How to set time format and db format

  1. I need to set y axis* to show -dB units, not normalized.
  2. I need to set x axis** to show:
    2.a) time in seconds
    2.b) samples

How to do it?

*The numbers left from wave
**The time above wave


Thank you. But how do you find db level when you see on 0 and -60?
Also I meant the time above the wave not below. For orientation on the wave. I see the format 1:27,10 but seconds (87,10s) or samples would be useful.

Each of those time windows under the timeline can be switched to many different formats.

Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 16.04.17.png

Thank you. But how do you find db level when you see on 0 and -60?

Play the work and watch the cursor indicator and bouncing light sound meters.

This may be a good time to find the goal. Why are we doing this? Sound doesn’t lend itself to easy numerical values like you seem to want.


-60dB is ≈ 0.001 . Lower than -60dB is very quiet: less than 1/1000th of full-volume.

You can change the meters to show a different range than -60dB in Audacity preferences

but the dB scale on the waveform display remains the same.

I don’t think the units used on the timeline are adjustable in Audacity.

I don’t think the units used on the timeline are adjustable in Audacity.

That’s why I think it’s time to have a chat. It’s not unusual for announcers to have above and below the line blue waves that don’t match. I used to pick out a favorite news team without listening just from the timeline. He had even blue waves and she didn’t. Both perfectly natural.


It is important to do that. But any change would not reflect that I use Windows XP. 20 years I use Cool Edit and this has this feature. The context menu is open by right click.

It is very intuitive.

The last image is what I see in Audacity.

If you resize the track vertically (click and drag the bottom edge of the track), you will see more numbers.
The vertical scale can also be adjusted through mouse gestures if “Advanced Vertical Zooming” is enabled (see:

Some of the GUI design decisions in Audacity are influenced by the need for Audacity to be supported cross-platform (Windows, Linux and Mac), and the need to be accessible for blind users. Sometimes, things that would be intuitive for sighted users may be inaccessible for blind users.

Wow, that is kind that you take care about blind. But I think you mean they are not totally blind, because I am one of them. Note I miss the sub-menus in Zoom menu. I have the Tool sub-menu only.

Some Audacity users are totally blind and use Audacity with a screen reader (usually Jaws or NVDA). There is also a mailing list for blind Audacity users:

There is one display variation that Cool Edit does and Audacity does not. It displays the sound waves in percent (which Audacity can do now), but labels the waves in dB on the right side.

If for no other good reason, that makes the bouncing sound meter and timeline waves match in measurement technology. Audacity can switch the timeline to dB, but it also switches the waves themselves to dB which makes them, in my opinion, less useful.

Most of the production usefullness of the waves is contained in the loudest 25dB. In Audacity dB display, that important range is smashed into a tiny percentage of the total.


I agree, and we have a feature request logged:
“New “Waveform (Linear)” view with Logarithmic Scale”

If anyone that has not had their support logged for this feature wants to “vote” for this addition, then please say so and I shall log your support.

Log my support.