Moving playhead using mouse left click

Hey there,

I imagine this is fairly straightforward but I cannot figure it out in Ardour: using 6.9.0, how can I easily put the playhead position to whereever I left-click my mouse?

For me this only works when I am on the timestamp/location marker bar. But since I’ve disabled a lot of these (e.g., no ranges/beates/meter/loop, etc. because I don’t need them) the vertical space is fairly small. I would like the playhead to move to the position on any left click also below the tracks (in the “void” space), similar to the behavior when “P” is pressed (Transport → Playhead → Playhead to Mouse). How can I do that?

Sorry for the stupid question but I honestly can’t figure it out. May seem obvious but not to me :-/

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You can’t do that, it’s that simple. It’s not a bad feature request at all, but it’s not possible at present.

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Personally I have found I prefer the ‘p’ shortcut as it keeps one hand on the keyboard for editing (using ‘s’ ‘j’ ‘k’ etc.) but also removes ambiguity as well (Am I clicking to add a point, to start a drag, etc.).

To each their own of course, but I just find that this works out better for me personally.


+1 I’d like this as well.

Sometimes my other hand is already poised for a different key combo.

Note that as stated the request is for this to work only in the lower “empty” area below all tracks. If that’s not actually visible, the feature is inaccessible.


Oh I want to be able to click anywhere in the track area and have the playhead move there.

Ahha I missed that clarification in the later paragraph. I focused on the early description. Sorry about that.

What do you think about using the middle button for Playhead To Mouse? I’d love to have that as an option in the preferences.
FYI, I have it mapped to the dead circumflex, and use it a lot.

Not possible. Click is generally a selection operation.

Why not make it do both at once? I think this is how it works in Reaper from my distant memory.

Note that as stated the request is for this to work only in the lower “empty” area below all tracks. If that’s not actually visible, the feature is inaccessible.

Either would be great, I think it could be awesome to have a click anywhere also move the head. Since I frequently use “s”, my workaround is going to be to remap the “p” key to some other key on the lefthand side of the keyboard.

I was certain that I was just doing something wrong. Maybe one day that could be a feature.

Thanks for all replies, Kev

Stream decks are great for this for the record, no remapping just program the stream deck with you most used keys. Maybe I should just make an ardour map at some point for people to use.

Warning I’m going to use the dreaded word here.

I don’t think a keyboard command to move the playhead to the position of the mouse cursor is intuitive.

My mouse cursor is already there, my mouse has at least three buttons on it that are perfectly capable of triggering an action. Why should I have to bring another peripheral into the process.

I notice both left click and middle click select a region. Why not allow one of them to also move the playhead?

“Clicking anywhere moves the playhead to that position”

“Clicking on something selects it”

“The playhead moves to the (earliest) time of the most recently selected thing”

The first two are both arbitrary and capricious, and people get used to one or the other or both which blinds them to the arbitrariness and capriciousness of whichever combination they are used to.

Adding the third (instead of “Follow Range”, “Follow Selection”) would add a potential way to bridge the gap. Pondering it.


A problem with the approach I mentioned above: a “Follow Selection” model would typically move the playhead to the start of a selected region, not where the mouse click occured. To get this working the way that (some) users want would require an option to completely change mouse behavior and always move to a left click position regardless of any change to the selection. This might not be hard to do, but I still seriously question whether it is (a) what users really want (b) what users really need

Years ago - before switching to Ardour - I worked in the Cubendo universe. I really liked the behaviour there (IIRC), and maybe this could be a nice compromise here: Any click in “open space”, anywhere between the regions, moved the playhead to the mouse click position.

IMHO any click on a region should definitively select this region. Otherwise we’ll have a forum full of “I cannot select anything anymore” threads… :sweat_smile:

Could you add an option so those who do want it can have it and those who don’t aren’t forced to? And it could be disabled by default.

Out of curiosity I just had a look at how some other programs do it.

In Reaper a left click moves the cursor and selects anything under it. A middle click just moves the cursor or if it’s held it scrubs.

Kdenlive’s behavior is more like Ardour’s. Clicking over an item doesn’t move the cursor it just selects the item, but clicking anywhere that doesn’t have an item (on an empty track for example) does move the cursor. Kdenlive also uses middle click + drag to pan around the timeline which I find useful.

Qtractor uses left click to select and middle-click to move the cursor without selecting.

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