Clearing Unused Regions

This Pro Tools Tutorial explains how to use a very useful session house-keeping feature called Clear Unused Regions. This will help you clutter in your regions list and make for smaller session back up sizes.

Here’s a handy way to eliminate all the unused regions from the list with a quick little keyboard shortcut combo.

Starting Point: Assuming your starting with a session that has a number of unused audio or MIDI regions piling up in the Regions List.

Fig. 1. Regions List ~ not all of these regions are being used

Starting Point: Regions List ~ not all of these regions are being used

1. Use the keyboard shortcut, Shift+⌘+U (Mac), or Shift+Ctrl+U (Win). This will select all of the currently unused regions in the session / regions list. Selected regions are highlighted blue.

Unused Regions are highlighted after using the Select Unused Regions Command

1. Unused Regions are highlighted after using the Select Unused Regions Command

2. Use the keyboard shortcut, Shift+⌘+B (Mac), or Shift+Ctrl+B (Win) to “Clear Selected Regions from Regions List”.

Remove Vs. Delete

If there are Whole Regions (indicated by bold font in the list) being cleared, you’ll be prompted to tell Pro Tools if you want to permanently delete them or just remove them from the current session.

It is always best to select Remove unless you specifically want to delete the files.

Remember, there may be other sessions on your system that need the audio in this sessions Audio Files folder. If you select Delete, the deleted Audio Files will no longer be available to any sessions that use them.

Select Remove when presented with this dialog

2. Select Remove when presented with this dialog

3. Select Remove. The unused regions are removed from the list.

Regions List with all the unused regions cleared.

3. Regions List with all the unused regions cleared.

That’s it!


  1. But how do you get them back if you remove them and want to delete them to reduce the size of the audio folder after you have consolidated everything?

    • James ~ Unused sub-set regions do not change the size of the audio files folder. Only whole file regions do. Clearing Unused Regions (even if you clear Whole File regions) is not intended as a way to maintain or control the size of the Audio Files folder.

  2. Cool Chris, Thanks for that,

    I was trying to delete all of the takes that weren’t not used in a recording session, I thought I could select all unused and press delete so it would delete them completely (after consolidation), but since I cleared them (instead of pressing delete) I can’t select the unused ones to delete them anymore…Does that make sense? Sorry complete newb here…

    Great original posting by the way!

    • James ~ Thanks and yes, that makes sense.
      Managing audio files and sessions on your drive has allot to do with personal preferences. Depending on whether the goal is to Archive a session, or just make it cleaner and easier to navigate, or something else.

      The important thing to keep in mind is that there are definite pros and cons to doing things like deleting audio from your drive. At this point I think the cons outweigh the pros. So, I rarely delete audio from my Audio Files folder.

      Before I use the Clear Unused Regions command, I will Save the session, appending the name, something like “session-original”. Then I will immediately re-save it under it’s usual name. Then I will clear my unused regions, consolidate regions, and save those changes in the current session. The result is that I’ve cleared unused regions that are messing up my regions list but I have a backup of the original session with all the regions in the bin, if I need it. (And I have, in the past, needed it!).

      In your case, have you been using Auto-Session backups? If so, look through your session backups folder and perhaps you can recover the regions from it?

  3. Hey, you could make a session copy and the copy audio folder would only contain the audio from the current session… that might be a way.

  4. Hey lads, thanks for that, I found the regions using the backups as suggested! Thanks for the suggestion too Will

  5. Thank you so much for the tip. That helps me a lot.
    How nice to see the region list is clean again.