Changes in recent versions

It never defaulted back to Selection tool from the Zoom tool (or from any other tool).

It is likely that the Zoom tool will be removed in the near future.


All effects require a selection.

If you want the “old ways” with auto-selection you can go to Tracks Behaviors preferences and check the option for “Select all audio, if selection required” to be “on”.

See: Tracks Behaviors Preferences - Audacity Manual


Great, thanks both, it’s interesting to see the reasoning behind some of these changes and great that they can be changed in preferences. I’ve done that now and I’ll give 3.1.3 another try.

I don’t know why you’d want to remove zoom though (unless the ability to zoom in with Ctrl would still be there), as it’s very useful. I sometimes zoom all the way down to single ‘blips’ of time or whatever they are, although in testing that just now in 3.1.3 I see you can no longer select with that level of detail as you could in 2.0.5, which is a shame).

Actually I’ve just realised the reason I couldn’t select individual samples was because I had the unit of time set to milliseconds instead of samples. Now that I’ve switched it to samples, I can select them individually at max zoom in 3.1.3 as in 2.0.5.

I always use the shortcut Ctrl + S to save my existing project.


I can’t comment on the behaviour of the zoom buttons as I always use “Ctrl + Mouse wheel” to zoom.
… Actually, not “always”, as I also use “Ctrl + F” (zoom to fit), and “Ctrl + E” (zoom to selection).

Hi Steve,

actually the user was posting about the Zoom tool in the Tools Toolbar and not, I believe if I read correctly, the zoom buttons in the Edit Toolbar.

I’ve never used the Zoom tool as I find switching in and out of a pain - plus it only seems useful for zooming in.

I always use the zoom buttons on the Edit toolbar and Ctrl+2 to get to normal zoom view.

Update: I’ve just read the Manual and I (embarrassingly) see that you can zoom out with the zoom tool:

"To zoom out, shift-click or click the right mouse button. "

But I still find it clunky to have to switch tools from Selection to Zoom and then back to Selection - and I hate trying to use the Multi-tool.

The Zoom button has indeed been removed from the Tools toolbar for 3.2.0


Looping issues:

I use looping in conjunction with tempo changes to learn complex guitar riffs from recorded songs. The new looping feature makes that process far too complicated. My preference would be to simply have a looped-play button alongside the normal play button - so the process would be select a section, change the tempo, and then hit the loop-play button. Now, every time I alter the selection, I have to remember to click another button (“set loop to selection”), and then hit play. If shorten or lengthen the selected section, the loop-selection doesn’t track those changes. Same is true I change the tempo again (on the same selected section) the loop-selection doesn’t track those changes (although the non-loop selection does) so I have to once again hit the “set loop to selection” button.

I realize my use of Audacity might be limited, but its hard to understand what benefit there is the new looping function.

I agree.

That was one of the common use cases that I had in mind when I wrote the code for the original way of looping in Audacity, but unfortunately it got “improved” to how it is now :frowning:

I agree. We have a person who reads/records Greek text, so I have a series of selections of English words which embrace a few Greek words (up to 100 Greek words in one case), where I need to loop and rehearse the pronunciation, tone, pitch, timing, stress etc until my voice matches the speakers, then I re-record from my memory and move on to the next chunk to loop.

I can make the 3.1.3 looping work, but it is an extra few steps that seem to complicate the process. Only a hurdle though; not an Obstacle.
What would I do without Audacity?
Cheers, Chris

Steve and ChrisGreaves - I actually regressed to 2.4.2 and am mostly happy again. There are a couple other oddities about 3.x that also slowed my work flow, and nothing really that improved it. I was glad to find the legacy versions still available; I worry that the Audacity team is “fixing” thing and over-engineering/thinking what is a very simple elegant tool.

