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Using Cakewalk by Bandlab for beginners/Printable version

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Using Cakewalk by Bandlab for beginners

The current, editable version of this book is available in Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection, at

Permission is granted to copy, distribute, and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.


To install Cakewalk by Bandlab, also known as just "Cakewalk", go to the Cakewalk download page. Keep in mind that you will need to create a Bandlab account and download their desktop assistant, "Bandlab Assistant." It isn't too large and isn't a big problem, but if you don't want to download anything but Cakewalk, then just close the tab and go look at how much Ableton Live or maybe Reaper cost ($400 and $60, respectively. Cakewalk and Bandlab Assistant are free). If you're still here, then I assume that you're fine with downloading Bandlab Assistant.

You will need[edit | edit source]

  • An email address
  • A Bandlab account (you can use an existing account, or you can create one whilst downloading Bandlab Assistant)
  • 3 Gigabytes of free space on your disk
  • Windows 8.1, 10, 11 (64-bit ONLY for all of them). The system requirements website doesn't actually say you can use Windows 11, but it will probably work. Windows 7 used to be able to be used, but after Windows 11 came out, the website says only Windows 8.1 and up can be used.
  • A decent CPU. The website says you need an Intel Core i5, but I have a Core i3 and it works fine, though it's a little slow.

If you have all of the above, then you are ready to download Cakewalk!

Step 1: Bandlab Assistant and account[edit | edit source]

On the site linked above, click "Download." An exe file will download to your computer. It will probably be called "bandlab-assistant-windows-latest.exe." Double-click it to initiate download.

When it is finished downloading, you should see a welcome screen. It will prompt you to log in if have an account or create an account if you don't.

If you have an account:[edit | edit source]

Simply hit the big "Log In" button. It will take you to the Bandlab site to authenticate you. Go back to the Bandlab assistant and hit "log in" again. You can now go to step two.

If you don't have an account[edit | edit source]

Hit "sign up" and follow the on-screen instructions. You will be taken to the Bandlab site to create your account. Afterwards, follow the steps above in "if you have an account."

Step 2: Installing Cakewalk[edit | edit source]

Navigate to the "apps" tab in Bandlab Assistant. Click the download button for Cakewalk by Bandlab. Follow the on-screen instructions to download Cakewalk by Bandlab.

Hooray! You've now downloaded Cakewalk! You have a vast amount of fun and music ahead of you, and you only need to know some basic rules.

Basic Usage

Basic Usage

Cakewalk by Bandlab interface

Congrats! You have now downloaded Cakewalk! What are you going to create?

Starting up Cakewalk[edit | edit source]

Okay, first things first. You need to know how to start up Cakewalk!

By default, when you install Cakewalk, it will place an icon on your desktop. Click on that icon to start up Cakewalk. It is an orange icon with white rectangles on it (image not available due to copyright issues).

Starting a new project[edit | edit source]

What's the point of music software if you're not going to make music? Let's start a new project in Cakewalk.

Cakewalk by Bandlab start screen.
Cakewalk by Bandlab start screen.

After starting up Cakewalk, you will be taken to the start screen, which will look something like the picture on the right.

Make sure you are on the "New Project" tab, and then click "Empty Project". Cakewalk will create an empty project for you now!

Recording audio[edit | edit source]

Add track button
Add track button

After opening a new project, click on the add track button, which is marked by a plus sign (see "add track button" picture). A dialogue box will appear. Under the "audio" tab, select you preferred audio recording device in the drop-down list (including your computer's built-in mic) and hit create. Click the record enable button (see picture) to "arm" your track for recording. This means that when you hit the record button, the tracks armed for recoding will be the only ones recorded. Note you must hit record enable before recording. After arming your tracks, hit "R" on your computer keyboard OR press the big red record button a the top of the screen (see picture) to start recording. Now, sing your voice out! Have fun making your first Cakewalk project!

Using MIDI[edit | edit source]

New audio track. Click the highlighted arrows to expand the track.
The record enable button.
The record enable button. You must click this before recording.
The record button
The record button
Cakewalk track pane
The track pane

Click add track. When the dialogue box appears, select the "Instrument" tab, and press create. A big synth will show up. It looks very complicated, I know! You don't need to touch that right now, so just close that window. If you are lucky and have a midi keyboard, now would be a fantastic time to use it. To do so, just follow along with the "recording audio" instructions, but replace microphone and audio with midi keyboard and midi, respectively. If you don't have a midi keyboard, simply right-click on the midi track pane (see picture) and under "view", select "piano roll". Voila! Punch in the notes you want to play and they will play with a piano-ish sound.Installation · Local manual of style

Local manual of style

This is made using the Flat Structure. Please, do not change the Manual of Style.

Basic Usage · Authors and credits

Authors and credits

JacobofChess created the book and has done most of the work so far, though he would enjoy your help very much. If you've added substantial content to the book, add you name here!

Others who have greatly helped with the book:

Mbrickn has helped very much with formatting. Your help is appreciated!

Minorax has also helped with important things, like making chapter names correctly formatted. Thank youǃ

Local manual of style