Option for Zoom Focus: Selection or Always Mouse

Ever since I updated Audacity to the latest version to try to fix a separate issue, the biggest issue for me has been that zooming in while something is selected will cause the zoom focus to bind to the edges of the selection. Almost every time, it has thrown me away from the next piece of the audio that I’m working on (I mostly manage my scripts, and this program helps me to cut out the bloopers), so I have to go find it again. I’ve been trying to adapt to the new behaviour for about a month now, but I always end up forgetting about this feature, so it keeps happening, so I gave up trying. I’d like to suggest an option, maybe in Tracks Behaviours, that will allow the user to choose how the focus should work: the way it does now, and how it works in the older versions. This will save me a lot of headaches and frustration for times to come.

Your post has to be read by a forum elf before it becomes visible. Don’t double post.

Yes, I’m aware. The first time I posted it, I had to quickly step away from my computer afterwards to take care of something else. I didn’t get to see the message because it was on a timer, and when I came back, I thought it glitched for some reason, so I tried again. Only then, I found out.

How are you zooming?

I use the zoom by holding Control while scrolling up or down.

If you position your mouse pointer within the selected region, it will zoom in on the mouse pointer position.

I do get how it works; it’s outlined in the “New features in Audacity 2.2.2” wiki page. However, the “With the mouse pointer outside the selection, the leftmost or rightmost edge of the current selection, (if a selection exists)” is the inconvenience for me because I naturally tend not to deselect something when I’m done with the contents of the selection since starting a new selection somewhere else will deselect it anyway. And trust me, I’ve really been trying to get accustomed to this new behaviour, but it’s ultimately a lost cause for me because I keep forgetting over and over again to deselect the contents first when I’m done.

How about if you click on the waveform at the point where you want to zoom in?

I feel like if I reply about this any further, I’d pass off as whining, so I’m just going to give up and roll back to Audacity 2.2.1. I know this is discouraged, but the zoom to selection edges feature is interfering with my ability to work, and it’s even been giving me a natural reaction to not want to do the work. I would genuinely like to know one thing, though: why not make this optional? It just makes sense, and I think a big factor of any good program like Audacity is customisation.

“User experience” is, by definition, highly subjective. We try to take on board everyone’s feedback, and then make the sometimes hard design decisions.

Options and preference settings are certainly one way to deal with conflicting opinions, but the downside is that options can become so many that it is cumbersome to find and change them. Audacity 2.4.1 already has 18 pages of preference settings. If we made everything customisable, there would be hundreds. This is sometimes referred to a “preference bloat”.

The problem that is solved by the current behaviour, is that in earlier versions it was too easy to zoom and lose sight of the selected region. The developers believe that it is a reasonable assumption that if a region is selected, then that is the region that the user is interested in, thus the zoom behaviour was modified to keep at least part of the selected region visible when zooming.

I guess that makes sense.

The only two reasons I disagree with this decision is that, if a selection does end up getting lost somewhere, it can be easily found, as the selection is denoted by a lighter background, arrows on the timeline when playback is stopped, and the “Xxx and Xxx of Selection” timestamps on the bottom of the window. And, as I mentioned, taking the shortcut of trying to zoom in to something else while something is selected will cause the loss of track of where it is, so it has to be sometimes tediously found again, which requires thinking (and in people like me, excess thinking can lead to burnout, delaying completion of the project). However, if the developers deem this as a necessary change, then I can’t take that away from them.

Oh well, it’s Audacity 2.2.1 for me, as much as I hate having to use older versions of software.