I am trying to move groups of tracks around on quite a complicated edit but I am struggling to do so, even though I have managed to do it before - so not sure what I am doing wrong this time! I am sync locking tracks and then tracking the curser to cover all the material to the right of that. The clock shows on all these tracks - apart from the one I started with . And when I try to move them (ie the tracks to the right), the whole time line is moving - not just the groups I have highlighted. Not sure how to get round this? Many thanks.

When Sync-Lock is OFF, and you drag from within some selected audio, then only the selected clips will move (this is what you want).
When Sync-Lock in ON, everything in the Sync-Locked group will move.

(further information about Sync-locked groups in the manual here:

Many thanks Steve - I will try that.

Thank you Steve - I understand now. However, I am still having problems. I think maybe it’s because I have too many tracks. I can’t select all the clips I want to move as my edit won’t fit into the screen. I have 22 tracks! I have tried view- zoom out - fit vertically but still can’t see the whole project in one go as it’s too long. I can’t get the tracks I want to move as I can’t highlight all of them at once. I can’t use the bar tool (vertical one) on the right as it won’t move when I highlight all the tracks I want to move. Is there any way round this do you think?

Working with very large projects requires a bit of strategy as well as technical features.

A few tips:

  1. Make regular back-ups. Ideally, save the project periodically using “File > Save Project As…” and give each back-up a unique name.
    A good naming system is to number with leading zeros:

  2. To make tracks as small as possible vertically, use “View > Collapse all tracks”. Tracks can also be “collapsed” and “expanded” by clicking on the button at the bottom of the info panel on the left end of the tracks. Note that if a track has been “minimised” by either “Fit vertically” or by dragging the lower edge of the track up, then the only way to make it bigger is by dragging the lower edge. “Minimised” and “Collapsed” are not the same thing (experiment on a single track project to get the hang of it.

  3. Very long projects can often be split into a series of shorter projects, then recombined when you have finished working on them. This is often a much more efficient way of working as the smaller projects are much easier to handle, both for you and your computer.

  4. An easy way to select multiple tracks: Click on one track and make a selection, then use the up/down cursor keys to move to other tracks, The track that has “focus” has a yellow line around it. The “selectedness” of a track can be toggled on and off using the ENTER key.

  5. Single tracks can be moved up, down, to the top or to the bottom, using the commands in the track dropdown menu. Click on the name of the track (top of the info panel) to open the dropdown menu.

  6. Short meaningful names for each track are very useful. The track name can be made more visible by having it show (in yellow text) in the waveform view. This option is enabled in “Edit > Preferences > Interface → show track name in waveform display”.

  7. The number of tracks in a project can often be reduced by grouping related audio clips into the same track. Audio clips may be dragged from one track to another using the Time Shift tool.

  8. Another way to reduce the number of tracks is to make “sub-mixes”. This is where you “mix down” a few tracks that have related material to a single track. Note that while this is often a useful technique, the drawback is that you cannot “unmix” the track (other than by the usual “Undo” function). To “mix down” tracks, select each track that you wish to mix down, then select “Mix and Render” from the “Tracks” menu.

Steve, this is a very useful set of tips. Is it worth working it up into a tutorial for the Manual?

If so, I can do the groundwork on that starting with this as the basis.


It isn’t exactly the same thing, but there is also an option in Tracks Preferences “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed”. It could save the amount of work you have to do reducing track height as you add more tracks.

Also you don’t have to necessarily save new projects to do that. You could select and cut the tracks you don’t want to work on for now, File > New, then paste into the new project. Cut and paste back into the master project when you have made more space there.

If the tracks you want to select are adjacent, it’s even quicker to multiple select them. Hold SHIFT then UP or DOWN arrow.


Thanks, Peter. It depends how much detail we want, but I would either see it as a FAQ or a FAQ pointing to a tutorial.


I would have thought it more “wiki material”. Many of the tips would apply to any version of Audacity, or any other multi-track editor. It’s only the default key-bindings and buttons that are specific to the current version of Audacity, but the general ideas (back-ups / splitting a project into manageable sections / using sub-mixes / naming tracks / …) apply in any multi-track production.

Thanks for the offer to do the groundwork - if you think it’s worthwhile please go for it.

