BROWSER

Browser

The File Browser provides access to projects, samples, preset libraries & VST plugins. There are 3 tabs along the top that focus important sections including All, the Current Project and Plugin database.

NOTE: The browser can be detached to a separate window or docked on the right side of the FL Studio desktop.

Browser Controls

Browser Menu - Options menu including search functions. The options here are discussed in more detail in the 'Browser Menu' section below.
Collapse structure - Collapses all expanded folders in the Browser window.
Refresh content - Rereads the contents of all folders in the Browser. Click this button to see any new files and folders that were created after FL Studio was started.
Search - Search all folders for files.
Browser Snapshot - Remembers Browser state for quick recall. To save a Browser state click on the down-arrow select a slot to hold the configuration, open the Browser to state you want.
  • All, Current project, Plugin database - As shown below.
  • Snap 4 to 9 - Slots dynamically remember the last Browser state open while they were selected. You can rename these slots and add an icon in the same manner as default categories (All, Current project and Plugin database). Select a 'Snap slot' and click Rename / color from the bottom of the menu to enter a name and select an icon.
  • Auto (scroll) - Automatically opens the Browser based on the function/plugin/focus in FL Studio. Focusing the plugin opens its presets, focusing the mixer opens mixer presets, focusing the Playlist/Piano roll/Event Editor & switching patterns opens the project patterns, undoing/redoing opens the project history and linking a knob to a controller opens the project remote control folder.
  • Rename - Renames the Snap 1 to 4 state slots.
  • Frozen - Freezes the currently selected slot and protects it from change. The slot will display a tick mark when frozen.
Minimize - Reduces the Browser to the Caption bar. See also Menu > View > Auto hide browser.
Close - Closes the Browser, as does (Alt+F8).
All - Shows all content including the following two categories.
Current project - Shows data associated only with the currently loaded project. The Remote control folder holds all Automation data created or recorded.
Plugin database - Manage FL Studio and VST plugins. You can right-click 'scan', 'favorite' and delete plugins.

NOTES: The Divider - Left-click to drag the divider to change the width of the Browser. The divider can snap to a second position, move the divider to the desired location then Right-click to swap between the new and/original location. Pop-out file-name view - File names obscured by the right edge of the Browser can be read by placing the mouse cursor over the item. Scroll bar - Click & drag or click to focus and scroll mouse-wheel. Quick Zoom - Hold Shift + Scroll -wheel.

Working with content

More tutorial videos here - The Browser Video Tutorial Playlist.

FL Studio project files

FL Studio project files can be saved to one of two formats:

FL Studio project file (*.flp) - To open Right-click and select 'Open', middle-click the mouse-wheel or drag-n-drop on the FL Studio desk top. Project files contain the data that belongs to your project, including notes and sequencer data, patches and settings for all instruments, FX and channels, but does NOT include sample data (use .zip project files for that). Sample data locations are saved, and these will be scanned when the project is opened for the correct sample data. If the samples can't be found there FL Studio will search all custom folders added to the Browser. If you want to skip this extended search, press and hold ESC when you see the loading icon in the Hint bar.
Zipped project file (*.zip) - To open Right-click and select 'Open', middle-click the mouse-wheel or drag-n-drop on the FL Studio desktop. Zipped project files include all the data of the .flp file (see above), plus samples used by Audio Clips, Channel Samplers etc. It will not save VST plugins themselves OR samples used by 3rd party VST plugins. The .zip format is the same compression standard as used by 3rd party applications. The file contains the .flp project plus sample data. When opening a .zip file, FL Studio will automatically decompress it, load the .flp project and any samples. Zipped files are a great way to archive an important projects or to share them with collaborators, even if the project uses non-FL Studio samples.

NOTE: To export your project as an audio file (.wav, .mp3 or .ogg) use the File menu > Export option.

