Track Groups? Could be more functional...

I’m editing a long interview that was recorded in Stereo + 1 (my interviewees used a stereo condenser mic and I used a standard cardioid mono, and we were not co-located). So I have about 2.5 hours of 3 tracks – the L and R of their stereo recording, and my mono. Serious editing is needed to cut it down to a sensible length for airplay.

The routine is familiar: find the juiciest chunks and copy/paste them into a new Audacity document prior to final edit, audio quality massage etc. So I really need to keep these 3-track chunks together as units, as I paste them into the destination project. I need to paste them into 3 target tracks in the new document, and this indeed can be done. Like this:

  1. select chunk of stereo track in master audacity doc.
  2. use Shift-Arrow to extend selection to the companion mono track immediately below it in the GUI
  3. Copy
  4. move focus to new document window and select insertion point in stereo track
  5. shift-click on mono track below to select it as well
  6. Paste

That works, but it sure seems clunky. Steps 2 and 5 seem so repetitive and annoyingly unnecessary, when my intent is clearly to edit these 2 multitrack documents as units, not as separate tracks.

I wish I could Group the three tracks (both in the source and the target document) so that I just select, copy, paste as I would with a single track, without having to do the selection extension manually every single time (grrr!). I have tried various tricks, but so far have not found any way to make N tracks behave like 1 track for copy and paste.

What I really want is a kind of super-stereo or multitrack editing. You would think that sync lock would work this way – but I have both source and target tracked sync locked in their respective windows, and I still have to do manual selection extension every time.

Maybe the devs thought that this kind of cherry picking of audio was the last phase of editing, after audio quality tweaking and mixdown to a single stereo track. But in the case of looong spoken word raw audio, it would be really wasteful of my time to do all the fine quality editing on all 2.5 hours, mix down, and only then start picking out the bits for airplay. Mixing down too early would mean not being able to untangle interruptions and talk-overs, etc.

So, here’s my request. When multiple tracks are sync locked, make Copy and Paste work automatically across all of them, just like cut/delete does. Eliminate the repetitive hiccup of selection extension on every single darned copy and every single darned paste.

I don’t know what the default shortcut is on macOS (you can change / customise keyboard shortcuts), but wouldn’t this be more streamlined if you used “Select in all tracks”

I assume that you are already using shortcuts for copy / paste.

To take it one step further, you could create Macro commands for:

  • “Select in all tracks” then “Copy”
  • “Select in all tracks” then “Paste”

and assign shortcuts to each.

Also, you might be able to eliminate step 2 by dragging the mouse down to the second track.

I’ve been using this, and it works very nicely.

I’ve assigned the shortcuts “Ctrl + Shift +C” to “Copy from all tracks”, and “Ctrl + Shift + V” to “Paste to all tracks”.
These are the macros:
Paste to all tracks.txt (21 Bytes)
Copy from all tracks.txt (20 Bytes)
(See also:

Note: “Ctrl + Shift + C” is the default for “Collapse all tracks”, so if you want to retain that shortcut you would need to use a different key combination.
Note 2: macOS usually uses “⌘” (“Command”) in place of “Ctrl”.