The Music Library Manager uses the intergalactic standard M3U format for playlist files. Thankfully, M3U is short for "Moving Picture Experts Group Audio Layer 3 Uniform Resource Locator". M3U files can be used by most music players, so when you export music files from the Playlist view, it will also create and export the M3U file to play the tracks in the correct order in your car, phone or MP3 player.
Playlist commands are on the context menu, which is shown by clicking the right-hand mouse button in the Playlist window.
Playlists are created simply by dragging single tracks, or multiple selected tracks from the upper Track view into the lower Playlist view, or by using the context menu's 'Add To Playlist' command, or by pressing the 'Insert' key to insert the selected tracks.
If a track is already in the playlist, it will ask if you want to add it again, with the usual "Yes / No / Cancel / I'd rather go down the pub" options.
Tip: You can select all tracks on an album in the Tracks view by pressing Ctrl+A, then press 'Insert' to add them to the playlist.
The playing order of tracks in the Playlist window can be modified using drag-and-drop. (This has nothing to do with dressing up in ladies clothing, but you can do that too, if it helps.) You can also use the context menu's "Move Up" and "Move Down" commands, or press the Ctrl+Up Arrow or Ctrl+Down Arrow shortcut key combinations to move all the selected tracks up or down one place.
Once you have created a playlist, it can be saved using the "Save Playlist" command (Ctrl+S). You can specify a file name and a destination directory.
Playlist files can be reloaded for playing or editing using the "Open Playlist" command (Ctrl+O).
The Track view's "Create Random Playlist" command can be used to create a new playlist by choosing files at random from those displayed in the Track view window. You can filter the Track view first to show only the tracks with a suitable genre, mood and rating before you create the random playlist.
The playlist window can also be used to hold a list of files for exporting to another drive, MP3 player, USB memory stick, mobile phone etc. by using the Export Tracks context menu command.
Use the context menu's "Play Playlist" command, or press F10. You can also select all files with Ctrl+A and drag-and-drop them onto the open music player, or just drag-and-drop one or more selected tracks. The "Play Selected Tracks" (F9) command can be used to play one or more tracks without playing the entire playlist.
While a playlist is playing, you can modify a track's Star rating, Style or Mood by using the playlist's 'Star Rating' (Ctrl+F1..Ctrl+F5) and Edit Track Details (F6) commands.
Once a playlist file (.m3u) has been created, you can drag-and-drop the file from Windows File Explorer directly onto the Music Player. Playlist files will also work with most other music player software, in your car via a USB memory stick, on your phone, or on your portable MP3 player - assuming have exported the music files to the same destination and relative paths have been used in the M3U file.
To play a playlist in a random order, use the context menu's "Randomize Order" command. This re-orders all the tracks in the playlist, and you can save it in the new order if you like it.
Use the Playlist's context menu's "Save" or "Save As..." commands to save your playlist to a ".m3u" file.
Tip: You should normally save the playlists in the music directory, or on the same drive as the music directory, so that the playlist file can contain "relative paths". If you save it on another drive it will contain "full paths" with a drive letter - and the drive letter may change if your files are on a removable drive, so the playlist may not work if you open it directly with the music player. If this happens, you can open it with the Music Library Manager and it will use the correct drive letter.
At first sight this may seem rather obscure and non-intuitive ;-) but you must use the context menu's "Open Playlist..." command to open a playlist file.
•The M3U file is a simple text file that contains only a list of relative path names for each music file. Open one with Notepad and take a look. Path names are always relative to the directory in which the M3U file resides. For example: ".\The Delegators\All Aboard\01_Be Good To Me_The Delegators.mp3", where '.' means the current directory, and '..' means up one directory. If the files are on another drive, then a full path will be used, which includes the drive letter, e.g. "F:\Exported Files\The Delegators\All Aboard\01_Be Good To Me_The Delegators.mp3". Full paths don't usually work on removable devices, see next note.
•If the playlist file is not saved on the same drive as the music files, then the playlist file will contain full paths which include the drive letter (e.g. 'D:\' ). If your music files are on a removable drive, it may be assigned a different drive letter when it is re-connected, and your music player will not be able to find the files. The solution is to open the playlist file using the Music Library Manager, which will assign the correct drive letters, and it can be played from there. If you save the playlist file on the same drive as the music directory it will use relative paths, and you will not have this problem.
•The M3U format used is not the "Extended M3U" format, it is the more sensible original format which contains only the relative path names of the music files.