Completed: Proposal Binding Effects to Hot-Keys
|Proposal pages help us get from feature requests into actual plans. This page is a proposal to enable the Binding of chosen effects to buttons or keyboard shortcuts.
This is not intended to be tackled prior to the release of Audacity version 2.0
Proposal pages are used on an ongoing basis by the Audacity development team and are open to edits from visitors to the wiki. They are a good way to get community feedback on a proposal.
- Note: Proposals for Google Summer of Code projects are significantly different in structure, are submitted via Google's web app and may or may not have a corresponding proposal page.
The Effects list has grown very long in Audacity, most users use only a small subset of these effects and finding the ones they need in the long list is difficult (and requires at least two or more clicks).
A typical user's use of effects means that they will use a small subset - but each item will be used many times in the editing process.
The partial Solution 2.0.1 onwards
In 2.0.1 a partial soltion was implemented whereby keyboard shortcuts could be assigned to effects (and to the generators and analyzers) to invoke the effect. These are settable via the existing Keyboard Preferences in Audacity which hasve been extended to facilitate shortcut setting for Generate, Effect and Analyze.
For effects with no settable options or parameters the effect is invoked immediately on striking the shortcut key comibination. For effects with settable options or parameters the effect's dialog box is invoked, populated with the last-used settings, enabaling the user to either proceed with their recent settings by clicking on OK/Enter or they can alter those settings in the dialog box prior to using the effect.
What is not implemented in this partial solution is the ability to assign particular values and settings for any effect to a keyboard shortcut and thus the shortcuts do not operate as true "hot-keys" except for those effects that do not have settable options or parameters. And note that some users would require multiple hot-keys for a single effect so that different parameter/option settings could be stored and used as a hot-key combination.
For many users the current implementation will be perfectly adequate and is certainly a big improvement to Audacity.
Keys (and key combinations) to be assignable to commonly used effects.
The keys used and the effects to be bound to them to be definable by the user.
- Peter - the 2.0.1 partial solution is perfectly adequate for me for LP/tape transcription use (using shortcuts for fades is particularly valuable).
- Greg Kozikowski
- Ed Musgrove--though neither QA nor Developer, I am going to vote here. +1 for the concept of allowing shortcut key binding for effects; -1 for limiting the number.
- Bill Wharrie:
- I intensely disliked effects categorization as previously implemented - in some case I had to go three deep in the menu to get the effect I wanted. Much for fiddly than scrolling a long menu.
- I would prefer a system where the user can choose which effect they want to bind keys to.
User transcribing LPs or tapes This user will typically be repeatedly using the following five effects: Fade In, Fade Out, Click Removal, Noise Removal and Amplify (or Normalize). In particular the Fades are used at the beginning and end of each track, so several time for each LP, these involve 2 clicks each to activate. Each use of the effect. The other effects will often involve more than two clicks to activate.
- Keys (and keystroke combinations) to be assignable to commonly used effects. The keys used and the effects to be bound to them to be definable by the user.
- The keys to be usable in combination would be: Ctrl, Alt and Shift (as for the existing keyboard bindings).
- Although 5 to 7 keybindings for effects are likely to be ample for most users, there is no real need to limit the number as there are plenty of available keys that are not currently assigned in Preferences>Keyboard.
- The effects bindings to keys to be managed by the user through a new Preference page called "Effects Shortcuts" (see GUI mockup below).
- An alternative approach would be to use two tabs in the Effects dialog of Edit>Preferences, the first being for the existing Effects dialog and the second being for key bindings for effects (also see GUI mockup below).
- Audacity to check that the user is not attempting to define a key which already has a binding, either here or in Preferences>Keyboard - in which case the binding would be denied and a warning/error message raised.
- In order to make the facility more discoverable, at least one effect should have a default key assigned (I suggest "Amplify" would be a suitable effect to use as it is likely to be used by most users).
- Two radio buttons to be provided for each effect (where appropriate) for "Use Last Values" or "Use Default Values".
- If "Use Last Values" is checked, the effect dialog will be populated with the last used parameter values for the effect enabling the user to change any of those values if required prior to pressing the execcute command, the "OK" button (or execute on <ENTER> key, just as it is now).
- If "Use Default Values" is checked, the effect dialog will be populated with the Audacity default parameter values for the effect enabling the user to change any of those values if required prior to pressing the execcute command, the "OK" button (or execute on <ENTER> key, just as it is now).
- Only one of "Use Last Values" or "Use Default Values" can be selected "on" at a time. Clicking on the radio button that is not currently selected will select that one and de-select the previously selected one.
- Both radio buttons for any particular effect to be off and un-settable until a hot-key combination is typed for that effect by the user. At that point Audacity will set the "Use Last Values" as the defult stting to reatin compatibilty with current behavior.
- If the user clears the hot-key setting for the effect then Audacity will uncheck the currently checked radio button leaving both radio buttons unchecked.
- For effects that have no parameters (and thus no radio buttons or dialog box) when the user strikes the hot-key combination with some audio previously selected then Audacity will immediately activate the bound effect on the selected audio.
- The assigned hotkeys will be inoperable if no audio is selected (as is the current behavior with the items in the Effects menu).
The example below shows the Effects mapping as a separate entry in the Edit>Preferences dialog tree.
It may be preferred instead to tabulate the dialog box similar to the current Effects>Keyboard dialog, but with three columns: effect, shortcut and the radio button pair. This would have the benefit of keeping the shortcuts and the radio button pairs neatly lined up vertically.
The example below is the alternative proposal using tabs in the Effects dialg of Edit>Preferences
Thanks to Ed Musgrove for supplying the originals for both these mockups.
Please see the Talk page for further relevant details of the forum thread discussing this proposed GUI (and for an image of Ed's original proposed extended GUI derived from real code).
Previous Feature Requests relating to this proposal
This is one of the "Highest Rated" items in the list of Feature Requests on the Wiki.
- Bind effects to buttons or keyboard shortcuts: including particular parameters thereof e.g. one keystroke to amplify + 3 dB, another keystroke -3 dB, another to compress (34 votes)
- Effects for which this has been requested: Amplify; Change Speed; Fade In/Out; Generate Tone; Insert Silence; Noise Removal; Repair; DC removal ; Chris' Compressor
Related Feature Request
The following high-rated Feature Request is related to this current one in that if this proposal for effects binding to hot-keys is implemented then the objectors and objections to a structured Effects menu would disappear.
- Effects Categorization: Allow the effects drop-down menu capable of sub-folders or categorisation so that the user can organize his plug-ins however he wishes. (32 votes)
- Only 2 levels deep (Effects > Category), not 3 levels as tried before (Effects > Category > Sub Category). Sub categories are just too fiddly and too much clicking. With just one level of categories, the menu will open by hovering the mouse, making locating a specific effect much quicker and easier. (5 votes)
- Preference setting to turn categorisation off. (3 votes)
- Customised categories and sorting of entries (3 votes)
- Include "Favourites" folder at the top for frequently used plug-ins (could be either autogenerated and sorted by number of calls, or rely on user adding items) (10 votes)
- Set the menu to automatically detect and display subfolders of the Plug-Ins folder as categories. So if you have a folder called /Plug-Ins/MyEffects/ the menu shows Effects > MyEffects > (effects in the MyEffects folder). This should allow full customization of categories without having to do a major re-design.
- 1.3.6 Beta had incomplete categorisation of Nyquist and LADSPA plug-ins. Categorisation has a penalty in more difficult navigation, and was withdrawn from 1.3.7 until there is (at least) a way to turn it on and off.
This feature request is now included as part of the Proposal Menu Reorganisation