optimize the meterbridge to only display what you want? Maybe VCAs help in this regard, I’m not sure. The reason I ask is that I notice that hiding a track in the editor, it will still shows up in meterbridge. And sometimes a plugin (ie Iowa Piano VST plugin) will bring in 32 virtual midi tracks and it takes up lots of space on the meterbridge. Re-ordering the meterbridge tracks would probably also work OK.

Mix View - left hand side, there’s checkmarks on each track. Those tracks should be grouped together and you can hide the whole group by using the box below that.

1 Like

Ahhh, yes. Thanks much!

I see it might be useful to just have an “Unused Group”, and just add them to that group until if/when needed. I also just realized in the Editor List you can re-arrange the order. And the VCA meters are very thin. Nice!

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.