How to open a file without hours and hours of nothing appearing after it.

I’m not sure why this is the default whenever you open a file in Audacity but I’d like to only work with the file itself rather than having it open on a blank channel of many hours long, so when I zoom out it can no longer zoom out further than the full file.
Currently, a one-hour piece of audio becomes a tiny slice at the start of a massive channel of nothingness if I zoom out to the maximum. I expect I could create a big workspace if I needed one but I would be happy to cross that bridge when I come to it. Just saying! Thanks again.

See attachments:
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Which exact version of Audacity are you using? (Look in “Audacity menu > About Audacity”)


I’m not sure what you mean. When I import an audio file into an empty project in Audacity 2.4.2 on macOS, the zoom level is automatically adjusted so that the audio fits in the window:


So if you scroll out to the max it doesn’t end up a tiny slice on the far left of your screen?

Yes, of course it does, but why do that unless you need to see hours beyond the end? If you do need to see hours beyond the end (for example if you want a sound to play once each hour), then you can do it.

The shortcut Command+F will zoom so the project just fits in the window.
– Bill

Curiously I experienced exactly that recently when I was doing QA testing on the alpha test build I have for 3.0.0 - but it was just the once and I was never able to repeat it.


Thanks but I am disabled so I only have one hand.
Why must all these things require two handed operations?

It’s as if the people who develop Audacity never need to get things done in a hurry and instead want to arrogantly show off their memory of keyboard shortcuts.

I only need to edit a WAV, not lay it down on an empty 4 hour blank channel.
How can I just work on the WAV itself rather than have it essentially paste-mix over the beginning of an excessive empty timeline?

Keyboard shortcuts usually require a “modifier key” to prevent the shortcut being activated during normal typing. See:

You can however change Audacity’s shortcut key bindings. See:

That has already been answered. If you don’t want to see hours of empty timeline, don’t zoom out. By default Audacity shown around 10 seconds of empty timeline when Audacity is launched.

Do you get the same effect when Audacity is closed and you Right-Click the file > Open With > Audacity?


I’ve changed all the zoom commands to use unmodified keys.

If you don’t like keyboard shortcuts there is always the zoom buttons on the Edit toolbar.

– Bill

The “people who develop Audacity” (and those who test it and support it) are all part-time volunteers giving up their free time to work on this Open-Sorce project - and they are few in number - not a major corporation.

They do not “arrogantly show off their memory of keyboard shortcuts” they are trying to help people with their hard-won insight.

In your case how could they ever guess from your original posts that you are missing an arm? BTW on my Macbook Pro I can easily do Command+F with just one hand as the keys are close.

If that, or nay other multi-key shortcut is very useful to you, you can always customize it to be a single-character shortcut.


So if you would like to contribute a specific, well thought out proposal, I would enjoy seeing it here: Adding Features to Audacity

Contributions are always welcome. Complaints not so much. :smiley:

Curious. I think I have duplicated your problem. On Windows, when I do Ctrl+Mouse-Thumbwheel, Audacity zooms OUT until only a sliver of the original audio remains. When I reverse the thumbwheel direction, Audacity reverses the zoom BUT it remains hidden behind the Track Control Panel as though the time was negative, so the sliver remains. This behavior does not seem correct to me. :frowning: :confused:

Mousewheel-zooming zooms centered on the cursor position. So it is possible to zoom way out, then zoom in on a blank area, leaving the audio at the beginning of the track outside (to the left of) of the track display area. I’ve learned that when I accidentally zoom way out (so the audio is just a sliver at the left edge of the track display) to use Zoom to Fit to get the audio displayed properly, then try again. I’ve also learned to not go too fast when mousewheel-zooming.

– Bill

Bill, thanks for your post. :smiley: You are, of course, correct. However, the behavior still doesn’t seem correct to me. Does it have to be this way?


The thread has veered off from the original complaint.

Do you get the same effect when Audacity is closed and you Right-Click the file > Open With > Audacity?

Do you get that long tail if you open the file rather than Audacity?


Try setting “on” Enable scrolling left of zero in Tracks Behaviors preferences and then doing your extreme mousewheel zooming and unzooming.