Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Creating, Modifying & Sorting Playlists in iTunes Version 12

iTunes software is a great tool for organizing music, but like any tool, its greatness lies in a user's ability to customize it.  As new versions of software are deployed, items and controls are often moved to new locations which can make it challenging for users who are accustomed to an older version.  This post covers how to set the My Music default view, as well as how to create, modify, and sort playlists in iTunes version 12 on a computer or laptop.  NOTE:  Be sure to connect and sync iPhones and iPods after the changes have been made to update them if iTunes Wi-Fi Sync is not an option or is disabled.  This setting is available under Settings, General, iTunes Wi-Fi Sync.

Before creating or modifying playlists, it is often helpful to look through the existing library of music to develop a plan for organizing playlists.  The default view when iTunes opens is the My Music dashboard which can oftentimes be the easiest way to sort through existing music.  There are a few ways to modify the layout of the default My Music dashboard.

Changing the Default View
To change the view, click the button in the upper right corner that has either Songs, Albums, Artists, Composers, or Genres listed next to a drop down arrow, then select the preferred sort type.

The following 5 view types are available:
  1. Songs - displays all songs alphabetically.

  2. Albums - displays all albums alphabetically after recently added (if the recently added feature is enabled).

  3. Artists - displays all recently added albums broken down into recent periods of time.  To view all artists alphabetically click the "All Artists" option in the left pane.

  4. Composers - displays all composers alphabetically in the left pane and their corresponding songs in the middle pane.

  5. Genres - displays all genre types in the left pane and every song in that genre in the right pane. The right pane is listed alphabetically by album name.

Disabling the Recently Added Section

The Recently Added section of My Music displays in the default dashboard of Artists and Albums if it is enabled.  To disable the Recently Added section, simply uncheck the box in the drop down Sort menu that is available in the upper left corner.

Click on the "Playlists" tab next to My Music to:
  • Create playlists
  • View and modify existing playlists
  • Sort Playlists
  • Delete playlists
To Create a Playlist
  • To create a new playlist, go to File, New, and select "Playlist".

  • Type a name in the new playlist box.

  • Once the playlist has been named, click the "Edit Playlist" button in the right corner which will open the My Music dashboard.
  • Add songs, albums, artists, composers, or genres from the middle pane by dragging them under the playlist which is in edit mode in the right pane.

  • As items are added, the total number of songs and the play time is displayed at the bottom. 
  • When all items have been added, click the "Done" button.

To View and Modify Existing Playlists
To view all items in a playlist, click on the name of the playlist in the left pane.

To modify an existing playlist, click the name of the playlist in the left pane and click the "Edit Playlist" button.
  • To delete an item, click it to highlight it, then press the "Delete" button on the keyboard.
  • To add new items, drag them into the playlist.
  • Once all changes have been made, click the "Done" button to save the changes.
To Sort a Playlist
  • Click the name of the playlist to modify in the left pane and click the "Edit Playlist" button.
  • Click the "Sort by Existing Sort Type" button to choose how items are sorted.

  • The options are:  
    • Manual Order - allows songs to be ordered manually.  Click and hold a song to move it.  Once the song is in the desired location, release it.
    • Name - sorts by the name of all songs alphabetically.
    • Time - sorts songs by the length of each in ascending order.
    • Artist - sorts by the name of the artist alphabetically.  An artist with two names will be sorted by the first of the two names, for example Chris Isaak is sorted as a C, not an I.

    • Album - sorts by the name of the albums alphabetically.
    • Genre - sorts by the genre alphabetically.
    • Rating - sorts by the ratings given to each song in ascending order.
    • Love - sorts songs by whether or not the heart has been clicked for them, beginning with songs where the corresponding heart has not been clicked.
    • Plays - sorts songs by number of times they have been played in ascending order.
  • Once the playlist has been sorted as desired, click the "Done" button to save the changes.
To Delete a Playlist
Right-click on the name of the playlist and select "Delete" from the pop-up menu.  When prompted to be sure you want to delete the playlist, verify the name of the playlist is correct, then press the "Delete" button. 

Regardless of the type of music, managing the default view in My Music helps manage playlists.  Creating playlists allows music to be customized for each individual user, including sorting them using quick menus like artist, or manually moving songs into a specific order for greatest impact. The process of manipulating playlists changes over time with newer versions of the iTunes software.  However, knowing how to customize playlists and default views saves time and allows unique preferences to be set.

As always, customization is key!

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