How to Organize your VSTs in FL Studio
Organization is one of those tasks which takes time, effort, and planning before even getting started.
Think of it this way. You want to set your self up so you don’t ever have to go back and redo this again! (That would be the planning point in the first sentence.)
Okay, so how do we get organized with our VSTs in FL Studio, and what’s the best way to achieve this?
From my experience, I’ve changed over computers a couple times (whether that be a new computer, or a fresh install of Windows), as well as updated to new versions of FL Studio many times.
Through those processes, I’ve discovered some, “Ah man! I wish I would of known that before proceeding!” kind of situations.
So learn from my not-to-do’s, and get organized with your VSTs inside FL Studio for the long term.
The New Plugin Database Structure
I remember when first updating to FL Studio 12, it looked amazing! – But the folder structure really got me confused; it was a new approach.
However, once learned, the approach is simple, and actually allows you to structure your Generators and Effects in your own way. (Also automatically including a thumbnail image of the VST for you!)
The plugin database structure works like this. You have three folders given:
The effects and generator folders are where you want to organize your VSTs. In these folders you can add and delete files without worrying. Anything can be re-added quickly. (Think of these as temporary folders where you get organized.)
You can also create folders for further organization. For example, inside the Effects folder, create a Dynamics folder which would hold all types of compressors, limiters, and gates.
The installed folder, on the other hand, is where you do not want to delete anything! Anytime you install a new VST, it automatically gets added to this Installed folder. The installed folder is where you select your VSTs for your custom organization.
Here’s a quick run-down on each folder.
Effects – This is the folder where you store effects like reverbs, compressors, EQ’s, distortion plugins, modulation plugins etc. You can freely add to and delete from here without worrying.
Generators – This is the folder where you store instruments/synthesizers. VSTs such as Nexus 2, Sylenth1, Massive, etc. Again, you can freely add to and delete from here without worrying.
Installed – This is the folder where you select from, but do not delete. Think of the Installed folder as the MASTER holding place of all VSTs/effects. From here, you make a duplicate copy to store in your own folders for your custom organization.
Removing, New Folders, and Adding New VSTs
I’ll first start you off by saying you can create your own folders, just like FL Studio has already done for you inside of the effects + generators folders.
Try to plan this out by categorizing what types of effects and generators you have to make this organizing process a lot easier.
Here’s a screen shot of my current effects folder structure (As of March. 2016):
I’ll also let you be aware of how to prevent your organization from being overwritten/compiled if you update to a new version of FL Studio below. (But for a quick explanation – just create your own folder, then add your sub-folders inside of that. This will prevent FL Studio from touching your organization.)
So, that image of my effects folder is just to give you an idea of how you can categorize your own folders.
A really nice benefit of doing this is, first, yes, it’s organized! But second, once you right click to open up a new VST, you’ll see a nice organized list of your categories, which reveals your VSTs inside of them upon hovering your mouse on one of them.
Step One: Create New Folder
Now, I’m not going to tell you how to organize your folders without telling you how to prevent yourself from headaches.
Inside the effects folder, as well as inside the generators folder, create a new folder in each. Label it something like My Effects and My Generators.
The reason for this is when you update to a new version of FL Studio, and even if you organize your files and delete their VSTs with how they have organized them, upon update, their VSTs will be back and cluttering your workspace. (More on this in a bit.)
Now, inside your My Effects and My Generators respectively, create the categorized folders you’d like.
And here’s how to start saving your VSTs into these folders.
Adding New VSTs into FL Studio’s Plugin Database
First you’ll want to go to the Installed folder and open the VST you want to save. Let’s say a reverb plugin. So we’ll be working in the My Effects folder.
Inside My Effects, you’ll want to create a new folder. I couldn’t figure out how to create a new folder from the FL Studio browser, so I went my C:/ folder where FL Studio holds the Plugin Database folders.
C:\Program Files (x86)\Image-Line\FL Studio 12\Data\Patches\Plugin database\
Create a folder called Reverb inside of the My Effects folder.
Now, head back inside FL Studio, and you’ll see the Reverb folder. Click the Reverb folder so you have it selected. (This is important cause this determines where your VST will be saved. The Reverb folder in our case.)
Click the top left arrow of your VST, and select Add to plugin database (flag as favorite):
And you’ll see, that’s the awesome set up FL Studio has provided us users! Your VST is now saved in that folder, with a thumbnail!
Now, this will take you some time to get comfortable with, and there may be the odd VST which causes you some troubles. But do that for all your VSTs in the categories you want them to be in.
Removing VSTs from FL Studio’s Plugin Database
Remember – the Installed folder is not where you want to delete your VSTs from. But, inside the Effects and Generators, you can freely delete the VSTs. (You can always get them back from the Installed folder.)
Simply right click on the folder or VST in the effects/generators folders and delete them accordingly.
I strongly encourage you to create your own folder like mentioned above. If you update to a new version of FL Studio, you’re organization will be protected. All you’ll have to do is just delete all their folders, but you won’t have to worry, cause your organized VSTs are nested in your own folder 😉
Also, I am aware you can select options while installing FL Studio to not include their plugin database, but I feel this is a safe practice to prevent headaches for yourself.
And that’s the process of organizing your VSTs in FL Studio 12 with the new plugin database.
If you’ve somehow deleted your None files by accident. Here’s a quick fix:
If you end up deleting your None files, you won’t be able to delete your VSTs lol, so be careful. If you have managed to delete your none files, just follow the link above.