How To Copy And Paste Automation In Ableton (Easy Guide With Pictures)

How To Copy And Paste Automation In Ableton is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

Ableton is by far one of the most user-friendly DAWs available. It is one of the most intuitive music production programs around, with features that are easy to understand and use, and is an excellent program for both beginners and advanced users alike.

Whether you are having issues with clicks and pops in your audio, needing to mute a specific track to optimize workflow in other areas, wanting to delete particular segments of your current project or a multitude of different tasks, Ableton provides an incredible program that gives you the control you need for your music project.

Even if you are just starting with Ableton, the way the DAW is laid out allows you to start creating and editing immediately. However, as with anything else related to music, you will need to put in the time and practice to become really good at Ableton and understand some of its more complex features.

One such feature is automation and how we can copy and paste this automation feature to make our workflow much easier across our entire project. So, how do we copy and paste automation in Ableton?

Automation is an essential tool for anyone producing within Ableton. To copy and paste automation in Ableton, all you need to do is highlight the desired track, press the copy function on your computer, click where you want to paste, and then paste that copied automation into the new area.

Let’s take a deeper look at what automation is within Ableton’s context and how we can copy and paste this feature across multiple areas within our music projects.

What Is Automation?

The first thing is first. In order to understand how and why we would want to copy and paste automation across various areas in our project, we first need to have a solid understanding of what automation is.

Automation, in the context of Ableton and according to their website, is essentially how a given control parameter, such as volume level, flows throughout the duration of a song. Almost any control in Ableton can become automated, such as reverb and other audio effects, and even many external plugins as well.

In other words, you are taking something that you would typically have to adjust manually, like volume level, and automating the process. The automation feature not only makes adjusting things (like volume level) extremely easy, but it also allows you to create all sorts of cool features throughout your song without having to adjust the settings for an entire track.

Volume level is what I use automation for the most in my music. Something as simple as raising and lowering the volume level can take an otherwise simple and boring song and turn it into something exciting to listen to.

Further, there are parts in many of my songs where I want a specific part of a particular track to fade out the volume level and reside in the background, then later bring up the volume level to make it a focal point of my composition. Below is an example of the automation line of a track’s volume from one of my songs.

In the example below, I can change the automation by clicking on the line and generating little dots that can then be used to move the line to adjust the levels. There is also a draw mode that gives you more control, which can be accessed under the options tab or by simply pressing “B” on your keyboard.

showing how track volume looks in automation mode.

Instead of manually adjusting the volume level, the automation mode allows me to set the volume points where I want them to be. Then Ableton will automatically adjust them after that.

Automation is a powerful production tool, and although it is a complex concept, it is, thankfully, extremely easy to use within Ableton. Automation can add many layers of nuance, dynamics, and many other components to your songs to help separate your sound from that of other musicians.

How Do You Access Automation Mode?

Accessing automation mode is extremely easy, with two main ways to get into automation mode. The first method is to scroll over to the “view” tab, then scroll down to the “Automation Mode” option and select it. Lines will now pop up on the tracks indicating that you are in automation mode.

Location of automation mode in the drop down menu under the view tab.

The other and much easier way to access automation mode is to press “A” on your keyboard.

Once automation mode is enabled, you can scroll to the right and choose which parameter you want to automate. Note that here is where you would also have the option to select an external plugin for automation. If you have an automated external plugin, it would be where the “mixer” option is located. You would simply select the plugin and automate it like before!

You can also automate multiple effects on the same track. There is no limit to the amount of automation on each track or your project as a whole. The bottom line is that whatever is possible to automate can be automated as much or as little as you want.

Menu of available options for automation.

How Do You Copy And Paste Automation?

So, the next step is that perhaps you want the same type of automation on multiple tracks, but you don’t want to do it by hand on each track. Doing it by hand would, of course, increase the likelihood of not perfectly matching the automation from track to track or effect to effect. Luckily you can copy and paste your automation so that you don’t have to worry about messing it up, and best of all, it is super simple.

If you try to right-click on a track and copy and paste to another audio track, you will end up copying all of the audio content to that new track, not what you have done in automation mode.  Instead, you must highlight whatever section of the track you wish to replicate the automation from, then press Ctrl+C (Command+C on a Mac).

As you can see in the picture below, I have highlighted the area of the bottom track that I want to replicate to the above track. From there, I will copy the highlighted section.

highlighted section of track where automation will be copy and pasted.

From there, click where you would like that copied automation to be on the new track and press Ctrl+V (Command+V on a Mac) to paste the automation into the new track. Now that track (or a new area of the same track) will have the same automation as the previous track.

As you can see below, the two automated lines look identical after I have pasted the copied automated content. However, you might notice a sharp decrease on the left side of the upper track. This is because when I pasted the bottom section, the original volume line of the above track was all the way up, which explains the sharp decline now seen.

shows final duplicated automation for both tracks

You can also duplicate what you have copied to the next section of the same track that you are on by pressing Ctrl+D (Command+D on a Mac).


There you have it! The super simple way to copy and paste your automation to another section on the same track or a new track.

Copy and pasting automation allows you to shortcut some work that would otherwise be quite time-consuming and will enable you to focus on the most important thing: creating!

I hope you have enjoyed this article and found it helpful. Feel free to check our articles on tips and guides for Ableton like “How to pitch bend in Ableton” and more.

Until next time, stay creative and keep on playing!