Centering a selection around a cursor point

I don’t know if anyone has suggested anything like this, and it’s also kind of hard to describe, but I was working on a project tonight and realized that it would be really nice to be able to select a kind of “base point” within a selection, so that you could either paste from that base point, or use it to align the selection to a point on another track.

I had 2 tracks open, each containing audio clips of differing lengths and differing start/end times, and was trying to align two points within each of them.

It’s difficult to explain what I mean, and I’m no programmer, so there’s no way I would know how to code something like this, but maybe someone can understand what I mean and implement it into a new version. I think it would be a very useful feature, and I’m surprised it doesn’t already exist.

Or maybe there’s another way of doing it that I just haven’t thought of.

That kind of thing comes with a video editor. They have (In Point) and [O] (Out Point) keys and the ability to easily enter raw time data and offsets.

In your case go to the match point in the first clip and press I, go the the match point on the second clip and press I, then offset both In-Points by the distance to the clip that starts first. - 3 2 3 1 0 [enter] (back up the edit points three minutes, twenty three seconds, ten frames). Then go to the end of the longest clip and set one out point O. You only need one. The editor will figure out everything else. Press Edit.

This is the only way to get a sound effect to appear at the exact instant that the actor drops the wash basin in the middle of a scene.

In audacity, you can slide tracks around with respect to each other–earlier and later–and play the result. There have been interesting problems with having Audacity manage Magic Zero Time. Like what happens when one of the edit points goes to the left of zero…


Thanks for the tips, koz. Just curious, what video editor do you normally use?

I’ve never slid the audio tracks around in audacity, in the way you briefly described. From what you said, it sounds like it might be pretty straightforward if I knew how to do it, unless you just mean using the Align function… adding silence in the increments that you need in order to get two points to match up, things like that. That’s how I was going about it, and it was pretty convoluted. I couldn’t help but think there must be an easier way. But then again, like I said, I’m a novice.

Would you mind describing what you were talking about in a little more detail?


Audacity 1.3.x does this sort of thing much better than Audacity 1.2.6

Press the F5 key to switch to the “Time Shift Tool” (F1 key to go back to the normal “Selection” tool)
Click on some audio in a track and drag it left/right.
If you have multiple tracks, you will see that the edges of the audio clips will gently “snap” together when they are aligned.