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Creating and Managing Playlists

Playlists are very useful because you can choose the exact songs included in them and the order in which those songs will play. In this section, you learn how to create, manage, and use playlists.

Creating a Playlist

You can create a playlist in two ways. One is to create a playlist that is empty (meaning it doesn’t include any songs). The other is to choose songs and then create a playlist that includes those songs.

The place you start depends on what you have in mind. If you want to create a collection of songs but aren’t sure which specific songs you want to start with, create an empty playlist. If you know of at least some of the songs you are going to include, select them first and then create the playlist. Either way, creating a playlist is simple, and you’ll end up in the same place.

Creating an Empty Playlist

You can create an empty playlist from within iTunes by using any of the following techniques:

  • Selecting File, New, Playlist.
  • Pressing Ctrl+N (Windows) or cmd.jpg-N (Mac).
  • Clicking the Add button (the + located in the bottom-left corner of the iTunes window) and choose New Playlist.

Whichever method you use results in the Playlists pane opening; you see an empty playlist whose name is highlighted to show you that it is ready for you to edit. Type a name for the playlist and press Enter. The playlist is named and ready for your content to be added (see Figure 7.2). The song list is empty because you haven’t added any songs to the playlist yet. You learn how to do that a bit later in this chapter in the section, “Adding Songs to a Playlist.” If you are ready to add songs now, skip to that section; if not, click Done to close the playlist.

Figure 7.2

Figure 7.2. This brand new playlist is ready for songs to be added to it.

Creating a Playlist with Songs in It

If you know some of the songs you want to place in a new playlist, you can create the playlist so it includes those songs immediately. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Browse or search your music to find the songs you want to include in the new playlist. For example, you can browse for all the songs in a specific genre or search for music by a specific artist.
  2. Select the songs you want to place in the playlist.

  3. Choose File, New, Playlist from Selection. The Playlist pane appears and the new playlist opens. Its name is highlighted to indicate that you can edit it, and you see the songs you selected in the Content pane (see Figure 7.3).
    Figure 7.3

    Figure 7.3. This new playlist already has three songs in it.

    iTunes attempts to name the playlist by looking for a common denominator in the group of songs you selected. For example, if all the songs are from the same artist, that artist’s name becomes the playlist’s name. Similarly, if the songs are all from the same album, the playlist’s name is the artist’s and album’s names. Sometimes iTunes picks an appropriate name, and sometimes it doesn’t.

  4. While the playlist name is highlighted, edit the name as needed and then press Enter. The playlist is ready to listen to and for you to add more songs.
  5. You can leave the playlist open to add more songs to it (see the next section) or click Done to close it.

Adding Songs to a Playlist

Whether you created an empty playlist or one that already has some songs in it, the steps to add songs to a playlist are the same:

  1. Select Music on the Media menu.
  2. Click the Playlists tab.
  3. Click the playlist to which you want to add songs. You see its current content in the Content pane.
  4. Click Add To. The Playlist pane opens in the right side of the window and the current content is shown there. You see the playlist name at the top of the pane. The left pane contains the Music source, which you can use to find the songs you want to add to the playlist.

  5. Choose how you want to see your music by clicking one of the tabs, such as Songs or Artists.
  6. Browse or search the music so that songs you want to add to the playlist are shown in the Content pane.
  7. Select the tracks you want to add to the playlist by clicking them (remember the techniques to select multiple tracks at the same time).
  8. Drag the selected songs from the Content pane onto the playlist to which you want to add them. As you drag, you’ll see the songs you have selected in a “ghost” image attached to the pointer. When you are over the playlist, you see a blue line, which indicates where the songs will be placed when you drop them (see Figure 7.4). Move the songs up or down the playlist until this line is at the location where you want to place the songs.
    Figure 7.4

    Figure 7.4. To add songs to a playlist, drag them from the Content pane on the left onto the Playlist pane on the right.

  9. Repeat steps 5 through 8 until you have added all the songs you want to include in the playlist.

  10. Click Done. The Playlist pane closes and you see the playlist’s contents in the Content pane (see Figure 7.5). You can use the playlist in the ways you learn about later in this chapter; for example, click the Play button to hear the results of your work.

    Figure 7.5

    Figure 7.5. This playlist contains 11 songs that I think have excellent guitar work.

Removing Songs from a Playlist

If you decide you don’t want one or more songs included in a playlist, click the Playlists tab and select the playlist from which you want to remove songs. You see the playlist’s contents in the Content pane. Select the songs you want to remove in the playlist’s Content pane and press the Delete key. A warning prompt appears. Click Remove and the songs are deleted from the playlist. (If this dialog box annoys you, as it does me, check the Do not ask me again check box and you won’t ever have to see it again.)

Setting the Order in Which a Playlist’s Songs Play

The order in which a playlist’s songs play is determined by the order in which they appear in the Content pane. The first song will be the one at the top of the window, the second will be the next one down, and so on. (This assumes you aren’t using Shuffle.)

You can drag songs up on the list to make them play earlier or drag them down in the list to make them play later. Open the playlist and drag songs up or down the list to set the order in which they play. (If songs “bounce back” when you try to move them, click the first column heading in the pane so that the track numbers determine the sort order. This must be the case to be able to manually sort the order of the songs, which determines the order in which they play.)

You can also change the order in which songs will play by sorting the playlist by its columns. You do this by clicking the column title in the column by which you want the Content pane sorted.

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