Tips on zooming into loop start/end points.


I’m new to Audacity and am trying to get deeper into editing audio and creating loops of what i’ve recorded. I’ve watched a bunch of crap YouTube tutorials that completely gloss over the maddening parts of this process and am hoping that someone can help.

Let’s say that i’ve recorded some audio and i simply want to select a portion of that audio and create a loop out of it. So, i make a first rough selection, which is likely to NOT be perfect the first time (most YT videos completely ignore this simple reality), and i need to likely zoom in more and find the loop points at 0 both on the beginning and the end of my initial rough-cut selection. I know that if i issue cmd-F, the selected entire loop fills the screen. However the actual loop point that i ultimately want might be outside of that. So, i start with the beginning of my loop-to-be. I also know that Cmd-1 will zoom in on the beginning of my selection, which is great. However, i am QUITE likely to have to zoom in further on the loop beginning to really find that 0-point. So, i try pressing the Zoom button to get closer. (VERY MADDENINGLY), the display DOES zoom in, but the audio it is looking at has now switched to the middle of my selection, i am no longer looking at the beginning chunk of the audio of what i am trying to select. The same behavior is true of the end of a selection. Once i’ve made a rough cut selection and try and zoom into the end, pressing the zoom key again reverts back to the middle of my selection. Pretty NOT user-friendly in my opinion… Can the default behavior be customized somehow to simply zoom in closer on what i AM looking at currently?

As i experimented further, I also have discovered that if i make a rough-cut selection and then (rather than pressing the Zoom key), i repeat a Cmd-1 press, i DO actually seem to zoom into a better magnification of the area that i want to investigate. The problem is that after two presses of Cmd-1, i get the left-most edge of my loop on the very left side of my editing window. Now, if i try and grab that left edge of my original selection and drag it in (to the right, in order to be more precise and narrow my initial selection), i lose my initial loop altogether and i have to RE-select my rough cut of the loop in order to begin again. Again, this works the same in reverse on the loop ends.

Would someone be able to either (a) give me a point-by-point description of how they go about selecting audio and cutting loops at the zero points in an efficient way or (b) please point me to a video that explains this process in detail? There are tons of videos on YouTube that purport to explain this, but the 10 or so that i’ve watched so far COMPLETELY gloss over these topics of precisely selecting the audio that i want, including efficient zooming techniques and audio selection. To avoid creating clicks and/or pops in audio loops, you need to get to the zero points and this is something that one needs to be very efficient at, or the tool is not really usable. I’m trying to determine if Audacity is in fact that tool for me or not.

I’m sure this has GOT to be covered somewhere, but i just haven’t found anything useful. :cry: Can anyone lend a hand to a newb (to Audacity, not to audio editing in general).

I think I can help a little here.

Step one. Stop Audacity from automatically resetting your view. That may be handy during recording, but it’s crazy-making during editing.

Zoom (Mac)

Change the timeline so it doesn’t shift by itself:
– Audacity > Preferences > Tracks > [_] Update display while playing. (de-select)
Note: Update Display is good during recording.

– Drag-select something on the timeline and zoom into it. Command-E
– Zoom out a little bit. Command-3
– Zoom out full. Command-F

– Shift-ScrollWheel or Shift-TouchPadScrub will shift the timeline view left and right (sooner and later).

I only do very modest editing, but you’re looking at all the zoom tools I use.


Thank you for your reply Koz, i will try your suggestions and report back in a bit. I figured that it’s GOT to be easier than this… :unamused:

Not sure what the Mac version is, but possibly just “command” rather than “Ctrl” (perhaps koz can confirm)
On Windows and Linux, Zoom in on one end of the selection with “Ctrl + Mouse wheel”. To centre on left or right ends of the selection, “Ctrl + [” and “Ctrl + ]”.

For a lot of casual use and production, the Command key substitutes for the Windows Control key. However, if your thing is the heavier Mac Terminal and Unix tools, then the Control key returns to its rightful place.

If that sentence didn’t mean anything to you, don’t worry about it. Mac is built on top of the much older Unix system and you can still invoke it if you don’t mind the smell of sulphur and brimstone.