How to zoom in on top part of waveform (Audacity 3.5 alpha)

I am trying the latest Audacity 3.5 alpha from GitHub and I have run into a problem.

As you can see below, there is slight clipping of the peaks in my recording. The clipping is not detected by either View => Show Clipping in waveform or by Analyze => Find Clipping(presumably because the clipping occurs below 0 dB), but it can easily be seen by zooming in on the peaks.

In older versions of Audacity, zooming in like this is easy, simply by click and drag on the vertical scale, but htf am I supposed to do it in the latest version? Surely I am not expected to use Extra => Scriptables I => Set Track Visuals. I have been searching for half an hour but that seems to be the only way to do it!

Please see:

Note that Muse removed the “Advanced B=Vertical Zooming” that facilitated the click&drag in the Vertical Scale.


Please see: …

I can’t. It says: “This site is asking you to sign in.” but rejects my forum credentials.

I can see that the option has been removed. My question is, how am I supposed to zoom in vertically on a peak now that click and drag to zoom has been removed. What replaces it?

@waxcylinder I can’t see the page that you linked to.

oops sorry, my bad - I sent you to the alpha test Manual I am working on for the upcoming 3.5.0 release which is locked from general use

What it says there is now just:


@waxcylinder Thank you for the information.

I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I think it would be a good idea for at least one of your team to do a UX Design training course.

View > Show Clipping puts red lines in the waveform display when the blue waves strike or get really, really really close to striking zero dB (100%).

It operates a little in the subjunctive since there are no waves over 100% outside of Audacity. It has to pre-suppose that the waves would have gone over had they really wanted to.

The tool has no idea what waveform damage is. If you futz up the conversion from one track live stereo recording to mono and end up with half size waves, Audacity will be perfectly happy with that—even if they overload at 50%.

So if something clips your waves before Audacity gets them (see above illustration), it will have no idea.

You can approximate vertical zooming by expanding the Audacity window as tall as it will go and then grabbing the bottom of the timeline and pulling down.


About your task: If your track indeed is clipping at -1dB, it may be easier to amplify by 1dB and then use the tools you were trying before. That likely is going to be much faster than looking at every peak one-by-one.

About the other thing: from what I can tell with user interviews and other DAWs, the most common use of vertical zoom is to make a waveform of -12dB or so more visible, so it’s easier to work with in a multi-track environment. Previous Audacity versions made this process difficult, so I changed it to what you see now.

In the process, I also looked at advanced vertical zooming. It’s the sort of off-by-default functionality that Audacity is full of, and which needs to be rectified: A feature that’s off by default isn’t going to be used as people don’t know it exists. I therefore removed the preference and enabled it always for spectrogram - where it play well together with the box selection you can make in it - and disabled it for waveforms.

You still can achieve the same view in waveform by Ctrl+Scroll to zoom in, and Shift+Scroll to move the view up and down.

I don’t have any hard usage statistics, so I have to guess at how many people exactly this change affects. There certainly are more UX improvements which can be done with the vertical scale, such as allowing dragging to move the view up and down, and communicating that via a drag cursor shape. They’re not a priority right now, but if I see enough posts about this, it may become one for 3.6 and onward.

I do not need to look at lots of peaks, I only need to look at the highest, which is easy to see when zoomed in on the highest peaks.

Also, I was providing just one example. The whole point of using a GUI audio editor is that it enables you to see what you are doing.

Yes, thank you. That is the workaround that waxcylinder proposed, but it is much less precise and more fiddly than simply dragging between minimum and maximum.

The subject of my post is not about improvements. It is about a useful feature being replaced by an awkward, less precise and clunky alternative.

I understand that you are quite new to Audacity @LWinterberg, but you appear to be completely missing a basic principle of good software design.

Good design ensures that the most commonly used features are easily accessible and intuitive for the average user, minimizing confusion and unexpected behavior. Advanced or less frequently used features are typically nested in sub-menus, hidden by default, or disabled until explicitly enabled by the user.

When you encounter features in Audacity that appear to be “hidden away”, it is rarely because they are not useful, but more often because they are not useful to novice users. Power users frequently require functionality that is irrelevant to novice users.

Over the last couple of years there have been several feature removals / replacements that impact super users negatively (the new way of looping playback being a particularly egregious example). Please take this thread as a plea to stop dumbing down Audacity and spare a thought for the people that have been using Audacity as their go-to audio editor for years.

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