move tracks workflow issue

I discovered audacity when working as a radio journalist at my university.
I’m now getting back to it after 10 years with another station.

I’m having troubles finding a sane workflow for the following.

I did 20 interviews. Then I recorded 20 intro/outros.
The 20 interviews are mostly in order. The 20 intro/outros need to be interleaved with the 20 interviews.

I first loaded all the intros/outros which loaded in order cause i hadn’t re-named them.
I named the interviews cause i plan to move them around a bit.

The nice way of doing it would be to select the intro. CHOOSE INSERT BELOW for the related interview, and import the track directly below the intro. I haven’t discovered how to do this. So the track gets added to the bottom. I then have to click Technology->Move track up. 30 times.
I’m tired after just one relocating of a single interview track, and I have 19 left to go!

I searched for hot keys, and found the Edit->Preferences->Keyboard, but Technology and Move Tracks aren’t listed (I think it should be UI law that all menu options be listed in keyboard shortcut options by the way).

I could be sneaky and number-prefix all my files before importing, but that is really quite clunky.

But worst of all, I fear this.

( ^ oops, discovered I want to add a track zzz here)

29 more tracks
zzz Oh, track zzz belongs way at the top. I can insert it after xx but now i have to right shift yyy and the 29 tracks below one by one. If this is the case, it’s an absolute showstopper, and I’ll have to find another audio program. So, is there a way to lock all tracks below a selected track and time-shift them all at once without affecting the tracks above the selected track?

thanks a bunch.


ps. I’m on ubuntu 12.04 with audacity 2.0, though i don’t think that matters at all here.

There’s various approaches that you could take.

method 1
Ctrl+Shift+I (Import) → Select 1 file → Enter
Repeat for next track.
Imported tracks are now in the order that you want them.

method 1
Import all of the interviews.
Use the Time Shift tool to drag them in the right order onto one track.
Import the intros/outros.
Use the Time Shift tool to drag them in the right order onto a second track.

Tip: to fit more tracks on screen, “View menu > Collapse all tracks (Ctrl+Shift+C)”

If you select multiple tracks, then use the Time Shift tool to drag from within the selection, then all tracks that are within the selection will move together.

So I think there are at least two feature requests?

Track Drop-Down Menu (or the track) has a new control to import below that track.

Or do you prefer perhaps a new Track Drop-Down menu item "Move Track Below > " and the cascade to right of that menu dynamically lists the track names?

Or should all this be done in a separate tree-like view of the tracks?

And you want the Track Drop-Down Menu to have keyboard shortcuts?

I don’t know if you can use the mouse but you can click and drag tracks up and down. You could also Tracks > Sort Tracks by “Start Time” so that the tracks with greatest offset from time zero would be at the bottom.


You can add my vote for the assigning of shortcuts to the track drop-down menu.
It is for exact that reason:
Moving tracks around that way is to cumbersome. It would also be nice to have a entry “Move Track to Top” in the context menu. This would facilitate the track arrangement per keyboard somewhat.

Wow! Thanks for all the great responses.
I found a modified workflow that was getting me by.
Good old cut and paste! I decided that rather than making one 45 minute track, it would be better anyway to save ~5 minute segments.
So my workflow be
Import all 20 intro/outros in order.
Import an interview (goes to bottom)
Cut the interview track. Move up n tracks to the end of the corresponding intro track (select and hit “k” to hop to end)
Cut and paste the outro to the end of the interview.

So the product now looks like
x_intro x_interview x_outro
y_intro y_interview y_outro

All 5 minute pieces are now left aligned. To export a single track I do
Select track (double click or “enter”)
File->Export Selection

Your suggestions will make the workflow much better.
Select multple tracks: Click on metadata panel at left of track, hold shift, to select other panels. Then move with the time-shift tool works great.
Move tracks with mouse: Select the track (as above). Drag to new location.

I must say, I’m super impressed with both your response time, and how awesome audacity has gotten. The new crash recovery is fantastic, and came in handy twice. But overall, stability is mucho improved, and everything pretty much worked as expected. Way to go audacity!


ps. I would still love to see all menu options available in the Edit->Preferences->Keyboard.
Given all the possible work-arounds, I don’t think adding a feature request for special track movement menu items is needed.

OK so I make that two votes for “shortcuts for the Track Drop-Down Menu items” and one vote for additional menu items therein “Move Track to Top” and “Move Track to Bottom” (I’m sure we’d add both).

Note that there are sequential shortcuts for the Track Drop-Down Menu now - just use SHIFT + M (or the keyboard menu key) on the track that has the yellow focus border, then the underlined access key. So SHIFT + M followed by P moves the track up.