Ever heard of a program called Skootch? I’m not surprised, to get it, you need to get ahold of the creator. So what does it do? It improves Pro Tools’ support for multiple screens on Windows. Here’s what Dr Bob has to say about it.

I was never happy with the minimal support Pro Tools has for multiple video monitors. It’s just not all it should be. So I decided to do something about it, and Skootch is the result.

The Problems

These are the problems that have bothered me in Pro Tools’ multiple screen support :

1) The Pro Tools main window (in version 7.4, and maybe others) opens up to fill only the first screen when the program launches. Even if you manually expand the main window to fill two screens, the program does not retain this size, and reverts to one screen again at next program launch. You thus need to move this window manually every time.

2) I prefer to work with the edit and mix windows both visible all of the time. In my case, I want to see the edit window as large as possible, and filling the first screen. And the mix window likewise filling the second screen. Pro Tools does not do this automatically, although in most cases it will save this window layout once you manually drag and size the windows to your taste. But each new session you have to do this again. In some cases, you can use the window layouts of Pro Tools (but older versions do not have this feature). All sessions received from other studios will also have windows in “the wrong places”, likewise requiring manual moving, resizing, etc.

3) The Pro Tools main window, when “maximized” to fit the full size of two screens, does not “stay put”. It can be accidentally dragged or resized. I often do this by accident, which then requires me to manually drag the window back to where I want it. Annoying.

4) Likewise, the edit and mix windows do not stay put, regardless of where you put them. They too can be accidentally dragged or resized, and must then be manually put back where you want them. Also annoying.

5) There is some wasted screen space devoted to title bars, etc. In Pro Tools version 6 and below, when working on a single screen, the edit or mix window could at least be truly maximized. In apps that behave according to Windows standards, a maximized window discards its title bar, and embeds it’s control icons in the parent window’s menu bar. This capability was removed in Pro Tools version 7. Now, the edit and mix windows always retain their title bars, wasting some space.

The Solution – Skootch

Skootch solves these problems simply and quickly.

The Skootch main dialog is simple. It contains two push buttons – one to Skootch the Pro Tools windows to a truly maximized state, and one to return the windows to their normal state (but still “maximized”).

There is a selection via radio buttons of whether to put the edit window on screen 1 with mix window on screen 2, or the contrary.

Beneath this is a checkbox to select whether or not you want the Pro Tools menu centered. This is really only useful for people with three video monitors. When centered, the Pro Tools menu moves to the center of the middle monitor.

Beneath this is a checkbox to select whether or not the Windows’ taskbar is covered when the windows are maximized. When covered, the taskbar will not pop up out of it’s auto-hide state (if selected), even if the cursor moves to the bottom of the screen.

To use Skootch is very simple. Run Pro Tools, and ignore the size and placement of its main window. Likewise open a session and ignore the window placement. Select the desired window order in Skootch; either “edit, mix” or “mix, edit”. Select the “center menu” and “cover taskbar” choices as desired. Then press the Maximize button in Skootch. The Pro Tools main window will be resized to fill all available screens. The edit and mix windows will be adjusted to fill the first two screens. Pressing the Normal button in Skootch will undo this, and return these three windows to their normal state.

When the three windows are “skootched”, they will all drop their title bars, and will no longer have resizing borders. The main window will occupy the entire area of all available video monitors. The edit and mix windows likewise will have no title bar nor resizing borders, and will be placed in the desired monitor, filling as much space as possible.

In the skootched state, none of these windows may be accidentally dragged nor resized. There is one exception to this – in the lower right corner of the mix and edit windows there is a small square between the ends of the two scroll bars. This square may be dragged to resize these two windows. If this is done by accident, you may simply press the Maximize button of Skootch again to reset the windows to maximum size.

Even if you don’t like the maximized “skootched” state of these windows, you can still use Skootch to quickly adjust these three windows in their normal state. Pressing the Normal button in Skootch at any time performs this same “maximization” of these three windows, but does so without removing the title bar, etc. So this program can be used in this way too.

That’s all there is to it ! No more manually moving and resizing windows in Pro Tools ! Yay !

But who’s Dr Bob anyway?

I worked as a programmer at Digidesign for more than 7 years. My most important work while I was there was the porting of Pro Tools to run on Windows. I was the guy who made Pro Tools run on Windows for the very first time. It was a very exciting moment of my life. I still have the computer that Pro Tools first ran on. It was Pro Tools version 4.01 or so, and the machine was a 200 MHz Pentium with MMX, 96 MB of RAM, and Windows NT. It had an AM III card in it. Pretty basic, and even laughable by today’s standards. But it ran Pro Tools for the first time, and that sight was incredible !

Since leaving Digidesign, I’ve been doing audio engineering work. I use Pro Tools every day, on a PC of course, and perform recording in studio and also live shows, plus editing, mixing, mastering, etc.

I still love to write programs, and so when an idea or aggravation comes along, I am often motivated to take care of it by writing some program or another. Skootch is a simple example of this.

Bob doesn’t have a website where you can download the software, but if you need it just shoot him a email and perhaps make a donation as well.

I simply ask you to consider making a donation to me if you find my program to be of use. For Skootch, I suggest $10, but you be the judge of what you think is right. I have a PayPal account, and the account name is BobNagy@Aol.com. If this is not a good option for you, contact me and we can find some other way.

All comments, ideas, complaints, etc. about Skootch are of course welcome. If you have any other idea, or behavior of Pro Tools that you would like to change, please let me know. Maybe I can write a little program to make it better.

You can email Bob at

BobNagy@Aol.com.

Thanks to sunburst79 for informing me about Dr Bob’s programs!

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EDIT:

Note that a lot has happened since this post. Bob is currently working on releasing version 4.0. Since version 3.0 Skootch is no longer donationware.