How to Clean Up Your Logic Pro X Projects (Without Losing Your Shit)

Your Logic Pro X Projects Are a Mess!

You’ve just finished your masterpiece. It’s been bounced to a high resolution master, it’s been converted to MP3 or MP4, and you’ve released it to the world. Eventually, the musical high wears off, and you are left with a gigantic project file. It’s full of unused takes, bits and pieces of ideas, samples that didn’t make the cut, and tracks that don’t do anything. All of it is taking up precious disk space.

There are those (digital pack rats, essentially) that will tell you to throw the whole mess onto an external drive and forget about it. That’s one solution, but what happens in 5 years when you open the project and you are missing half the plugins and can’t make heads or tails of what you did?

Clean up your project now, while it’s fresh in your mind, and give your future self a break!

Where to Start?

I’d like to start this tutorial by saying you need to backup your project. Right now. Make a copy of it as it currently is. Do not perform these steps until you have a backup copy.

Now that you have your backup, open your project and look at your tracks. Give each track a useful name. Something like “Bass” or “First Guitar” is probably not descriptive enough, but it’s better than nothing. You should try to get in the habit doing this as you work on the project. If you do, all your audio files will be appropriately named, which makes sorting outtakes easier.

Any tracks that were used temporarily to hold a bounce or a reference track should be deleted. Any regions that didn’t make the cut should be deleted. You may also want to join all your regions (to prevent accidentally nudging them), bounce out each track as a stem, or bounce track groups down to one track. Keep pruning until the project is simple enough to navigate.

If you can’t decide wether a track stays or goes, keep it. But be sure to label the track “Outtake” or “Unused”.

Did you use any plugins? Now would be a good time to bounce any soft synths to file. The same goes for any tracks with 3rd party effects on them. Too many times I’ve opened a project only to find that I didn’t have the plugin anymore. Label these tracks with “Bounce”, “Wet” or some other tag that differentiates them.

Now sort your tracks. You can group things together by instrument, hide tracks (like the wet bounces), color code them, anything that will help you recall how the mix was set up in the future.

Once your tracks are sorted, zoom the view all the way out. I like to do this so I can see the whole piece at once and get a grasp of what I was doing when I next open it.

Now, lets consolidate the project. This will ensure that the project file contains a copy of all your imported samples and files. Now you can share it with a friend or open it up on another machine without complaints.

Make sure your project includes all your samples.

  1. Go to the “File” menu item.
  2. Go to the “Project Management” section and select “Consolidate…”
  3. Check all the boxes that apply and click “OK”.

Ditching the Leftovers

If you’ve completed the previous steps, you can probably just save the project and throw it on to a hard drive. But if you are like me, knowing a project is taking up 2-3 times as much space as it needs to drives you nuts.

Your project no doubt has many, many files that didn’t get used or only partially used. If you don’t want them any more, Logic has a great way to help. This removes all reference to the unused files from the project.

Clear out unused files from the Media Browser.

  1. Open the media browser and click the “Project” tab.
  2. Next, click the edit tab.
  3. Click “Select Unused”. This will select all the files that weren’t used in the project.
  4. Hit the delete key.

The last thing you’ll want to do is “clean up” the project. This physically deletes the unused files from the project. Do not perform this if you want to retain your unused files. Especially if you didn’t perform a back up like I suggested.

Delete all your unused files with the

  1. Go to the “File” menu item.
  2. Go to the “Project Management” section and select “Clean Up…”
  3. Check all the boxes that apply and click “OK”.

Your project is now free of any extraneous data and is ready for archiving. Save it one last time and put it somewhere safe. And make a back up. If your files aren’t in at least two places at once, they aren’t safe.

The next time you open your project, thank your past self for being so thoughtful!

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