Loading and playing patches in Unify should be as simple as clicking on the patch name in the patch browser. This page also covers how this might go wrong, and how to recover.
If you open the patch browser (see next section) and don't see any patches, one of three things may be wrong:
If you see some patches, but fewer than you expect, you almost certainly need to rebuild the patch database.
Unify's patch browser view lives in the sidebar extension on the right-hand side of the GUI, which may not always be visible. Click the browse button to open and close it:
The patch browser consists of two main sections:
In addition to these two main sections are three less-obvious things you need to know about:
When you first open the patch browser, the Chooser (bottom part) will show all patches on your system, which may run to many hundreds once you have more than a few libraries installed.
Starting in Unify v1.7, there is a “…” button to the right of the library-selector menu; see Using the Library Selector below.
Starting in Unify v1.8, there is a second “…” button to the right of the library-selector menu. Clicking this pops up a small menu which allows you to choose which fields (items) in the database are searched:
If you CTRL-click or right-click the “…” button, the ALL item changes to MULTI, indicating that you can select any combination of fields.
The controls in the Selector (top part of the sidebar) allow you to narrow down the set of patches in the Chooser, to help you find what you want quickly:
In Unify v1.8:
The icons at the top-left and top-right are as follows:
The various scrolling lists in the patch browser (not the pop-up menu of libraries) are multi-selection lists, i.e. you can select (highlight) one or more items, by using various modifier keys while clicking:
As of Unify v1.4, after loading a new Unify layer, if you decide you only need the first INST layer (very common for “unified” patch libraries having only one INST layer per patch), you can click on the layer's operations menu (concentric circles menu at right end of layer) and choose “Replace with embedded INST1”.
After you have loaded one patch by clicking on its name, you can advance to the next one by clicking on the downward-pointing chevron button beside the browse/init/revert/save buttons at the top of the GUI, or simply pressing the cursor-down key on your computer's keyboard. You can go back to the previous patch using the upward-pointing chevron button, or the cursor-up key.
You can toggle the “heart” icon beside any patch name (which indicates if that patch is marked as a favorite) by clicking directly on the icon. You can do this for any patch, not just the currently-loaded one. Once you have loaded a patch, you can quickly toggle its “heart” icon by pressing the F key on your computer keyboard.
As of Unify v1.7, a small “footer” may appear at the bottom of the Chooser area (depending on your settings; see Using the Settings view). This was revised somewhat in Unify v1.8, as shown:
The Count simply displays the number of patches currently listed in the Chooser.
The Patch-load options menu (labeled “Mode”) allows you to choose what happens when you left-click on the name of a patch in the Chooser OR the random-patch button (dice icon) in the Header. The options are:
Unify v1.7 added the ability to load an individual patch file (.unify or .upf file) from anywhere on your system, i.e., one which has not yet been added to your patch database. This is particularly useful for files shared on Dropbox in a YouTube livestream, or patch files shared by another user.
All you need to do is drag the .unify (or .upf) file into the layer-stack view. (If your system does not permit drag/drop operations, there's also a “Load Patch file…” button in the Settings view.) Unify will load the patch as though you had just created it yourself, starting from an INIT patch. It will NOT automatically add the patch to your patch database; if you want to do that, simply save the patch in the usual way.
Note random shared patch files might not load perfectly on your system, as they may require additional files such as samples. Unify's .guru files mechanism is a better method for sharing groups of related files or entire libraries. Unify will try to load the patch as best it can, and if you choose to save it, you may need to update some aspects, such as the library name, to match the library folders on your system.
You can then make any changes you like and save it to (typically) your User Library.
In versions of Unify before v1.5, it was all too easy to lose work by clicking on a patch in the Chooser. Unify v1.5 introduced two new Safety Features to help (click link for details).
If you load a new patch by accident, and need to get back what you were working on before, click the Revert button at the top right corner, to bring up a menu like this:
Click the first saved patch below the horizontal line (indicated by the purple outline above) to get back what you had before.
