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Customizing The Cakewalk Tools / Utilities Menu
Written by Scott R. Garrigus - © 2012, Scott R. Garrigus. All Rights Reserved.
Cakewalk SONAR allows you to launch other software applications using the Tools menu. [Ed. Note: In SONAR 8.5 or earlier, it's referred to as the Tools menu, but in SONAR X1 or later, it's referred to as the Utilities menu. For the remainder of this article, I will refer to it as the Tools menu.] For example, if you have an audio editor installed on your computer (such as Sony's Sound Forge), you will see it listed in the Tools menu. This lets you edit your audio data using another program without having to close down the Cakewalk software. But the Tools menu can also be used to launch any other type of software. Programs like Sound Forge are usually detected by your computer automatically, but for other programs like utilities, you have to add them manually. This is done with a little tweaking of the Windows Registry via the Registry Editor.

NOTE: You can't use the Registry Editor to make changes to the Registry unless you are running Windows under an Administrator user account. If you're using Windows XP, you can switch user accounts by clicking the Start button and choosing Log Off > Switch User. If you're using Windows Vista, 7, or a higher version... click the Start button, hover your mouse over the right-arrow button at the bottom of the menu and choose Switch User.

WARNING: Manipulating the Windows Registry can be a bit dangerous. Even small changes to the settings can cause your computer to crash, so please be very careful and follow these instructions very closely. I won’t be held responsible for any damage that may occur, so please take care.

The first thing to do is make a backup copy of your Windows registry. That way you can return it back to its previous state in case you have an accident. To make a backup, follow these steps:

1. If you're using Windows XP, click the Start button and choose Run. If you're using Windows Vista, 7, or a higher version, just click the Start button.
2. In the input field, type REGEDIT and press Enter on your PC keyboard to launch the Windows Registry Editor.
3. In the Registry Editor, choose the File > Export menu.
4. Type in a File Name for the Registry backup file. You can name it whatever you like.
5. Use the Save In menu at the top of the dialog box to choose a location on your hard drive for saving the file.
6. At the bottom of the dialog box, activate the All option. Then click the Save button to create a Registry backup file. Depending on the size of the Registry, this procedure could take a minute or so and Windows won't provide any kind of progress indication, so be patient and wait until the mouse turns back to an arrow inside the Registry window. You can then close the Registry Editor.

If you get into trouble and you need to restore the Registry, simply double-click the file you saved and Windows will automatically restore the Registry back to what it was when you saved the file.

Now lets add a new item to the Tools menu. To do so, follow these steps:

1. If you don't already have it open, launch the Registry Editor (as explained earlier).
2. In the left pane, click the plus sign next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE near the top of the list.
3. Click the plus sign next to Software.

NOTE: If you are using the 32-bit version of Cakewalk SONAR on a 64-bit version of Windows, click the plus sign next to Wow6432Node before moving on to the next step.

4. Click the plus sign next to Cakewalk Music Software.
5. Click the plus sign next to Tools Menu.
6. Right-click on Tools Menu and choose New > Key from the pop-up menus.
7. Type in the name of the program you want to add to the Tools menu. For this example, type in Volume Control. We'll add the Windows Mixer accessory to the menu so you can have easy access to your internal sound card volume adjustments.
8. Right-click Volume Control and choose New > String Value from the pop-up menus.
9. For the new value, type in ExePath.
10. Right-click ExePath and choose Modify from the pop-up menu to open the Edit String dialog box.
11. For Value Data, type in the file path for the program you want to add. In this case, type in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\SNDVOL.EXE for the Windows Mixer. Note that this is the sound applet for Windows Vista (32-bit). The location and name of the file may be different on other versions of Windows, but this is just an example.
12. Right-click Volume Control again and choose New > String Value. Type in MenuText for this new value.
13. Right-click MenuText, choose Modify, and type in the name for the program that you would like to appear in the Tools menu. In this case, type in &Volume Control. NOTE: the & is not a typo. What this does is add a keyboard shortcut for the letter V, so that you can launch the program via your keyboard rather than your mouse. Put the & symbol in front of the one letter you would like to use as a keyboard shortcut.
14. Right-click Volume Control again and choose New > String Value. Type in StatusBarText for this new value.
15. Right-click StatusBarText, choose Modify, and type in the text that you would like to appear in Cakewalk's status bar at the bottom of the screen when you go to select the program in the Tools menu. In this case, type in Run the Windows Mixer.
16. Right-click Volume Control one last time, and select New > String Value. Type in Type for this new value.
17. Right-click Type, choose Modify, and type in either WaveEditor (for any audio editing software like Sony Sound Forge) or Generic (for any other software application). Type in Generic for our example.
18. Choose File > Exit from the main menu to close the Registry Editor.

Now when you run Cakewalk SONAR, you will see a new entry in the Tools menu called Volume Control. If you choose this entry, the Windows Mixer will run. If you added an audio editor to the menu, you can select some audio data inside SONAR (or other Cakewalk software), choose the audio editor from the Tools menu and have SONAR automatically launch the editor with the audio data selection. You can then edit the audio, close the audio editor, and SONAR will automatically apply the changes to your project.

For more information: The Cakewalk Sonar Power! Book Series


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