Can someone please tell me another way to achieve isolated zoom without the now removed Zoom Tool? I edit music where maintaining strict timing and phrasing is very import. Using versions up to 3.1.3 I would find beginning and end points (e.g., measure, phrase) based on timing (e.g., specific beat), then select that segment. Next to find an appropriate location to make a cut or insert I’d use the Zoom Tool to zoom in on segments inside and outside the selected section without loosing my selection (e.g., go figure – artists sing across measure and phrase boundaries; keeping in or out a crescendo). Once an appropriate location is found, in the ‘Selection Toolbar’ I’d change the start location in the ‘Start and End of Selection’ that would merely shift my selection while keeping the exact length of my exact selection intact.

Under 3.2.1 I’ve tried Zoom In, scroll left/right, Zoom to Selection (Ctrl+E), repeat, repeat; using labels, etc. all of which are so time consuming that I’m considering reverting back to 3.1.3.

Any suggestions?

I generally use “Ctrl + Mouse Wheel”.
See also: Zooming Overview - Audacity Manual

Steve, thanks for your reply. While there are several ways to scroll, it is a much more repetitive process to scroll, then zoom in, zoom in, zoom in, oh, need to now scroll more since my area of interest wasn’t perfectly centered for zooming in, then repeat this time consuming process – versus using the Zoom Tool to select an area of interest and zoom in – no scrolling required! When a segment needs to be copied/cut/pasted into another location in the music (as is often the case), four (4) suitable copy/cut/paste points need to be located. I hope this gives you a better understanding why, in this case, how using the Zoom Tool (F4) is significantly faster and easier than iteratively scrolling and zooming in.

The need to scroll when zooming with the mouse wheel can usually be eliminated by positioning the mouse pointer:

  • When zooming in on a selection with “Ctrl + mouse wheel”, keep the mouse pointer inside the selection, and Audacity will keep the selection in view.
  • To zoom in on the edge of a selection, place the mouse pointer outside of the selection, on the side that you want to zoom in on.
  • If there isn’t a selected region, “Ctrl + Mouse wheel” will zoom centred on the mouse pointer position.

Steve, thanks again for your response. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear – I indicated in my initial post that I have a segment selected, then use the Zoom Tool. In my simplest Zoom Tool use case:
[1] make a selection
[2] use Zoom Tool (may need to use recursively) to locate copy/cut/paste point
[3] change the start location in the ‘Start and End of Selection’ to merely shift my selection intact
[4] tweak selection/reselect start and end points to sample-level resolution/selection

Of the numerous ways I’ve tried to accomplish this same case with Audacity 3.2.1, the simplest way I’ve found is outlined below. This new process will likely save me some time as I won’t have to ‘tweak’ (i.e., step [4] above) the selection point and will merely re-select exactly the same number of samples. Yes, I’m aware that I could have done this in previous Audacity versions.
[1] make a selection
[2] change the ‘Start and Length Selection’ toolbar to ‘samples’ units (I normally use ‘hh:mm:ss + milliseconds’)
[3] write down the number of samples (enables accurate selection length later)
[3] zoom and scroll as needed to locate and select copy/cut/paste point location – no need to maintain selection
[4] enter the previously recorded number of samples
[5] restore the ‘Start and Length Selection’ toolbar to ‘hh:mm:ss + milliseconds’ units

There’s often more than one way to accomplish the same thing.
What I would do, rather than writing down the number of samples, is to label the selection (“Ctrl + B”) Label Tracks - Audacity Manual

Labels can be moved while retaining the same size by dragging the horizontal bar, and it takes the time selection with it. (see also: Editing, resizing and moving Labels - Audacity Manual)

Steve, thanks for the suggestion. Yes, labels work – I’ve used region labels in the manner you described – I needed to also create a point label so I can then move the region label to it precisely. For a copy and replace operation I’d create a ‘replace start’ point label, then edit the label to make it a ‘replace’ region label with the same number of samples as the copy region. I just need to follow up with some label management when I have too many labels. Thanks again for your responses and suggestions. :slight_smile:

Top tip: you can stretch out your precisely placed point label into a region label.

Just grab ahold (carefully) of one of the chevrons with click and drag - taking care not to click&drag on the circle between the chevrons.

Note that it’s much harder (but no longer impossible - it used to be) to drag a region label back to being a point label.