Edit: Updated. Valid for Live 8 to 11.

Session View is great for getting down loop based ideas or when performing live. Arrangement View, on the other hand, is best used for the production of songs along a traditional musical timeline. It can be handy to start in Session View to come up with the initial idea for a new song. At a certain point you will want to get the parts into Arrangement View. Exporting the whole song only works from the Arrangement View. You can copy and paste all clips, but this can be tedious, especially the more clips and tracks you have. The good news is, you can also record from Session into Arrangement View.

  1. To toggle between the two views, use the Tab key on your computer keyboard or click on the button for the respective view in the top right corner of Live.
  2. To record from Session to Arrangement View the tracks don't need to be armed. In fact, they shouldn't be as otherwise you might accidentally overwrite what you had previously recorded into the clips.
  3. Turn on the Global Record button (up to Live 8)/Arrangement Record button (from Live 9).
  4. Make sure you're in Session View. Now you can launch Clips and Scenes in the order you want them played in your song.
  5. Once you're done, hit the Spacebar. This will stop recording and playback.
  6. Use the Tab key to switch to Arrangement View which will now contain your recording. This includes:
    • the clips launched
    • changes of the mixer and the devices' controls which is called automation
    • tempo and time signature changes, if they are included in the names of launched scenes

To be able to listen to what you recorded in Arrangement View, you need to click on the Back-to-Arrangement button. Then hit the Spacebar for play.

Quick tip:

You can record further automations in the same way. From Live 9 on, first make sure that Automation Arm is turn on (the little 'handcuffs" icon on top) and if it's a MIDI track, also the MIDI Arrangement Overdub (the plus icon next to the Global Record/Arrangement Record). Turn on Global Record/Arrangement Record, hit Play and start tweaking parameters either with the mouse or even better with MIDI controllers. Only Clips and Scenes don't need to be launched anymore, unless you want to make changes there as well.

Commments of any sort are welcome. Do you have any further questions? Requests for a tutorial on something you struggle with in Live? Or something to add? Let me know.

There are plenty more Ableton Live tutorials where this one came from.