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Patch Cords

Max objects are connected together using patch cords. There are three different types of patch cords — those used for Max objects, audio patch cords used for MSP objects, and Jitter patch cords. Each type of patch cord has a unique look.

In addition to straight point-to-point connections, Max patch cords can use a curved style. Both straight and curved patch cords can be segment to aid in the readability of a patch.

You can use the Max Preferences Window to set curved and segmented patch cords as your default setting when patching.

Patch cord connections you create as you patch will automatically be moved to the background layer of your Max patch when you lock it as an aid to readability.

In order to make patching easier, individual patch cords are highlighted when you hover over them with the mouse in an unlocked patch. Clicking on a highlighted patch cord will display green and red circular mark that mark the start and endpoints of the patch cord. You can click on those circles and drag to change the source or destination of a highlighted patch cord. In addition, you'll see a patch cord contextual menu button by right clicking on the patchcord. Bringing up the contextual menu you can use to perform several useful tasks.

Connecting Max objects

  • To connect two Max objects, click on the inlet or outlet of an object and drag to the outlet or inlet or of another. When you release the mouse, the patch cord connection will be created.
    If an object does not accept the kind of connection you are trying to make, the object’s inlet will not expand when you mouse over it.

Making multiple connections from a single Max object

  • Shift-click on an inlet of an object when completing a connection. When the patch cord you’re connecting appears, another patch cord will be created immediately for the next connection.

Selecting multiple patch cords

  • Option-click (Macintosh) or Alt-click (Windows) and drag over an area to select a patch cord or cords. They will be highlighted.

You may find it useful to use different colored patch cords to identify different parts of your patch.

Changing the color of a patchcord

  • Click on a patchcord to select it. To select multiple patch cords, option-click and drag (Macintosh) or control-click and drag (Windows).
  • Choose Colors... from the Contextual menu by right clicking on the patchcord to show the Color Picker.
  • Select the color you wish to use or enter the color values. The color of the patchcord(s) will change to match your selection.

Segmented Patch Cords

By default, you can draw a straight- or curved-line patch cord when connecting objects together. The type of patch cord depends on the kind of Max objects being connected (Max, MSP, or Jitter).

Max also lets you draw segmented patch cords — connections that have joints or corners. You can have both kinds of patch cords in the same patch, and convert one kind of patch cord to another. Macintosh or Control-clicking anywhere on Windows.

Although segmented patch cords redraw a little more slowly when selected or deselected, a segmented patch cord functions exactly like a straight one—it doesn’t take up any additional memory when a patch is loaded, or have any effect on the order in which messages are sent from and received by objects in a patch.

Creating segmented patch cords

  • Choose Segmented Patch Cords from the Options menu. The menu item will be checked. Click on the outlet of an object, click at each point where you want the patch cord to bend, and then click on the inlet of the other object. The adjust the shape of a segmented patch cord, click on a segment so select it and click and drag the segment with the mouse.
    You can make your patch look neater by aligning patch cord connections, too

Correcting a segmented patch cord while you draw

  • Option-click (Macintosh) or Alt-click (Windows) to erase the most recent patch cord line segment. To remove a patch cord completely, command-click (Macintosh) or control-click (Windows) anywhere in the Patcher window.

Drawing a single segmented patch cord

  • If the Segmented Patch Cords option is not checked in the Options menu, hold the Shift key down when clicking on an outlet. The next patch cord you draw will be segmented.

Drawing a single straight patch cord

  • If the Segmented Patch Cords option is checked in the Options menu, hold the Shift key down when clicking on an outlet. The next patch cord you draw will be straight.

Disabling segmented patch cords for a connection (when Segmented Patch Cords are enabled)

  • Shift-click on an outlet before you begin drawing your patch cord. The next connection you make from this outlet will use an unsegmented patch cord.

Disabling patch cord auto-connection

  • Hold down the control key if you are making a segmented patch cord and want to make a corner over an object. The normal auto-connection feature will be disabled.

Getting rid of a segmented patch cord connection you’re making

  • Command-click (Macintosh) or Control-click (Windows) while making a segmented patch cord. The patch cord you are working with will be removed.

Getting rid of a segmented patch cord segment you’re making

  • Option-click (Macintosh) or Alt-click (Windows) while making a segmented patch cord. The last segment will be removed

Adding patch cord segments and aligning connections

  • Control-click (Macintosh) or right-click (Windows) on any patch cord in an unlocked Patcher window in Patcher or Presentation mode. When the patch cord contextual menu appears, choose Align from the menu. If the patch cord is straight, it will be replaced by a segmented patch cord. Max will also try to align patch cord connections so that patch cords don't overlap Max objects.

Hiding patch cords in Patcher mode

While the Presentation Mode of Max is ideal for creating user interfaces for your patch, it’s sometimes simpler to merely hide certain objects and patch cords in your patch whenever the patch is locked mode.

Hiding and revealing patch cords in Patcher mode

  • Option-click (Macintosh) or Alt-click (Macintosh) and drag to select the patch cords you want to hide or reveal and choose Hide on Lock from the Object menu. Any selected patch cords or objects will be invisible when the Patcher window is locked.
    To reveal patch cords that are currently hidden on lock, select the patch cords and choose Show on Lock from the Object menu. Any selected patch cords will once again be visible when the Patcher window is locked.

See Also

Name Description
Organizing Your Patch Organizing Your Patch
Max Basics Max Basics