Production, Workflow

A Simple Trick for Importing Samples into GarageBand

Written By : Andrew Siemon

When you get used to using a particular software, you come across little tips and tricks that are more handy than others. The one that comes to mind has to do with quickly importing samples from any folder or directory.

To quickly import files or samples into GarageBand, use the keyboard shortcut (Cmd + Shift + i). This will bring up your folders and allow you to quickly import any file into your workspace. It’s best to use WAVE files as they’re the most versatile.

How to Quickly Import Samples Into GarageBand

The reason this command is so useful has to do with the nature of the macOS operating system. I find I often have to move the entire GarageBand interface in order to access a file.

I’ll move GarageBand, then drag the file into the workspace. But this can be tedious, and sometimes the software will actually move to my third monitor by accident which is very annoying.

This keyboard shortcut is a way to improve the workflow and avoid some of the more aggravating problems you run into on a daily basis.

1) Open an Audio Track in GarageBand (Cmd + Option + A)

1) Open an Audio Track in GarageBand (Cmd + Option + A)
The first thing you want to do is to create an audio track just like this.

If you try and use the command without opening an audio track first, you’ll get an error prompt first telling you that you don’t have the proper track type.

If you only have either a Drummer or Software Instrument track, it simply won’t work. An audio track is a must.

2) Know Where Your Sample or File is Located

2) Know Where Your Sample or File is Located
Of course, the next thing you want to do is actually know where your sample is.

Personally, I prefer to have my samples on my desktop. The reason is they’re just much easier to find this way.

3) Use the Shortcut (Cmd + Shift + i)

3) Use the Shortcut (Cmd + Shift + i)
The keyboard shortcut will bring up all of your folders.

You can also go into any of your other directories from here, whether it’s your “Documents” folder or your “Desktop.”

You can go anywhere you’d like without having to move the GarageBand interface.

4) Select Your File and Click “Open”

4) Select Your File and Click Open
Click on your file folder like this and then choose the “Open” button.

GarageBand will begin the importation process.

4) B) Select Your File and Click Open
And once it’s done, it’ll appear as the Blue audio file like normal.

And that’s it for quickly importing samples. It’s a simple trick that’ll save you a lot of headache if you’re regularly importing samples into your DAW.

It’s especially useful for someone like me who is constantly importing video files for YouTube and other platforms as well as samples for practice sessions.

Do you have any questions about this process? Let me know what you think in the comment section below. If you have any tips you’d like to share, feel free to do so.

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Andrew Siemon is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to all things music, including music production, music theory, recording, and how to use the most popular DAWs. Starting out as a metal guitarist, Andrew has since moved into other areas of music production including hip-hop and fusion

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