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The Option key in iTunes

By C. Steve | May 27, 2008

Many of you already know how to convert audio files from one format to another using Apple’s free iTunes software. What you may not know is how the Option key can free you from the tyranny of the iTunes Library folder.
The Advanced Tab in iTunes preferences.

For example, to convert a .WAV audition file for email, you have to copy the file to your iTunes Library, select it, then hit the Advanced menu to select “Convert Selection to xx,” where xx is the compressed format you chose in Preferences. iTunes stores the converted file in your iTunes Music folder, where you then have to go to fetch it. That’s a drag.

The Option key can eliminate that copying and fetching. You can pick any audio file on your hard drive, and choose any location to store the converted file. The process will still leave the file listed in your iTunes Library, but that’s simple enough to delete, and your iTunes Music folder will remain uncluttered.

The Advanced menu in iTunesHere’s the trick: FIRST, highlight any song in your Library to activate the menu system. Next, hold the Option key (Alt in Windows) and click the Advanced menu. You’ll see “Convert Selection to xx…” with ellipses (three dots, shown at left) indicating that iTunes wants you to pick an audio file to convert in the “Convert” dialog box (below right).

Choosing a file to convert in iTunesHold the Option key again as you click the Choose button in the “Convert” dialog. iTunes will ask you where you want to store the converted file by displaying a “Choose Conversion Destination” dialog box (below left). You don’t have to store the file in your iTunes Music folder — you can store it on the Desktop or anywhere else that’s convenient.

Choosing the destination for the converted file iTunes will still add the converted file name to your Library (not that audio, just the name). That name points to the converted file you’ve stored outside your iTunes Music folder. If you want it gone from your Library, just select it and press Delete.

Give it a try… I think you’ll find that it saves a lot of time. Hat tip to Macworld.

Topics: How-to, Tips | No Comments »

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