Applying effects when no audio is selected

Hi all, I love Audacity and have been using it for years. There’s a minor usability issue that’s always bugged me, as it’s a mistake I still make somewhat regularly even after years of use. When applying effects on an entire file (for instance loading a WAV and applying some VST or echo on top), you first have to select the whole waveform. if no portion of the waveform is selected, a popup appears saying “No Audio Selected”.

In my opinion, if no audio is selected, it’s pretty clear that the user’s intention is to apply the effect to the whole waveform / file.
Admittedly this gets more complicated in the case of projects with multiple waveforms and/or multiple channels of waveforms, but I think it’s safe to assume there’s a very frequent (maybe even majority?) simple use case of editing a single audio file in the editor where the intent can be safely inferred, rather than throwing an error.

Do people agree with this? Does anyone else run into this problem?


Maybe, but if they’ve imported a new track into an existing project, perhaps it’s more likely that they want to apply the effect to the new track. A sillier example of the old behaviour is that pressing “Del” with no selection deleted everything (unlikely to be what was actually intended).

Yes, I agree that the “I meant apply it to everything” is more likely in the case of single track projects, so it’s nice that Audacity provides a preference setting:
“Edit menu > Preference > Tracks Behaviours > Select all audio, if selection required”