General preferences

General preferences control basic settings in Motion.

Motion Preferences window showing General pane


  • At Startup: A pop-up menu that sets one of two default behaviors when Motion is launched:

    • Create New Project: Opens a new empty project. If a default preset has not been chosen, the Project Browser appears at startup.

    • Open Last Project: Opens the saved project from the previous session.


  • Drop Menu Delay: A slider that sets how long you must wait before the drop menu appears when dragging to the Timeline, Layers list, or Canvas. The drop menu provides additional choices for editing and importing objects into the project.

  • Show Tooltips: A checkbox that, when selected, turns tooltips on and off across the application. Tooltips provide explanatory information such as names and basic usage techniques. They appear when you pause the pointer over tools and controls.

File Browser & Library

  • Display Folders: A pop-up menu that sets how folders appear in the File Browser and Library. Menu items include the following:

    • Alphabetically in List: Lists folders alphabetically.

    • Last in List: Groups the folders together at the end of the list after all nonfolder items.

  • Photo Application: A pop-up menu that sets the photo application, such as Photo Booth or Aperture, that appears in the Photos category of the Motion Library.

  • Show preview icons: A checkbox that, when selected, turns preview icons on and off in the File Browser and Library. For example, when looking at replicators in the Library with the “Show preview icons” checkbox selected, thumbnails of the replicators are shown.

    Preview icons in the Library file stack

    When the checkbox is deselected, the generic icon for each item type is displayed.

  • Play items automatically on a single click: A checkbox that controls whether the preview area plays the contents of the item selected in the file stack.


  • Automatically manage unused media: A checkbox that, when selected, has Motion remove unused media from the Media list when you delete that media from the Canvas, Layers list, or Timeline. If you want to retain (in the Media list) a copy of media that’s no longer used in your project, deselect this checkbox.