I would recommend having “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” turned OFF (not selected) when working on projects with a large number of tracks. Enabling that option (it’s off by default) prevents effective use of expand/collapse, so resizing tracks vertically then has to be done by dragging the lower edge of the track, which is more fiddly (less convenient) than pressing a button.

Good tip :slight_smile:

I disagree with your choice of Wiki, Steve, even if there is not full Audacity version specificity in the details.

I am not sure it needs to be a Tutorial, but I think it is much more likely to be found in the Manual.

Yes, but my point was that if you have that preference on, you don’t have to do the resizing of the tracks to make them less tall in the first place. If that preference is on and it does not cause the tracks to be the minimum height, Expand All Tracks/Collapse All Tracks still works, as does the Expand/Collapse button.

Obviously, it’s less flexible than choosing custom heights for each track, but it should I think definitely be mentioned as a possible method if we write an article about this. For say, eight tracks, I would argue the preference is more convenient on than off.


We can and regularly do link from one to the other.
If the user finds in the manual “Tips for working with large multi-track projects”, and it is a link, then they have “found it” regardless of whether the actual content is located in the manual or the wiki.

Try this with “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” enabled:

  1. Create a project with 30 or more tracks.
  2. View > Expand All Tracks.
    Tracks are “expanded”, but they are still minimum vertical height, which is not very useful if you want to “expand bigger”.

At a minimum it should link from a FAQ in the Manual.

I see no advantage of having the article in Wiki. We don’t normally target users of other DAW’s/digital editors when writing articles.

I already had tried it with 32 tracks. :wink: If you had quoted my text completely, I said:

If that preference is on and it does not cause the tracks to be the minimum height, Expand All Tracks/Collapse All Tracks still works, as does the Expand/Collapse button.

So yes I had already agreed the preference is not too useful if it caused the tracks to be minimum height. It is still somewhat useful if you are prepared to leave the tracks at minimal height then use keyboard shortcuts on the focused track to mute/solo or change gain/pan.

It’s more than useful if you only have eight tracks because they then won’t be minimal height and you can manipulate their height normally. The difference is that if the preference is on you don’t have to reduce the height of each track by hand.


I don’t understand your point.
I was talking about working with large multi-track projects (lots of tracks).

With “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” OFF (disabled):
“View menu > Collapse All Tracks” reduces the height of all tracks to minimum - no need to reduce the height of each track by hand.
“View menu > Expand All Tracks” increases the height of all tracks to “normal” height - no need to expand the height of each track by hand.
Clicking on the Collapse/Expand button on one track will minimise / expand to “normal” (or the previous “expanded” height) that one track.

That does not work with “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” ON (enabled), so I recommend that when working with large multi-track projects (lots of tracks), it is better for “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” to be OFF (disabled).

Do you disagree with my recommendation?

Maybe it would sit well in “Help with Advanced Topics”

But I’ll find some time next week first to work up the page as an orphan, then we can decide its place in the firmament :sunglasses:


Exactly. How did you get that track to the previous “less-than-normal, expanded” height if you did not do it by hand?

It works fine for eight mono tracks, and works for 88 tracks if you use the keyboard to manipulate the track properties. So even with 88 tracks, you don’t need the single “Collapse All Tracks” command. The preference has already done it for you.

I disagree with you saying that’s the only solution in all multi-track projects. Even two normal height stereo tracks don’t fit in the vertical space on most machines, so I would want to address any project where you can’t see what you’re doing without scrolling, not only projects with vast numbers of tracks.


Sorry Gale but I think you are putting words into my mouth, or misunderstanding what I intended.
I am NOT talking about “all multi-track projects”. I am talking about “large multi-track projects (with lots of tracks)”.

I thought that it was clear that that is what we were talking about, but perhaps not - so to ensure that it is clear, these “tips” are for working with large multi-track projects (with lots of tracks).

So then you would need to define “lots” at the start of your article, and I would suggest your article is possibly too narrowly focused.

IMO it’s hard enough managing even eight tracks in Audacity, so is there a good reason to limit the article to people dealing with 32 tracks or more (or whatever your definition is)?

Of course the more tracks you have, the more likely you may want to do backups and multi-project handling, and the more likely you want the “Automatically fit” preference off, but I still say for less than say 10 tracks, there is as good a case to have that preference on as off.

