Get Started with Max

    First thing: Download the latest version of Max, if you haven't already.

    The Main Ideas

    Program visually

    Create custom applications by connecting objects together instead of writing lines of code.

    Build anything

    From audio and video synthesis to interactive media installations and robotics control. The sky's the limit!

    Integrate hardware

    Add more physicality and control to your projects by connecting almost any external device.


    Swipe through the slides to learn some basic terms you will come across when learning Max.


    This refers to the programs that you create in Max. You create Max patches and you patch in Max. This is what a simple one looks like.


    A patch can either be locked or unlocked. You unlock a patch to edit it and you lock a patch to perform with it and adjust UI objects.


    A window (Window > Max Console) that displays status information, error messages, and warnings related to your patch.

    Patch Cord

    Patch cords are what you use to connect objects in Max. Information is passed from one object to another using a patch cord.


    Objects are the building blocks of a patch – they perform specific tasks, and operate like miniature programs within the larger environment. Here is a print object.


    Many objects have attributes, which are settings or properties that tell the object how to do its job. In this case, @popup is an attribute of the print object.


    Max patches function by passing messages between objects. Messages tell objects what to do. When you press this message box, it tells the "print" object to print "hello maxers!" to the console and the popup.


    Bang is a type of message that tells the receiving object to do whatever it is designed to do. This button sends a bang, telling the print object to "Go!" Once pressed, it prints "bang" into the console and shows a popup.

    Try it out in Max!

    The code you see here is a Copy-Compressed code for Max. It makes it easy to share patches with other users.

    • Copy the full code
    • Open a new patcher window in Max (File > New Patcher)
    • Paste it directly into the patcher window
    ----------begin_max5_patcher---------- 357.3ocmSEraCBCC8L7UjkyrJBih51o8eLMUEnVsoBRhRBcLU0+8k3.scaLs sdIH+hse44m4XZBsVM.VJ4IxKjjjioIIHT.HYLNg1wGZZ4VLMZGXs7s.MKdm CFbH9NnsUQ7oBF6cS2J66DxVvgkVLBp4tlcB410FnwEolUtbQdFgUTE9rJOb VTrHm75kFo5cSchMhFgbuqgXanzyEH1fuJU896YKoArSoogir+nNq6cNkbVg v9Ygrp5JcTTNc9e0QMWtcds7.8L4FdG3.yZPxqawJyuAcJg27M9a1o1HjNxy ZktWSX21XnnrH74Q1uXm4ynS10dFVGsUH+5pJRc.+yBzp5MMSyxowF4B8a.q SH4Ng2fuJIVLoYGh+YlVdaLEkHWqO3++YLajDuasWYBgqxvPgLFhSMpANHlx uBQ3Fua37VQuAeXzgpRZrT0FvH6En4kFjmmRbSP5WkrZdTI3BS5ozOvtjfe. -----------end_max5_patcher-----------

    In-App Help Menu

    Inside the Max application, the Help Menu is one of the best places to get started. Work with real patches by learning from guided lessons, or simply start exploring and manipulating objects on your own.

    If you want to dig in, here's a more detailed guide about our Tutorials and Reference Pages.

    Navigate to Help > Browse Lessons to launch step-by-step patch-alongs with easy to follow videos.

    Help > Reference will open up the Documentation browser where you can find tutorials and guides for more detailed explanations.

    Or, navigate to Help > Examples to take a look at fully functional patches. Edit any patch, or take them apart to make them your own. Copy and paste from any patch into yours.

    Online Tutorials

    These beginner tutorials and resources are to get you patching as quickly as possible. Vizzie and BEAP are pre-built modules in Max that allow you to play around with the patching environment right away.

    Are you ready for something deeper? Check out these tutorials to dig in a bit more.

    Search Sidebar

    When in doubt, Max 8 features a powerful Search Sidebar to help you access thousands of resources in Max and online.

    Find it by clicking on the search icon found at the top right hand side of the patcher window.

    More Resources

    Instructables: Intro to MaxMSP

    with Amanda Ghassaei

    This is a great and fun introduction to what Max/MSP can be used for. Check out handfuls of awesome demos that use Max, and then immedately get started on your first Max patch.

    Youtube Series: Max 8 Tutorials

    with dearjohnreed

    Learn the ins and outs of Max 8 with this extensive video series.

    20 Objects: A Pragmatic Method for Learning Max/MSP/Jitter and Max for Live

    with Darwin Grosse

    A big portion of learning Max is learning the vocabulary. Here's a great introduction to the most commonly used Max objects.

    Kadenze Online Course: "Programming Max: Structuring Interactive Software for Digital Arts"

    with Matthew Wright

    Learn key concepts that drive Max programming through theory and principles.

    Max Cookbook

    with Christopher Dobrian

    A collection of examples originally written for use by students of computer music and interactive media arts and made to demonstrate basic programming techniques and/or solutions for specific problems.

    Getting Started with Max

    with Music Hackspace

    Get started learning interactive music and video with Max anytime on demand, presented by instructor Phelan Kane.