Ableton Live Tip: How to Automatically Arm Tracks for Recording


Hey what’s good fam! Here’s another workflow tip that I’ve been using for years, and also one that I’ve been asked about multiple times.

I wanted to show you how to use the Options.txt file in Live to add the functionality of auto-arming tracks when you select them.

The Options.txt file is pretty cool, it allows you to enable some “hidden” or “experimental” features in Live.  One thing to keep in mind about these options is that they can stop working at any time as they aren’t “officially” supported in Live.

Many of the options you can enable are useful for very specific situations and probably not something everyone would need. However, this one is something I thought many people could use and it’s one I’ve been using for many years.

You can either create the options.txt file yourself and drop it in the proper location, or you can download it below.

Download “Auto Arm Options.txt” – Downloaded 5995 times – 179.00 B

For reference I’ve included the proper file locations as well.

  • Windows: \Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Ableton\Live x.x.x\Preferences\
  • Mac OS: /Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Ableton/Live x.x.x/

You can learn more about the options.txt file on the Ableton site:

Let me know if you find this useful or if you have any questions!


  1. Thanks for the tip…the only disadvantage I see is if you are working in multiple “armed” tracks at a given time…I sometimes do this for spontaneity, bouncing from track-to-track if I am going to alter the sound or change settings (in an arpeggiator or step sequencer) and I would definitely want the track I bounced from to stay “armed”…I would think there should be a command you could use in the “options.txt” file that would allow this else, just continue to manually “arm” the tracks before starting.

  2. Thanks for watching fam! If you manually record arm multiple tracks then it will not automatically disable the tracks when you select other ones, so you could still work that way if you want.

    • I’m not sure, as i said, this isn’t an officially supported feature but I haven’t run into that issue personally. I can hit record in the transport bar and auto-arm still works for me.

  3. Great tip! One down fall I have is if I’m playing lead on my armed and highlighted track and I go to launch clips, say to bring in the drums it auto jumps to the track I played the clip from and arms that track instead of staying armed on my lead track now. Making me have to scroll the track button back to my lead track hopefully in time to keep playing. I’m mostly using this function as a way to arm audio tracks by scrolling because for some reason the novation launchkey when you use the scroll track button will only auto arm midi tracks but decides not to arm audio tracks. If you have a fix for either I’d be more than inclined to give it a try. Thanks for all your help!

    • No way around that as far as I know, since it isn’t really supported, the main thing it does it arm whatever track you go to automatically. You may be able to get around it by using the option to “arm multiple” in preferences.

      Another option that may work, if you are not recording on the lead track, is to set it’s monitor to “in” instead of auto. That way you will be able to hear it even when it isn’t armed, as long as you have your MIDI controller pointed to the proper channel for that track.

  4. Hey man. So, I have arm select working on a new live set, but when I go to my templates, it stops working. I’m really stumped on what’s going on with it. I’ve tried updating to the newest version of Live, have re-mapped all of my midi mappings and have re-done the remote script. Something happening here that I can’t track down. Any suggestions?

    • You should be able to remove it, or have a blank options.txt file, as long as it is the folder for the version of Live that you’re using (automatically copies to new versions in updates). But as explained this is an experimental feature so there really isn’t any support for it.

  5. Just for your information. In Ableton 11 it works by just clicking “c” for arming one track. When pushed once, then it starts working like described above without options.ini. When c is hit again, it will stop working. I was coincidentally clicking on c and was wondering why it stopped working.


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