Starting with Unify v1.7, you will see a “…” button to the right of the library-selector menu:
Clicking the “…” button opens the new Library Subset view, which allows you to select a subset of the libraries on your system, rather than having to see all of them, in order to de-clutter the library-selector menu. Having defined a library subset, you can save it as a named Library-Subset Preset for later reuse.
The Library Subset view includes the following controls, listed from top to bottom:
The library list will scroll if necessary. It's a multi-selection list, like others in the Unify GUI, and works as follows:
If NO libraries are selected, then they are ALL effectively selected. Clicking the All Libs button will de-select all list items and return to this condition. If ANY libraries are selected, the set of selected libraries defines the current libraries preset.
If you select one or more libraries, the current preset name will change to “Unsaved Library Subset”, indicating that you have changed the current subset, but haven't yet saved this subset as a preset. This unsaved subset is entirely usable; if you click the Close button, the first item in the main library-selector menu will change to “All: Unsaved Library Subset”, and when you click it, you will see that this is followed by only the libraries you selected, like this:
(In this case, exactly four libraries had been selected.) Note that clicking the Reset button at the top of the patch browser will now revert to showing only the libraries in the current preset. If you want to go back to seeing ALL libraries, click the “…” button, then the “All Libraries” button, then “Close”.
Having defined a subset, you can save it as a named preset by clicking the Save… button.
.txtfile) in the Presets/Library Subsets sub-folder inside the main Unify data folder.
Once you have saved your preset, its name will be displayed above the row of three buttons, and will also be shown instead of “Unsaved Library Subset” when you click Close to return to the main view.
Unify will remember the last library preset you saved/loaded, and will automatically load that the next time you run it. Remember, to revert to all libraries: Click “…”, then “All Libraries”, then “Close”.
To re-load one of your saved library-subset presets, click the Load button. This will pop up a menu of all ''.txt' files under the Presets/Library Subsets folder, with sub-menus for any sub-folders you may have created, like this:
To load a preset, roll your mouse until the preset you want is highlighted, and then release the mouse button. The current preset name will be updated, and of course also the libraries menu in the main view.
All the controls in the Patch Selector make use of Unify's patch database, which is basically an index to all the patches on your system.
Unify can only work with patch files (types .upf, .unify) in sub-folders of the main Libraries folder (i.e., the Libraries folder inside whatever folder you designated as the main Unify data folder; you can check the path to this in the Settings view).
Because scanning all these files repeatedly would be slow, Unify creates a list or index of them, which we call the “patch database”. The patch browser lists the entries in the database, not the actual files. Any time you create, delete, or move patch files outside of Unify, the patch database will no longer correspond to the files; that's why we have a “rebuild database” button.
When you click the rebuild database button, Unify scans all sub-folders of the main Libraries folder, looking for .upf and .unify files. It opens and reads every single one, to extract the “patch metadata” (patch name, library name, authors, tags, categories, comments, etc.), and puts all this into the database.
As of Unify v1.2.0, Unify can rebuild the patch database in either of two ways: Incremental and Full.
When you click the “lightning bolt” icon, Unify performs an incremental rebuild. It scans all folders under the main Libraries folder, looking for .upf or .unify files, and checks their “last modification” date/time against the database. If the file is newer, Unify will open it and update the database record. If it does not appear to have changed, it will ignore it and skip ahead. It will also add new records for any files which are not yet in the database, and delete records which no longer have an associated file.
This incremental rebuild method, which can be very quick if few or no files have changed, will be all you need in most cases. If you ever suspect that the database may have errors, you can perform a full rebuild by holding down the Option/Alt key while clicking the lightning bolt. Unify will perform the following steps:
As mentioned in the section above, each patch file's metadata includes the patch name and the library name. This makes each patch file entirely self-contained, but it can lead to some confusion. You would expect the patch name to match the file name, and the library name to match the name of the containing folder, but this is absolutely NOT required.
Based on these details, here are some specific tips for patch management: