Feature Request: UI Lock

I would have used the feature request link in the top post, but … it’s broken.

In any case, my request is simple: it would be soooo nice if Audacity had a way to lock the UI.

Audacity is a powerful tool, with a bajillion things you can tweak … and that also means a bajillion things you can trigger on accident. Specifically speaking about “mousewheel” triggers, I can’t count how many times I’ve either …

  • blown out my eardrums because I accidentally turned up the gain of a track (while trying to scroll through tracks)
  • been completely confused as to why my spectrum looks strange … because I didn’t realize I’d mouse-wheeled over the numbers to the left of the track while trying to scroll
  • (even now that I know what’s going on, I still do this fairly often just by using my mouse wheel; having to right click and “zoom reset” it back is a minor annoyance)

Now I 100% realize that people out there must want to zoom in their numbers, and must want to adjust their gain, but since I never do these features amount to bugs for me.

It seems like a simple way to make both types of users happy would be to add some sort of “UI lock” checkbox somewhere (either in the settings or toolbar).

This would let most users lock that box and never have problems, while people who want the feature can lock/unlock it as desired.

Which “box” (or boxes) do you want to lock?
How do you protect the lock from being accidentally operated?

Good questions. You could get granular and have separate “show/hide (or enable/disable) track volume UI”, “… left/right track channels UI”, “… mousewheel scroll of track zoom” checkboxes. That feels like it could be added to the Interface tab of the Preferences.

Or you could just have a checkbox in the UI that amounts to “stop letting me change things accidentally (simple mode?)”, which would do all three, and maybe prevent other things like being able to drag tracks.

The more I think about it (and my personal use case), the settings actually seem far more useful. Also the UI checkbox itself seems like it could add to user confusion, which is where I’m guessing you’re going with question #2.

So yeah, just a few new checkboxes to enable/disable the sliders … although I’d lean more towards showing/hiding them personally (who wants to see something they aren’t using?) … plus one more to disable mouse-wheel zooming would seem perfect to me.

One other alternative I could see would be some sort of control on Preferences: Mouse to let you (eg. with checkboxes) specify "I do want to use my mouse wheel to [] scroll and [] zoom tracks but not to []zoom track range, []adjust track volume, [] adjust track channels. Being able to control the mouse wheel specifically would eliminate the need to disable/hide things.

Whether I’m the only user with this issue, and this is entirely too niche of a concern to be worth adding a setting for … is a whole other question of course. All I can say is that this issue would only affect people like me who A) use Audacity a lot, and B) use the mouse wheel a lot, so that certainly limits it.

This topic came up quite a few years back. I too had problems with inadvertently manipulating the Pan and Gain sliders so (in my highly customized version of Audacity 2.0.6) I added two checkboxes to Preferences:
Note that when disabled I change the slider thumb to the international sign for “forbidden” and the slider itself is “inactive”.

Isn’t that rather inconvenient when you do want to change the pan or gain?
Does it retain the double click dialog when disabled?
Wouldn’t it be more intuitive for the track slider preferences to be in the “Tracks” section of Preferences?

My personal workflow is very limited: vinyl & tape restoration and/or conversion to digital; using an external recorder to create recordings of concerts or studio sessions then use Audacity to massage the data and export as single digital tracks; very rarely - record and cleanup trivial voiceovers. So, inconvenient, no as I have never turn them back on for anything other than testing. I did put toggles in the Track drop down:

for which I have created external-scripting based voice/keyboard shortcuts (they could also have Audacity keyboard shortcuts).
There are keyboard shortcuts which open the “double click dialog” even when disabled (they are built into Audacity 2 and probably undocumented - I can’t remember what they are but I do accidentally trigger them occasionally).
As for where to put it in Preferences, that’s a matter of personal choice. I have added a number of other “toggles” in the GUI (in the image above you can see the one for “Snap To” just above the two I circled. Since my version has an extraordinary large number of additional GUI Preferences I added some things to the “Interface” page and added a new page “Interface Colors”.

They’re documented in the manual, here: Commands and Keyboard Shortcut Reference - Audacity Manual and here: Extra Menu: Track - Audacity Manual

Sure. I’m just interested in your thinking. I’m always interested in seeing things from perspectives other than my own.

I’m a bit surprised that you went for separate settings for Gain and Pan. I’d have expected one setting for both (if you might accidentally click one, then you’re just as likely to accidentally click the other). What persuaded you to have separate settings for each?

My policy (the exact opposite of the Audacity Developers’) is “the more Preferences the better”. I believe in giving the user as much power (ESPECIALLY when it comes to controlling the GUI) as possible.