Cool Things You Can Do In REAPER: Snapshots

Been a while since I posted my last Cool Things in REAPER. So here goes…

REAPER has an amazing library of extensions – SWS extensions – and one of the components is called “snapshots.” This little thing is amazingly flexible and uncanny easy to use.

You can create a snapshot of virtually any changes you’ve made. A snapshot can be configured to save changes to plugins, remixes, automation, etc. You can – w/o exiting the program – pop back and forth between snapshots. Try new things, compare. Name them however you want. Make notes about your changes.

Snapshots can be saved or recalled in whole or in part. I keep saving snapshots continuously (takes up no memory – it’s basically a text file with “instructions”) as I make changes. So, let’s say I make a ton of changes and then go back, say, 10 snapshots to compare an earlier mix, and I find I like my strings and guitars, the vocals better in my latest version – I made good choices – but dang if I don’t like my bass better from two days ago. 2-3 clicks and I can quick load just the bass from that snapshot, with its fx chain, routing and automation into my current session. Or I can save a snapshot of only my vocals, and keep that to load back to a later (or earlier) session.

Nice cuz it’s so fast and accurate. As I save a given snapshot, if I render it to a mp3, I include a 3-5 digit tag in the snapshot label that I also include in the mp3 filename, so they are matched.

Much quicker than loading projects for each version.

BUT I still use versions for when I add or delete tracks or clips. Snapshots won’t save that. But versioning will. And I label those versions with corresponding renders, as described above.

Slick, handy and easy-schmeezy.


There are so many cool things about Reaper. I’m only scratching the surface.

Another feature: I know I couldn’t do this in Sonar, but I’m not sure about other DAWS: In Reaper, just last night I had about 5 or 6 different full multi-track productions open in different Project Tabs at the same time. I can just switch between them easily - no glitching.

…other times Reaper frustrates me… Last night I accidentally clicked an inconspicuous tiny little icon in the corner of the screen and suddenly my Mixer docked in a ridiculous place and I couldn’t work out what had happened. I Googled around until I found this:

I had to chuckle, because the title really expressed the kind of frustration I was experiencing! I was very grateful to the person who posted it… Oh, and btw, the icon I had accidentally clicked on is infinitesimally small, with zero documentation (except the above).

… yah gotta take the bad with the good, I s’pose! :man_shrugging:


Yeah, great feature and I use that all the time. There’s no limit in REAPER as to how many projects you have open simultaneously. The limitation would only be in your computer, i.e., CPU and RAM.

I often have two or three projects open simultaneously, and sometimes four. I have had five open maybe a couple times, but only small projects.

I’m curious, Andrew, how much RAM and CPU power you have? And are you Mac or PC?

If I remember correctly, the biggest problem with snapshots is that they don’t save automation, which makes it almost useless for my purposes. Which is a huge shame, because it would be a great feature otherwise.


I’m on PC. My PC is not new. I don’t have the specs right in front of me, but from memory it is an i7 3.2Ghz processor with 16GB of Ram.

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That is kind of nice. This is one of the things I wished was different about Ableton. I don’t know if it’s changed in the latest version, but I remember wishing it was different in the other versions.

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IDK if it’s different on Mac vs PC, or maybe older iterations of snapshots were different, but snapshots does save automation in my projects. I’m MacOS.

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I was literally thinking about this yesterday. I tried using these maybe 5 years ago and had issues where it didn’t work as it should, but I am VERY keen to retry and relearn it.
In fact, this week and in my last two or three mixes, i have felt I have got 98% of the way there and then as I try to fix that last 2%, I seem to accidentally undo or create issues in parts that I had previously nailed. I would have loved to have gone back to EXACTLY how I had it without resorting to guessing by loading up auto saves.

@Tesgin, how did you learn how to use them? One of Kenny’s vids? Any good resources, please let us know.

Do you use (can’t recall the name) window templates etc. I have 4 different set ups assigned to F1-F4. One for recording, one for jamming, one for mixing and one for editing. They each have a different window layout and different items/buttons in the tool bar at the top pf the screen.
That way, if (and when) i hit funny little buttons that change things, I can hit any of those set keys and I’m back to where I was before.

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Screensets?.. er… no. I just like using the one screen all the time - tracks on the top half of the screen, mixer on the bottom half. Simples.

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Ah, I found it. It was send envelopes. It looks like it has been fixed since I last tried it.

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I need to test these out again, especially if it has been fixed since that was the problem I had as well from memory, around that time too. Kinda forgot about them since them.

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I really don’t understand why Reaper isn’t the standard DAW for everyone and everything.


Yup, should be compulsory in my opinion too! :grin:

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I’m so sorry! Somehow I missed this post, your question. Should have seen the notification but, oh well.

Did you ever figure this out? No, I dunno that I found any tutorials but I’d bet Kenny would have one on this.

I use snapshots ALL THE TIME. The interface is intuitive: just be mindful that if you use any of the options besides “Full Track Mix” (which will save or restore EVERYTHING), you need to remember to switch it back to “Full Track Mix” when you’re done, or you could really screw things up by only saving or restoring partial info, when you intended to restore everything. Or save everything.

So if you hit “Custom” instead of “Full Track Mix” it’ll save only the components you select. If you click “Filter on Recall,” it’ll restore only those components.

One cautionary note: Snapshots doesn’t play well with Undo! If you only undo one step or so that’d probably be fine, but if you undo several steps, it’ll also undo the snapshots you saved! Not just the settings, but the actual snapshot (that you named and saved) will disappear! It’s easy to mess things up that way.

Good tips there Tesgin. I’m about to revisit the snapshots function again this weekend, so I’ll keep those things in mind.

Feel free to PM me if you have any difficulty.

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Will do!