Searching networked hard drives for sound effects is easy in Pro Tools. Everything that you need is built in to Pro Tools. First, make sure the drive with the sound effects is mounted on your Pro Tools computer. Then, in Pro Tools, mouse to the menu “Windows” and click on “New Workspace”, or type option i (alt i in Windows). That will open a new window: the Workspace. The Workspace window shows all the drives that are mounted on your computer.
Next double-click on the drive that has the sound effects, and then double-click on the folder that contains all the sound effect files, or folders. Doing this will confine the search to only the sound effects folder. Your search will be much faster if you limit it to only those folders which have sound effects, rather than including other folders, which contain unrelated files. Pro Tools will search through whatever you have open in the Workspace Browser, so speed up the search by targeting the sound effects folders. Use the search box to find the sound you need. If the search box is not displayed, type Command f (find) to open it (Windows f on a Windows keyboard). Type in a word that is in the name of the sound effect.
You do not need to type the whole word to get good search results. For instance, if you are searching for explosion sounds, typing explo works just as well as typing the word “explosion”. Often you will find that the less you type, the better the results. For instance, if you type “huge explosion”, you will only get results that are called huge explosion. There might be other explosions that are huge, but do not have the word huge in the title. You would not get those sounds from this search.
Usually it is better to be more general in what you search for, as that will typically return more results. You can then decide what sound works from these results. However, if you do want to search for sounds with two words separated by a space, you will need to enclose the two words in quotes. Otherwise Pro Tools will return results that include either, but not necessarily both, words.
Sounds can be auditioned (listened to) by clicking on the small speaker icon that appears after the name. If you decide that you want to add the sound to the session, click on the icon to the left of the name, or click on the name, and drag the sound to the session. You can drop it on an existing track, in the clip window, or onto the grey area below the tracks, in which case Pro Tools will create a new track for the sound.
This process will also work on folders of sound effects stored locally, or on drives attached to the Pro Tools computer.