The (File) Browser provides quick access to sample collections, presets and projects from within FL Studio.
- Load / Open item - Most items can be dragged from the Browser onto a compatible location in FL Studio (FL desktop, Plugin, Channel, Mixer, Edison, etc). Alternatively, Right-click an item to
'send' it to a particular location. See the section 'Using Browser content' below for more details.
- Docking - The Browser can be docked to either the left or right side of the main window, by dragging it to either side of the screen. Click and drag on the word 'Browser' in the header bar.
See video here
- Can't see the Browser? - Turn it on using the Shortcut panel or press ( F8).
- Add folders - Use the File Settings 'Browser extra search folders' list to add your own folders to the Browser list. See video here
- Auto-open Browser folders - Auto open related folders as plugins are selected, select 'Browser Snapshot > Auto' (1).
- Important project folder - The Current project folder will show all data associated with the currently loaded project. Useful for finding unwanted automation or initialized controls.
- Backup - The Backup settings are on the FILE tab on the System Settings dialog.
- Windows Explorer - Right-click folders and select Windows shell menu > Open. See video here.
More tutorial videos here - The Browser Video Tutorial Playlist.
This page covers:
- 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.
- Reread Structure - 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.
- Browser Snapshot - Remembers Browser state for quick recall. To save a Browser state click on the down-arrow
(4), select a slot to hold the configuration, open the Browser to state you want.
Close - Closes the Browser, as does ( F8).
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.
- Snap 1 to 4 - Slots dynamically remember the last Browser state open while they were selected.
- 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.
Using Browser content
- Loading - There are a number of ways to load content from the browser:
- Drag and drop - Most items may be dragged from the Browser (Left-click, hold & drag) to the desired target in FL Studio and they will be loaded automatically. For example;
- Instrument presets from folders or Instruments from the Plugin Picker can be dragged to Channels OR better, Mixer tracks to automatically set a routing to that track.
- Effects to Mixer tracks or FX slots.
- Samples to the Playlist to create Audio Clips or to Instruments that support samples (see note below).
- Projects onto the FL Studio desktop to open them.
- Send to selected Channel - Three good options are:
- Right-click menu - Right-click the item in the Browser and select 'Send to selected channel' to load samples or instruments in the selected Channel.
- Middle mouse button (often the mouse scroll-wheel is clickable) - Loads compatible content on the selected Channel.
- Step through items in a folder - The ( Shift + Up / Down Arrow) keys will step forward and
backward through the items in the folder and send them to the selected channel or last touched window. This is particularly useful for trying out various samples in the Channel Sampler, more so
if you have content sorted into folders of a particular type, e.g. Kicks, Snares etc. Swap samples while the Project is playing. Method:
- 1. Select the Channel, plugin or click on the window.
- 2. Click on the first item in the Browser list, then start stepping using the ( Shift + Up / Down Arrow) keys.
- Preview - Many items (.mp3, .ogg, .wav files) can be previewed in the Browser by Left-clicking on them. The Mixer audio-preview track is set in the F10 >
Audio Settings > Mixer preview track field (see note below).
NOTE: Wav files may contain tempo and tempo-sync meta-data. This will be read by FL Studio if the
General settings > 'Read sample tempo information' option is selected. If this information is used the preview will be time-stretched to match the tempo of the project and the
sample may be similarly stretched when loaded into the Playlist. This can cause unexpected behavior if the tempo data saved in the sample is wrong. You can load any samples into Edison and
open the File properties dialog to change the value of any incorrectly tagged samples.
The Browser menu contains the following options -
- Search - Searches for files and folders using non-case sensitive searching. To cancel a search, press Esc.
- Find (Alt+F) - Type in a search string after selecting this option. The exact
phrase will be searched.
- Smart find (Ctrl+F) - Allows the use of advanced search functions.
Wildcards: 'sytr*' will find 'sytrus', 's*us' will find 'sytrus' or 'stylus'. TIPS: Use extensions ('searchword.flp' to search for flp's, etc). To include the 'Projects'
folder in your search use the string 'projects' to your search as the project folder is not searched by default.
- Find previous (F2) - Jumps to the previous item of the same search type.
- Find next (F3) - Jumps to the next item of the same search type.
- Send previous to selected channel (Shift+Up Arrow) - Step up the list and send the file to the selected Channel.
- Send next to selected channel (Shift+Down Arrow) - Step down the list and send the file to the selected Channel.
- Size - Changes the size of the font and spacing according to Compact, Normal, Large, Huge & Humorous options.