What I was thinking of was linking to this “tutorial” in a FAQ whose title was something like “How can I best view and manage multiple tracks in a project?” We don’t have any FAQ like that yet.

We could cover managing a small number of multiple tracks fully in the FAQ and a large number in the article, but it seems an artificial distinction to me for which there is no obvious cutoff point.


I wasn’t writing an article, I was writing some tips for goldieam who was working on a project with 22 tracks.
In the context of this forum topic, my recommendation is for “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” to be OFF (disabled).

Regarding the article that waxcylinder proposed, I see little benefit in enabling “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” when working with multi-track projects - some users may prefer to have it enabled, which is up to them, but it is not something that I would recommend or advocate as a useful tip as I see no benefit in automatically resizing tracks when working with multi-track projects.

Here is a screenshot of an 8 track project on a typical 1366x768 laptop monitor with “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” enabled and default toolbar layout.
What is the “good case” for enabling “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” ?

I was only ever talking about the article that Peter proposed.

As you point out, that is not your article, so it is up to all the editors to decide the scope of that article and the content it will be linked from.

All I was trying to do, given we are making the effort, is to make the article and the content where we link to it as broadly useful as possible, and to suggest a new FAQ where we have an obvious gap.

I have said it at least twice already. Where did those tracks come from? Perhaps the user had recorded or imported them. If user had done that, then the tracks would be normal height to begin with. WIth the preference off, the tracks would not fit in the project without scrolling (something goldieam mentioned).

So with the preference off, to make each new track fit but not be of minimal height, I would have to use View > Fit Vertically for each new track, or manually drag each new track up to a height where it fitted.

Yes, if I really want the tracks of minimal height I would do what you do, but with eight tracks I personally do not want them of minimal height. Why should I want that? They fit at greater height, so I can see more of the waveform by using the preference to make the tracks automatically fit, and the fit happens “automatically”.

And if I want to drag the height of a specific track up or down at its bottom edge, I can still then use the collapse button to minimise its height, then use that button again to go back to my modified height.

Personally, even if I had 32 tracks I would still use the preference, because automatically having them minimised is less work than having each new track stand out at exaggerated height and have to keep using Collapse All Tracks or the collapse button. If I want the track controls, I use the keyboard shortcuts on the focused track rather than use the mouse to drag the track down then recollapse the track.

I agree for 32 tracks, many users may prefer your method. However my understanding is that articles (except “Workflows”) try to be as general and inclusive as possible, mentioning other possible ways of working, rather than solely be the author’s personal modus operandi. I therefore think that the proposed article should mention the “Automatically fit” preference, say what it does and how it will work according to the number of tracks there are, and let the user decide for themselves what method they prefer.


Do we have a platform difference?
If, with “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” enabled, I import 10 tracks, the tracks are “expanded” but they are all resized to little more than minimum height. They are certainly not “normal size”.

I don’t need to do that here.
Ctrl+A then Ctrl+Shift+F
Edit > Select > All
View > Fit Vertically

Does that not work on Windows?

Unless you have a huge monitor display, the track controls will probably be hidden.
On my 1366x768 display, even with all toolbars hidden and no desktop “panels” (bar at top/bottom of the desktop), and the Audacity window full scree, with 8 tracks resized to fit, the mute/solo buttons (and of course the gain/pan sliders) are completely hidden.

Why would you need to “keep using Collapse All Tracks”?
You said that you prefer to have all tracks minimised and use keyboard shortcuts for the track controls, in which case you only need to collapse all tracks once.

I don’t see any point in suggesting something as a “tip” just because it works. The purpose of a “tip” as I see it is to provide advice from the point of view of experience and expertise. I see no benefit to enabling “Automatically fit tracks vertically zoomed” when working on multi-track projects (unless perhaps the behaviour is platform dependent, which I don’t think it is) - and for large mult-track projects my recommendation, from personal experience of working on hundreds of large multi-track projects, is to ensure that setting is off. “Tips” are not compulsory - they are advice/recommendation based on experience and/or expert knowledge. Users are of course at liberty to ignore that advice/recommendation if they prefer to use some other method. (I sometimes even ignore my own advice :smiley:)