Changing track background color (NO THEMES!)

Hello everybody!
I just joined this forum to say thank you. Audacity is a spectacular software which is nothing short of the various high-priced famous similar programs.
You are making an outstanding job for everyone.
My problem is: I’m visually impaired. This means I spend my time focusing on audio rather than video, go figure why!
In my PC I’m using a hi-contrast color scheme. You know, all black with white text, a bit '80s style.
I don’t need to install no theme whatsoever. Every program just follows the OS color scheme.
Audacity, though, does not.
I mean; it does change the windows and the menus but the tracks themselves remain white or sort of, instead of turning black.
Now, is there a way to help the people like me without having to install a theme? I mean, I can even edit the textfiles and codes if you tell me what to do!

Your help would be extremely well welcomed.
Thank you very much in advance!

Me again.
I would like to specify that I DON’T want YOU to make Audacity this way, at all.
I’im only humbly asking you how could I do it myself to make it look similar to the attached image.

I appreciate your kindness.
Thank you very much indeed.

If you are willing to be a beta tester (that is kind of like a canary in a coal mine) you are welcome to try this version which I am in the process of customizing:
after you unzip it into an otherwise empty folder you will have five wxWidgets libraries, a new folder called “Languages”, and a new executable called something along the lines of:
Audacity_AudioPlus 2.0 Alpha3.exe
the only thing missing here from a complete installation is the “plug-ins” folder which you should copy into this folder from your current Audacity folder (wherever Audacity.exe currently exists).
This next is probably important – in the new folder, that you created for the new executable, the libraries and the Languages folder, create an additional empty folder called “Portable Settings”. This new version of Audacity_AudioPlus will use this new portable settings directory for storage of local preferences – that way you do not have to worry about messing up your current preferences with all the new choices I offer.

I have attached a first (rough) draft of the documentation for this software as If you have any questions, concerns, comments or bug reports feel free to get in touch with me here on the forum by leaving a private message or replying to this thread.

A word of warning, these wxWidgets libraries are functionally and source code identical to the wxWidgets libraries which ship with Audacity but they have been compiled with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 not the 2008 version so they might not work with a stock Audacity distribution. (852 KB)

Yes you would have to install the obsolete 1.3.8 Beta to generate Audacity’s theme cache, then edit the colours of the PNG file or files of that cache, then enable theming in audacity.cfg. Then the current version of Audacity would use that theme. See: .

However this will only change the waveform colours (like Ed’s experimental version of Audacity) and the buttons.

I could not figure what set the Timeline and Track Control Panel colours in Ed’s version. Are those configurable, Ed?

What would be a really good change would be to make Audacity properly high contrast compliant so that the Track Control Panel would take on the colour scheme of the current operating system theme.


The Timeline colors are now configurable but I have not posted a new alpha version with that configuration feature yet. This is a work in progress and corporate was chomping at the bits to get their hands on an early alpha.

The Track Control Panel uses recycled colors (does not have its own color definitions – grabs colors from other GUI items). it has not been easy to pin down all the ways it uses colors and, in fact, there are some bugs in the way it uses colors. This can be readily seen with my current alpha program. Since I don’t personally ever pay any attention to the Track Control Panel, I have not been bothered by its strange colors so have not spent a lot of time trying to get them under control. I expect that, now that others might be using this complex customization, I might have to dig into the Track Control Panel’s colors more deeply.

Thank you very much for your interesting and fulfilling replies.

I honestly think that testing a prototype “alpha” version would be a bit too far for me, although it might be a very entertaining job.
I opted for the second solution and, guess what? It works! I didn’t even need to install the 1.3 version. It works straight with the 2.0 program.
I downloaded a theme from the “jesus” website and followed the instructions! Nothing more.

Edgar, are you a developer? I don’t understand a passage: do you mean that you already have developed a version of Audacity with configurable track colors but it is still to be released yet?

At this point I thank you again to show you how much I appreciate your dedication to solve this minor (but crucial for me) problem.
I wold humbly suggest you developers to keep this possibility in the future. No matter what colour you make the tracks, there should be a possibility to edit something for changing it by oneself, whether one wishes to.

Awaiting for your feedback again, I salute you and praise you.

Do you mean ? Yes, I did not suggest that because I thought there would not be enough contrast in those waveforms for you.

But if you did not have a ready-made image cache, you would have to install 1.3.8 in order to generate the image cache file so you could edit it.


Thank you anyway, mr. Andrews.

Isn’t it ironic? I thought it would have been a “change some strings” kind of work and in the end I had to apply a theme (thank God it still works), despite claiming “no theme” in the title.

What can I say, if there is a way to make color change easier, I would say to you please make it available in the future.
If there isn’t, then, I would say just keep the “theme possibility”. I’m happy anyway.

Besides, I actually made a few changes (uploaded here).
Thank you again!


We can add your vote for that suggestion. Skins or themes are a common solution. You cannot have controls in the interface to change the colour of every single part of it. On the other hand we know that the current waveform colour scheme does not give very high contrast.


I am not a member of the formal Audacity Development Team. Some of the code that I have provided them has been used in Audacity. I am one of the editors of the Audacity Manual. I am a programmer who likes to play around adding new features to Audacity – especially for my own needs. I also do programming as an independent contractor for various companies and individuals; a lot of this is related to customizing Audacity for their specific needs.

I have developed a version of Audacity that is highly configurable. It was originally released a couple of years ago (not supported by the Audacity Team or the Audacity Project folks) but, as with most software, it is a work in progress. The only reason that it is currently labeled “alpha” is because I am in the process of getting it translated more extensively and that needs special testing. Most, if not all, the source code which I have written to make the Audacity GUI highly configurable and/or more user-friendly has been published here on the forum and I have placed it in the public domain.

It sounds like you have found a solution to your specific problem but if you find that you still need more precise control over font sizes and GUI colors you’re welcome to try out my program.

Mr. Andrews, thank you for your voting proposition. I sure do apply for it. I’m not here to be selfish, so I would say; applying a theme worked well and solved my problem. If there are other ways of changing track colours (which is a very common feature in audio editors like pro tools) it’s your right to prefer them. I don’t know why the team doesn’t like the use of themes, everyone has a good reason, I guess.
In the end, it’s the results that matter, not the procedure. Theme or not, I’m not the only visually impaired person in this strange world and I think that making Audacity comply with hi-contrast color schemes might alleviate the sufferings of many users around the planet.
Incidentally, sound is very important in the life of those who can’t see very well, you know? :smiley:

Edgar, it’s very kind of you to allow everyone into studying and using what you have done with you own work. I’m no developer for sure; I’m more like a farmer but my passion and my will could use me some help for this. Keep up with the good work, somebody out there is appreciating it so much.

Thank you again! Perhaps you’ll not hear my songs on the CBS anytime soon :stuck_out_tongue:, but you have made me a great favour by releasing this free software. I can say it has made my life a bit better. You made it. I’m sure it’s true not just for me but for many others.
Keep on rocking!

For anyone following this – I now have control of the background colors of the Track Info Panel but I also realize that I should probably allow the user control of the font/other drawing color so that it could be white-on-black, black-on-white or what have you. Something to do this afternoon…