Does Audacity support adding themes ? If yes, how can I do that ?

There was experimental theme support in a couple of the very old beta versions some years ago. The code still exists in Audacity but is not currently used as the code is incomplete and possibly buggy, One of the senior developers is interested in reviving theme support, but not until after Audacity 2.1.3 is released. Most of the current development work is focussed on reliability, compatibility with current computer platforms (particularly Windows 10 and Mac Sierra) and audio editing / processing.

Thanks @steve . I really hope to see theme support at some point in future :slight_smile:

I’m sorry, but I can’t be so relaxed about this subject.

How long has Audacity been going? That’s a rhetorical question. You mentioned being focused on usability. Do you have any idea how many times over the past 12 years I have had a look at using Audacity…downloaded it, tried to use it, given up? I’ve lost count, and if I’m still having that problem, you can sure bet others are too. I’ve just googled high contrast themes/skins, and found a number of people who have actually bothered to write to one forum or another, to see if they can improve the visual usability of Audacity, and found that you either have to have a high level of tech knowledge, or pretty much forget it! Believe it or not, people seeing the software comes under both usability and compatibly, and that needs to be a priority, like yesterday!

What I find boggling is, that I read somewhere that you actually did have the ability to change themes at one point, but that you took this functionality away. Why?

I am visually impaired, and rely on ‘High Contrast Black’ in Windows. I can see Audacity’s menus, as that follows the Windows theme. I can see the darker elements by using shapes and tool tips. I cannot see, and this is seemingly fundamental to the functionality to Audacity, the track section. I have Zoomtext, which can invert the colours, but it won’t invert the colours in Audacity to the point where I can see what to do, or what’s happening in, what I think you call, the spectragraph…or something.

Everyone who does audio editing sings the praises of Audacity, but I can’t use it, and nor, I suspect, can a lot of others, being that my sight and hearing loss is not uncommon. I and others have been excluded, shut out, whatever you want to call it, from using your software, because you haven’t given enough prority to a customization interface, and you’ve had plenty of time to do so.

Even though Goldwave is not a multi track recorder, at least it is fully accessible. I wanted to try Audacity, as so many of my friends are using it…but I can’t. I guess I have no choice but to buy a Goldwave licence, instead of donating to yourselves.

Audacity is free and the developers are volunteers. Themes are not usually regarded as a “fun” or scientific thing for developers to work on.

It is quite likely that some kind of switchable theming will come back in Audacity release after next, and that one of the themes will be orange on black. It is not explicitly a High Contrast Theme.

But I don’t think you’re talking about themes at all, as I understand it. Just that switching to Windows High Contrast Themes does not switch all of the interface as it should. It never did, even when we last had a very poor theming feature.


I spoke to one of the developers about this, and in principle he is open to including a high contrast theme in the Audacity version after next. No guarantees yet but if so, we wouldn’t fix that the standard theme does not fully adjust to operating system High Contrast Themes. That fix is a lot of work and might interfere with what we are doing for theming.


The latest 2.2.0-alpha nightly build at the top of (or any build from 10 April 2017 or later) now has a “Hi Contrast” Theme. You can select it in Interface Preferences. It is based on Windows High Contrast #2 because that seems to give the largest contrast of all the black variants.

I understand you don’t use the #2 variant, but could you try out the 2.2.0.alpha and give us some feedback? You can’t install the alpha - just unzip the contents to a folder and run audacity.exe from that folder.

Because alpha versions may have serious bugs, don’t use them for production work, just for test.


Audacity team can make use of

Libre Office has recently posted their design requirements here.

I’ve upgraded to Audacity v. 2.1.3, and I like most of the new features, but there’s one area that I wish worked as it did with 2.1.2, namely the ability of themes to change the background color.
I had been using the Dark Audacity theme with the older version, with the big selling point being that the background made dark made it much easier to see where I was editing my audio, but now the exact same theme only partially works, with the buttons changing, but the background is stuck at the ugly default color that you get when running without a theme at all.
Was this intentional, a mistake, or is this planned to be restored in the next revision (2.1.4?), or ???
Thanks for whatever you can explain about this.

Theme support is not an ‘official’ feature in either Audacity 2.1.2 or 2.1.3, and only works at all due to old experimental code from the 1.3.x beta series.
The good news for you is that the next version of Audacity officially brings Theme support (back) to Audacity.

Old 1.3.x themes will not be fully compatible with the new Theme support, (the old theme engine was incomplete and buggy), but conversion to the new form is possible. The next version of Audacity will ship with a dark theme, light theme, ‘classic’ theme and high contrast theme. Additional themes will follow.

That’s definitely something to look forward to, and much more than I had hoped.
Thanks so much for the reply, and (what it is that you contribute) for aiding in the development of this excellent program that I use several times daily.