Zoom shortcuts - confusing and inconsistent

Hello everyone! I’m coming from a background of primarily using Sonar for the last 15+ years (formerly Cakewalk), and I’m trying to do something pretty common. I want the ability to zoom in to a selection, then quickly zoom back out. Specifically:

  • Zoom in to a selection (This seems to be Alt-S)
  • Zoom back out to where I was

More importantly is the ability to zoom out to show the full project. I manually copied the entirety of the keyboard shortcuts into a spreadsheet to make it quicker to reference (I couldn’t find any sort of printable PDF with all the shortcuts), and I can’t find the shortcut to “zoom out to show the whole project”.

Seems like this is something that everyone might want to do.

Am I missing something? I find it tedious to navigate a project with the limited zoom functions that I found. Maybe Cakewalk spoiled me…

This is what I found:

Zoom Full Shift-F
Zoom In H
Zoom In Tracks Ctrl-Down Arrow
Zoom In Vertically Shift-H
Zoom Out G
Zoom Out Tracks Ctrl-Up Arrow
Zoom Out Vertically Shift-G
Zoom to Event Shift-E
Zoom to Selection Alt-S
Zoom Tracks Exclusive Ctrl-Alt-Down Arrow

Where’s the zoom out to entire project? “Zoom Full” only seems to zoom out horizontally. I want vertical as well. I’m definitely seeing the differences between the DAW’s when it comes to navigation. I’m really trying to warm up to Cubase… help me out… :slight_smile:


  • Sean

Did you try zoom & zoom zap? I’m not in my studio so I can’t try it.

If not, it would be very simple to create a macro to fully zoom out horizontally and vertically. Warm up, by reading about macros.

Thanks for the tip! Zooming and navigating are a strange thing in Cubase still. I nailed the “G” and “H” keys. I guess I just need to adjust my workflow a bit. I’m surprised that for a product that’s been around for so long that the zoom and navigation still feel a little klunky. I mean, if I zoom in with “Alt-S” to a selection, I’d like to just “undo zoom” (lots of great software has this: Alt-Z!!). Instead, even if I “Shift-G” or Ctrl-Mousewheel (for horizontal), all the other tracks get compressed and shrunken in a very disproportionate way.

I’ll look into the macros. The middle-click pan is probably one of the nicer things I can speak to… :slight_smile:

You can definitely undo zoom. Check out the Zoom sub menu in the Edit menu. It’s all there. Just create a key command for what ever you like.

Also you can zoom tracks full or by how ever many rows you want for each track. Click the little triangle on the bottom right of the project window just above the vertical zoom control. These can also be converted to key commands. And as previously stated, you can create a simple macro to zoom full horizontally and also zoom full vertically.

Hi Sean,
Another long-time former Sonar/CW user here. Made the switch to Cubase (10.5+) about a year ago. Have invested more time than I want to think about learning Cubase. I feel your pain, as I had great difficulty at first in doing basic navigation and editing. Many functions in Cubase are best accessed by key command, and it soon became unmanageable for me to memorize them all. The solution for me was to implement a 3rd party touchscreen solution (Metagrid/iPad) to trigger the numerous key commands, functions, macros and logical editor presets I use on a daily basis. Couldn’t live without it.
I guess my point is this - if you’re hoping for an easy/fast transition, you’ll likely be disappointed. Based on my experience, a fairly steep learning curve awaits you. Only you can decide if it’s worth it. For me, it was. If you run into a real mystery, bounce back here, and I’ll try to help.

Awesome. :slight_smile:

I keep hitting weird roadblocks, the most recent being:

  • Can’t monitor the incoming track signal prior to recording unless the track is set to “monitor” (for a quick level check)
  • I’m forced to mess with the “MixConsole” to see all track plugins at a glance
  • All MIDI data isn’t recorded unless I make sure automation WRITE is enabled, even if the track is set to record
  • (Here’s this evenings kicker…) I mess up a take, want to rewind a little and pick up where I left off… AND I CAN’T HEAR MY PRIOR TAKE!!
  • Oh yeah… this BBS software is about as ancient as the core Cubase codebase. :slight_smile:
  • Oh yeah… and the BUSSING… oh dear god… the bussing. I got spoiled by the flexibility offered by SONAR. (I really wish I could keep all the real tracks separate from the busses like it’s done in SONAR…)

Nonetheless… I did want to share a little progress with the navigation/zoom problem.

