Why such a stupid icon?

After all these years, I’m still mystified about Audacity’s choice of icon for the range selection tool. Why use the I-bar? That’s useful for (probably designed for) TEXT range selection, but it’s useless for waveform range selection. I’d love to have a chance to try out the crosshair icon, the logical choice.

Hmmmm… There is no vertical (amplitude) selection. You can only select samples on the timeline. If that’s confusing, look at this tutorial. Each sample represents the (positive or negative) amplitude at one instant in time, and in the digital domain there is nothing in-between samples. If you zoom-in far-enough, Audacity will show the individual samples.

My point exactly. The I-bar has a timeline width. Ideally, the range selector should be a 1-pixel-wide vertical bar, but that would be hard to keep an eye on. That’s why I suggested the crosshair. It’s the head and foot of the I-bar that get in the way. How can I pick a new range-selector icon?

Try using the 3.4 alpha, it’s got a new I-beam that’s more open.

A crosshair definitely is the wrong choice here as we don’t do a box selection. An I-beam, while being slightly unoptimized in shape, conveys the behavior a selection will have much better than a crosshair. Having the I-beam be entirely “sans-serif” would greatly trade off legibility and recognizability for that little bit more correctness and unobstructiveness, and I don’t think it’s a worthwhile trade as the default choice.

If you want to change the I-beam to have no “serifs” at all, you just need to edit the file
/images/Cursors32/IBeamCursor.xpm (which basically is ASCII art) and compile Audacity.

Thanks for the info on where and in which format Audacity stores its tool icons.
I’ve played around with the ASCII art (new notion for me) for IBeamCursor.xpm. It’s great fun, isn’t it? I managed to edit it so that it looked as I want it, in Image Viewer.
Your last three words brought me up short, though. “and compile Audacity.” This doesn’t sound like an easy-maintenance, user-friendly tactic, does it? The last time I tried to compile anything was over four years ago, and I couldn’t get past ‘make’.
By the bye, I’m using four machines that only I have access to, so other people’s notions on which icons are pegged into which uses doesn’t really impinge.
Be an angel and point me in the right direction for “and compile”, would you?

instructions can be found here:

Bless you!
You have been very generous and understanding.