Scrolling left and right in audio track

Mac OS Catalina, Audacity 2.3.2

This seems ridiculous, but I can’t see how to simply scroll left and right in an audio track. I only see a short segment of time, and moving to an earlier segment seems impossible. I’ve looked in the manual and can’t see anything related to scrolling. Other time-based applications like iMovie have very straightforward ways to move forward and back in time in a project.

There must be a way to do this. How?

See here in the manual:

That doesn’t help. I did find that I can use the Time Shift Tool to move the sound pattern left and right, but the absolute time sync is lost. The sound and absolute time won’t move together. I therefore can’t return to a time observed earlier by using the Time Shift Tool. I can try to re-sync time to the start of the recording, zoom out, try to find the time of interest on a coarse scale, then zoom in by steps until I find the point of interest. That’s a fairly awkward way to do sound editing. I can’t find a way to jump to a specified time.

Is there a way to move the sound recording left and right while retaining the absolute time reference (maintaining start of recording time = zero)? Again, this is how other applications like iMovie work. It would make people crazy during video editing if time sync goes away when one tries to scroll to an earlier or later time.

Jump to a specific time is one of the windows on the bottom of the display.

Do you just want to slide the display left and right? Shift + Scroll Wheel.

What makes me crazy is Audacity doesn’t have markers. You can’t Mark-In and have it stick right there while you go search for a Mark-Out point.

We have labels, and last I checked, they don’t automatically stick to the content they’re labeling.


Yes, there are multiple ways, as described here: Navigating and identifying audio for editing - Audacity Manual

I tried using the Selection Toolbar to move the cursor to a desired time, and it didn’t work. Do you have to hit Enter on the keyboard to make the move after entering the start time? Does “Snap To” have to be “Off”? I tried it a few times, nothing worked so I abandoned it. I see it’s display change as I relocate the cursor manually, I can’t seem to enter data manually there.

I’ve managed to do some editing thru a bunch of relatively awkward processes, mainly zoom-outs and zoom—ins and using the “I-bar” tool to guide the zoom-ins without disturbing the time-base zero. I’ve figured out how to reset the zero time alignment if disturbed, but I have to zoom all the way out again to do this and zoom back in to resume editing. So it goes.

“Snap To” should normally be off. See: Selection Toolbar - Audacity Manual

It does work. Ensure that you are using it as described in the manual: Selection Toolbar - Audacity Manual

I now have figured out the editing cursor jump-to feature at the bottom of the window. It does work - what threw me off is that the editing window does not relocate with the cursor. I have to manually move the window to the new location. Hmm. I found that recovering manual control of the cursor location is somehow not straightforward after using the jump-to feature.

I also discovered the horizontal scrollbar slider just above the bottom of the editing window. I now have the time-sync’ed, left-right movement I was seeking. That helps!

Climbing the learning continues … Thanks for the help.

I do almost all of my scrolling and selecting with the mouse.
The shortcuts may be slightly different on a Mac (I’m on Linux)

Scrolling a long way → Drag the scroll bar at the bottom of the tracks window.
Scrolling a short way → Shift + Mouse wheel over the tracks window.
Selecting → Click and drag.
Zooming → Ctrl + Mouse wheel

I’m informed that the current version of Audacity also supports gestures if you have a touch screen (I don’t).