  1. I found a macro that was included!.. that is “Zoom to project”. I was able to map it to “Control-Shift-F”. Woo! :sunglasses:
  2. I found a random video that explained that the “Zoom to selection” (Alt-S) can be “undone” by using the zoom tool (“6”) and double-clicking in empty space. Kinda klunky, but it works! (I still think “Alt-Z” would be nice, as they seem to internally keep track of zoom history) (Update: Thanks to another thread, it turns out there is an “Undo Zoom”! It’s even in the manual!! Looks like the Alt-Z is mapped to some undo MixConsole stuff, so I removed the shortcut for “color” and made “Alt-Shift-S” the shortcut for undo zoom. it works. :slight_smile:)
  3. Another way to undo the “Zoom to selection” I found by accident. After zooming in to a selection, do a “select all” (Control-A), followed by a Zoom to selection (Alt-S)… That seems to zoom back out to the prior view with everything in it’s proportions. (Then follow with a “Shift-Control-A” to deselect all, as everything will still be selected)

I think the real issue with Cubase is similar to the old Cakewalk/Sonar… the codebase is almost 20 years old and making big usability changes are super difficult, plus it would confuse the “old timers”.

Now… if only this silly phpBB software would actually shoot me an email when someone replies… Geesh… (I’m a developer, so little things like this really bug me… especially for one of the most expensive pieces of software that I’ve ever purchased!) (Steinberg: GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER! GREAT ARTISTS STEAL! TAKE SOME CLUES FROM SONAR!!)

Thanks again for the moral support. I feel a little emotionally cheated by this purchase. I only invested in Cubase since some of the big names are using it for serious work, and it seems to actually have some slick MIDI editing stuff. Other than that, I’m really not blown away like I was hoping.


  • Sean

Holy smokes! There IS an undo zoom menu item!!!
And I even found the manual page: https://steinberg.help/cubase_pro/v10.5/en/cubase_nuendo/topics/project_window/project_window_zoom_history_c.html?hl=undo%2Czoom

Mind… blown.
I spent a couple hours copying the keyboard shortcuts to a spreadsheet and I didn’t see this on the list. Guess they just didn’t feel it was a common use case.

Thank you!

The two points above in bold: should be solved if you go to Preferences>VST and select “Tape Machine Style” in the Auto Monitoring drop-down.

Second point: I assume you mean to see all plugins of all tracks? Then yes, you have to open the Mix Console. If it’s just for one channel, you have the inspector on the left.

Third point: All midi data is recorded; the additional things that are written when you have write enabled is automation. Maybe feels like an archaic distinction, but nevertheless. They could maybe have a preference to automatically enable write on midi tracks when record is enabled, but that might not be much used by most.

About bussing, how does it work differently in Sonar? Just curious. Been using Cubase more or less exclusively since 1994 so I don’t know much about other DAWs.

Re; roadblocks - yes, that’s exactly what it felt like to me. Cubase is SO different from Sonar in SO many ways. BUT, if you stick with it, you may find, like I have, that Cubase will allow you to do everything Sonar does, and more. There are some very powerful features lurking below the surface.
In the case of the buss issue, you’ve probably learned that a “Buss” is a “Group Track” in CB. The solution for separating the tracks and group tracks is found in the left Zone of the MixConsole. There is a “Zones” tab at the bottom of the Visibility Tab (yes - it’s confusing). The Zones tab has three dots which determine where your tracks/channels will appear. To mimic Sonar, put all your Group tracks/channels on the right side by clicking the rightmost dot, and your other tracks on the left. However, unlike Sonar, you could reverse the process or mix it up anyway you like. Yes, it’s clunky, but once you get the hang of it, no big deal. That’s the ‘charm’ of CB. See pg 362 of manual. (Manual is not my fave part of CB, btw.) HTH

@necromorbus,@rhenn - Thank you both! Helpful. (Of course this thread has turned into a SONAR vs. Cubase thing… as the zooming issue topic has been beaten to death a bit)

I even tried the tapemachine style, and couldn’t hear my previous take. I’ll try that again tonight. I wound up just using two tracks that I could bounce back and forth from between takes. I really hope the suggestion makes it so I don’t need to do that. Seems like such a hack.

Yeah… “group tracks”. Weird. I like the simplicity of just a “buss” that you can assign things to, and has one or more sends. Cleaner.

“Rightmost dot”. Nice. Didn’t know about that one. it’s the visual ‘separation’ that I like. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

“Charm”. Not there yet… but getting closer. :laughing:

@Rhenn: The “zones” visibility feature helped out a LOT… to visually help me separate the “main busses” from the tracks. You rock.


My first DAW was Cubase and I so much used to its navigation, that I couldn’t switch to another DAW.

Pan with middle click and G\H are pure-gold ideas.