FL Studio is a powerful and versatile digital audio workstation (DAW) that is used by many professional music producers, primarily for electronic music composition. Well known producers that use FL Studio include DeadMau5, Martin Garix, Avicii, Cardiak, Madeon and many others.
Among its many features, FL Studio offers seamless integration with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technology, so you can record from MIDI instruments, import MIDI files and export to MIDI.
You can also export an entire FL Studio project as a MIDI file, or an individual pattern as to MIDI, so you can share ideas and import your project to other DAWs and notation software.
In this guide, we will explore the processes of importing MIDI into FL Studio and exporting MIDI out of FL Studio.
How do I export a pattern as MIDI data from FL Studio?
The first place we will start is with the process of exporting an individual pattern.
- Open up the pattern and right-click on the instrument you want to export, then open up the Piano roll view (also known as the step sequencer). Right-click on the instrument and select ‘Piano Roll’. You can also press F7.
- Click the little down arrow in the top left of the Piano roll window. Now go to the “File” menu and select Export as MIDI file. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Ctrl + M on PC.
A “Save As” dialog box will appear, prompting you to choose the location to save the MIDI file. Navigate to the desired location, enter a name for the MIDI file, and click “Save.”
FL Studio will export the selected MIDI data into the MIDI file format and save it to the specified location.
Keep in mind that exporting MIDI data does not include any instrument sounds or audio recordings. It only contains the musical data (notes, velocities, durations, etc.) that can be used in other MIDI-compatible software or hardware.
Also note that this only exports the individual pattern, it does not export the entire song. Read on to read how to expor the entire project.
How do I export an entire project as a MIDI file in FL Studio
In this section, we will cover how to export the entire song as a MIDI file with multiple MIDI channels.
1. Take a backup of your project
You’ll need to make some drastic changes to your project for the MIDI information to be exported correctly, so I highly recommend saving a copy of your working project and doing the MIDI export from the copy.
2. Make sure drum tracks are consolidated on one channel
For the MIDI file to work correctly you’ll need to use a single drum track with a drum machine plugin such as the built-in FPC drum machine. By doing this you will be able to assign your drums to the default MIDI channel 10 and they will play correctly when imported into another DAW, MIDI file player or notation software using the General MIDI standard.
Also, the best practice is to have only one drum channel for MIDI, so you’ll need to consolidate all drums and percussion parts onto one track.
3. Convert all channels to MIDI channels
You now need to convert all channels to the correct format for MIDI. To do this go to the ‘Tools’ menu, select ‘Macros’ and then select Prepare for MIDI export.
This function converts all channel instruments to the ‘MIDI Out’ device which saves you having to do that manually one by one.
Note this process does not have an undo function, so your project won’t play now in FL Studio. Luckily you followed step 1 above and took a backup right?!
4. Adjust the MIDI channels and instruments
When you click OK in step 2, you’ll see a whole lot of MIDI Out windows appear – one for each instrument channel in your project.
You’ll need to select the appropriate MIDI instrument for each channel, otherwise, everything defaults to the ‘Acoustic Grand Piano’ MIDI patch.
For a ‘synth bass’ sound for example, I would select likely select MIDI patch 39 or 40.
For a pad or strings sound, I’d assign that channel to a patch around 49-55 or 89-96.
5. Set the drum track output to channel 10
For Drum Tracks to work correctly in the General MIDI format, you’ll need to have set up a dedicated drum track in your project using a drum machine plugin such as FPC as explained in step 2. Then set the drum track output to channel 10. You don’t need to assign an instrument as channel 10 is automatically assigned to drums in the most software that uses the General MIDI format.
6. Select your output folder and export the file!
Now all this prep work is done, you’re ready to export the entire project as a MIDI file and make musical history!
- In the top-left corner of the FL Studio interface, click on the “File” menu.
- Choose “Export” and then “MIDI File…”:
- From the “File” menu, select “Export” and then click on “MIDI File…” in the submenu.
- A “Save As” dialog box will appear, allowing you to choose the location where you want to save the MIDI file and give it a name.
- Browse to the desired folder, enter the desired file name, and click “Save.”
- Configure the export options (I generally leave these as default)
- Click Start
- Navigate to the exported file and test
FL Studio will render and save the MIDI file to the specified location. The time it takes to complete the export depends on the complexity and length of your project. On a modern machine,
After the export is finished, navigate to the folder where you saved the MIDI file to find and use it as needed.
I like to do a quick test with a MIDI file player or another DAW to check everything has exported correctly. The reality is that sometimes weird things happen with the export and it doesn’t sound right, so you may need to tweak a few things.
I found Anvil Studio to be a useful basic MIDI tool that is easy to use and fast for checking how things sound.
How do I export score musical notation score from FL Studio?
You can export a pattern from within FL Studio as musical notation in PDF format. This could be useful if you are having a live musician perform a certain part on a recording.
To do this, open up the pattern you want to export in the Piano roll editor. Now click the dropdown arrow in the left of the Piano roll view, select ‘File’ then select ‘Export as score sheet’.
Once this is complete, your default PDF viewer on your computer should automatically open up with the newly generated notation score PDF file. If it doesn’t appear, you can try navigating to the location where you specified to save the exported score.
Read on for troubleshooting tips if the export score sheet is not working.
Why is the Export score sheet PDF function not working in FL Studio?
There is a known bug in FL Studio with the export to score function. On some computers, when you export a score sheet to PDF, nothing shows up in the save location. I also had the pleasure of this issue!
The solution that worked for me was to run FL Studio as administrator. To do this, right click on the FL Studio link in the start menu and click ‘Run as administrator’. This solved the problem for me and I was then able to export a pattern to a score in PDF format.
how to export piano roll fl studio
Why is my FL Studio MIDI export empty?
Why is FL Studio export as midi greyed out?
The most likely reason for the export as midi function being greyed out is if you are using the demo version of FL Studio.
If you have already purchased a license, make sure you have activated your edition of FL Studio. To do this go to the HELP menu and select ‘Unlock FL Studio’. You will then login with your ImageLine login details and can activate the full version of FL Studio.
Wondering how to import MIDI into FL Studio? Read the separate article on importing MIDI to FL Studio.
In this article we discussed how to export an individual pattern and a complete song as MIDI from FL Studio.
To export an individual pattern, simply open up the pattern in the piano roll editor and export directly from within this window.
To export an entire song as MIDI, you’ll need to convert all tracks to MIDI Out channels. Then assign the appropriate instrument patch to each channel. Once you’ve done this you can export the entire project out to a MIDI file using the Export function under the file menu.