Browser Menu

The Browser menu contains the following options -

Browser Folders

Adding custom folders

There are two ways to add your own custom folders to the Browser:

NOTE: Custom 'Extra search folders' and their sub-folders are scanned for samples and content when loading projects. So, it's not advisable to set the root of any drive as a search folder since it can make load-times for projects very long (while the whole drive is searched). On the other hand, this is a good trick for locating missing files you have moved somewhere and forgotten about.

Current project

The Current project folder contains information and data associated with the currently loaded project, such as a list of patterns, automated controls, instruments and an undo history list.

NOTE: For direct access to MIDI CC parameters for Automation purposes, open the Effects or Generators folder (see below). Although the Tools menu > Last Tweaked automation linking process is usually faster.

History - Contains the set of possible undo steps ('undo history'). The last action you performed is at the bottom of the list.
Patterns - Contains a list of Patterns, Initialized controls & Automation. The item sub-folders contain the automated controls themselves.
  • Clicking on Patterns - Opens folders to show any Piano roll or Event Automation data. Clicking on sub-level items will open the target Piano roll or Event editor.
  • Right-clicking - Displays a menu to expand, collapse or search for items/data. 'Delete item' 'will show where available.
  • Initialized controls - This is the location for any recorded automation and initialized controls. This data will be associated with the selected pattern when the recording was made or the control initialized. Initialized control values set the value of a control at song start.
    • To initialize a control - Right-click and select 'Init song with this position'. Creating an Automation Clip will automatically initialize the target control, so the control can return to its original value, if the Clip is deleted. You can disable auto initialization under General Settings > Advanced > Don't initialize controls automatically
    • To remove an initialization - Right-click the Browser entry and select Delete event.
Effects - The Effects folder lists all effects used in the project. For direct access to MIDI CC parameters, for Automation purposes, open the Effects folder where each effect is listed as a folder containing all automatable controls for the plugin.
  • Tweak parameter - Left-click and hold to open a quick-access parameter control.
  • Automate a parameter - Right-click and select the Automation Clip or Event Editor to draw automation.
  • Link to controller - Right-click and select Link to controller or Override generic link. See here for more detail on these two methods.
  • Make plugin thumbnail - To create a thumbnail image of the plugins used in your project use the Wrapper > Plugin menu to select 'Make editor thumbnail' for each plugin. The thumbnail will appear in the Generators sub-directory. NOTE: The Browser view must be larger than 'Compact' for the thumbnail image to display.
Generators - The Generators (instruments) folder lists all effects used in the project. It does not include the Channel Sampler, 3x OSC or Layer. For direct access to MIDI CC parameters, for Automation purposes, open the Effects folder where each effect is listed as a folder containing all automatable controls for the plugin.
  • Tweak parameter - Left-click and hold to open a quick-access parameter control.
  • Automate a parameter - Right-click and select the Automation Clip or Event Editor to draw automation.
  • Link to controller - Right-click and select Link to controller or Override generic link. See here for more detail on these two methods.
  • Make plugin thumbnail - To create a thumbnail image of the plugins used in your project use the Wrapper > Plugin menu to select 'Make editor thumbnail' for each plugin. The thumbnail will appear in the Generators sub-directory. NOTE: The Browser view must be larger than 'Compact' for the thumbnail image to display.
Remote control - Contains the list of controls that are linked to external (MIDI) or internal controllers.

Plugin Database

The Browser's Plugin Database is the place to manage your plugins and to create favorite lists. About the folders:

Plugin database > Effects / Generators folders are your 'favorites' list. This is the data used to generate the Plugin Picker (F8) pop-up screen.

Plugin database > Installed > Effects / Generators folders show ALL VST plugins you have installed. You can Right-click any of these folders and select 'Refresh plugin list' to initiate a plugin scan.

Managing the Plugin Database

Plugin Picker

The Plugin Picker displays the plugins in the database as an array (generators left, effects right, as shown below). To use the Plugin Picker, click, hold & drag the icon of the plugin you want to use. The picker interface will close leaving you holding the plugin ready to drop on the desired location inside FL Studio. Alternatively double-clicking a plugin will load it into a new channel or double-clicking an effect will load it into the currently selected mixer track.