Creating Song Playlists in iTunes 11

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Courtesy of Apple

What is a Playlist?

A playlist is a custom set of music tracks that are usually played in sequence. In iTunes these are made up from songs in your music library. In fact, the best way to think of them is your own custom music compilations.

You can make as many playlists as you want and give them any name you desire. It is sometimes useful to organize tracks into playlists to suit a particular musical style or mood. This tutorial will show you how to generate a playlist from a selection of songs that are already in your iTunes music library.

What if I Don't Have any Music in my iTunes Library?

If you are just starting out with the iTunes software, and haven't got any music in your iTunes library, then the quickest way to get started is probably to rip a few of your music CDs first. If you are going to import some music CDs, then it's also worth reading up about the dos and don'ts of CD copying and ripping to make sure you stay on the right side of the law.

iTunes 11 is an older version now. But, if you need to download and install it again then it's available from Apple's iTunes support website.

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Creating a New Playlist

New Playlist Option in iTunes 11
New playlist menu option (iTunes 11). Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to, Inc.
  1. Launch the iTunes software and accept any updates if prompted.
  2. Once iTunes is up and running, click on the file menu tab at the top of the screen and choose new playlist from the drop-down menu. For Mac, click File > New > Playlist.

Alternatively for step 2, you can achieve the same result by clicking the + sign at the bottom left-hand side of the screen.

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Naming Your Playlist

Creating a new playlist in iTunes 11
Typing in a name for an iTunes playlist. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to, Inc.

You will notice after you have selected the new playlist option in the previous step that a default name called, untitled playlist, appears.

However, you can easily change this by typing in a name for your playlist and then hitting Return / Enter on your keyboard.

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Adding Songs to Your Custom Playlist

Adding songs to an iTunes Playlist
Selecting songs to add to a playlist. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to, Inc.
  1. To add music tracks to your newly created playlist, you first need to click on the Music option. This is located in the left pane under the Library section. When you select this you should see a list appear of the songs in your iTunes music library.
  2. To add tracks, you can drag-and-drop each file from the main screen in turn to your new playlist.
  3. Alternatively, if you want to select multiple tracks to drag over, then hold down the CTRL key (Mac: Command key), and click on the songs you want to add. You can then release the CTRL / Command key and drag over the selected songs all at the same time.

While dragging files over using the two methods above, you will see a + sign appear by your mouse pointer. This indicates that you can drop them into your playlist.

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Checking And Playing Your New Playlist

Playing a Playlist in iTunes 11
Checking and playing your new playlist. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to, Inc.

To check that all the songs you want are in your playlist, it's a good idea to view its contents.

  1. Click on your new iTunes playlist (located in the left pane under the Playlists menu).
  2. You should now see a list of all the tracks you added in step 4.
  3. To test out your new playlist, simply click on the play button near the top of the screen to start listening.

Congratulations, you have just created your very own custom playlist! This will also be automatically synced next time you connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

For more tutorials on creating different types of playlists, be sure to read our Top 5 Ways to Use iTunes Playlists.