- Autohide - The Browser will autohide and pop out when you move your mouse to the Browser location (usually left of the screen). To stop the FL Studio workspace moving you can click on the Browser header area (4)
and drag it to the right side of the screen. You can also use this method to undock the Browser and drop it anywhere on the screen.
- Show folder icons - Displays an icon for each folder in the Browser tree.
- Show only one folder content - Only one directory will be open at a time.
- Show file extensions - Shows file extensions such as .wav, .mp3, etc.
- Show unknown file types - Displays files not natively supported by FL Studio. You may be able to drag and drop these on 3rd party plugins for example.
- Sort by - Name, Type, Date or Group.
- Sort by Group - This option sorts folders or files according to the order specified by XYZ.nfo files in the ..\Program Files\Image-Line\FL Studio\Data\Patches\ directory, where XYZ = any folder or
file name. Inside the .nfo file put the command SortGroup=1 to N. 1 will appear at the top while N is the last file to be sorted toward the top of the Browser. Unsorted files will appear below these as usual.
- Collapse structure (Ctrl+Up) - Collapses all expanded folders in the Browser window.
- Reread structure (Ctrl+R) - 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.
- Configure extra folders - Opens the 'Extra search folders' dialog from the Options menu (F10). Use this to specify folders outside the FL Studio Installation path that hold your plugins,
samples, projects, etc.
- Current snapshot - Repeats Snap options (shown at 4 above).
- Preview samples - If you Left-click on .wav, .mp3 or .ogg files they will be played. After clicking in a folder you can use the up/down arrow
keys on your keyboard to step through the sounds in that directory.
- Locate a known file - Dropping a file onto the Browser will open the folder where that file is located. This can be useful when you have a sample channel loaded
and would like to try the others from the same folder.
- Left-click a folder to expand/collapse it.
- Right-click and select Windows shell menu to open the standard Windows file menu (Right-click) options.
- Hover the mouse over the name of a folder for a short description in the hint-bar. The folders seen by default in
the Browser window include:
- Channel presets - Contains a collection of instrument/effects presets, scores, etc.
- Projects - Contains a collection of sample projects (.flp files).
Adding your own folders
To make your own folders visible in the Browser, use the File Settings 'Browser extra search folders' list to add (up to 10 of) your own folders.
These folders appear in the Browser in green font.
NOTE: The 'extra search folders' and their sub-folders are searched for samples & sounds when loading projects, so it's generally not advised to set the root of any drive as a search folder since this
can make load-times for projects very long (while the whole drive is searched).
Current project (dynamic folder)
The Browser contains a special folder named Current project. The contents of this folder change dynamically to match the currently loaded project, when expanded it shows: A list of patterns that contain
automation events for any automated controls in the project. For more information, see the Current project page.
The Plugin Picker database contains a collection of plugin presets ready to be dragged and dropped on the FL Studio interface. This list is also accessible from the Plugin Picker
( Ctrl+F8) pop-up window. 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.
Each file in the Browser has a special icon located next to its name, indicating file type:
FL Studio project files
- FL Studio project file (*.flp) -
Right-click and select 'Open' (or click the mouse-wheel) to load the project in FL Studio. A loop file is the native project format of FL Studio. Each
file contains the data that belongs to your project, including patches and settings for all instruments, FX and channels, but does NOT include sample
data or DrumSynth/SimSynth presets. If you open a loop file that doesn't have the required samples or presets, FL Studio performs a search of the folder
from which the file was loaded, followed by the sample folder and all custom folders added to the Browser. If you want to skip this
search process, press and hold ESC when you see the loading icon in the Hint bar.
- Zipped loop file (*.zip) -
Left-click & drag onto the FL Studio desk-top or hint-bar to load the project. A zipped loop file is a save format that includes all the data of
the .flp file, plus all associated samples and SoundFont files. It is a standard .zip file containing an .flp. When opening a .zip file, FL Studio
uncompresses it and searches/opens the .flp file. Any samples included in the .flp are loaded automatically. A zipped file also allows you to archive an
important project and share it with collaborators, even if the project uses non-FL Studio samples.
Samples and Patches
Left-click the icon to preview sample and some presets (excluding SoundFonts). Right-click to send to the currently selected channel or new
Sampler, Granulizer or Fruity Slicer channel. Most Browser items can
be applied with a drag and drop action. For example to apply a channel preset to a channel, just drag and drop the preset on the appropriate channel settings button (see Step
Sequencer) or drop it directly on the Channel Settings window. You can drop the channel preset or sample below the last channel
to create new one.