Analyze Default?

I’m bringing up a new Mac under High Sierra 10.13.6. I installed Audacity 2.4.2.

Screen Shot 2020-07-06 at 9.46.44 AM.png
It defaults to no tools. Effects gives a long list of gray tools with four of them active.

Is this normal?


You should have these Tools by default: Tools Menu - Audacity Manual

Most Effects will be greyed out by default unless you enable the “Select all audio, if selection required:” option in Preferences
(Tracks Behaviors Preferences - Audacity Manual)
Effects that have “Real Time Preview” are not grayed out because for these effects you can add or modify a selection while the effect is open.

You should have these Tools by default:

Yes, that part works.

I misspoke. It defaults to no Analysers.

The goal was to add ACX Check before I knew what the work or show was. I wasn’t expecting a blank slate.


That image is correct when there is no selected audio and “Select all when none…” is not enabled in Preferences.
The “Select all when none…” has been off (not enabled) by default for the last few releases.

Just thinking about this.

I spend some considerable time making sure I have appropriate tools ready and in good order before I go out and get a job. The Audacity way is to get the job first and then hope to goodness the tools show up.

Also, it suggests that you should have a job already working before you go in there and mess with installing tools and possibly damaging something.

Further, I’ve been doing this for how long, and this is the first I’ve heard of that setting. I’m playing new user and I don’t think making a new user dive into preferences straight away is a good idea.

None of those tastes very good.


The Analyzers are there. They are greyed out because nothing has been selected to analyze. Same with the greyed-out effects.

Like when you want to make some text bold in a word processor, you “select, then act” - select the text, then do what it takes to make the text bold.

The “select all if none selected” was a bear-trap where a user could have nothing selected, hit the delete key, and delete all the contents of their project. Of course they could Undo, but some of them panic. So we decided to have the option OFF by default.

It was originally put there because of people complaining on the forum that they couldn’t apply any effects because they were all greyed out. It was a convenience for users who, for example, have one track in their project and wanted to Amplify it - they didn’t have to select the track first if that option was ON. Turns out that was a bad idea. Better to tell users that they need to select something before they can apply an effect, than telling them that accidentally hitting the delete key ruined their project.

Having the option OFF is safe for new users. I’m what you might call an “experienced” user, and that is one of the first options I would turn off when I was doing a virgin install of Audacity. I don’t want Audacity deciding for me what I wanted to act on.

– Bill

They’re all there and visible in the list. ACX-Check isn’t listed because you’ve not installed it yet. When you have installed and enabled it, it will appear in the list.

How do you intend to use any of the Effects or Analyze tools in a project with no audio tracks?