Completed Proposal Non-grayed-out editing commands
|Proposal pages help us get from feature requests into actual plans. This page is a proposal to not gray out the editing cammands tha relu uopn a selection when no selection is present.|
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Now that we have addressed for 2.1.3 the issue of grayed-out commands while in Pause mode there remains the issue of grayed-out commands when no selection is present.
Users are often confused that their editing commands can appear grayed-out and inoperable. This occurs when they issue a command that relies on the presence of a selection and they have not made a selection.
We addressed this problem earlier by adding the "Select all if none selected" preference with the default setting of "on". This mitigated the problem in that the user always had an automatic "selection" even if they had not explicitly made one and thus the commands were not grayed-out if this remained "on", but it did little or nothing to educate the user about the importance of selections in Audacity - plus it made the GUI more opaque that it need be. This is exacerbated as when such an automatic select all in in force as the GUI does not apply the dark gray background to the selected waveforms to indicate the selection with a visual cue.
Further if the user has turned off the "Select all if none selected" a while back and forgotten about it they can then get confused by the graying out and lack of action and can't figure out what to do (and the current GUI is of no assistance in this situation).
Users really do need to learn about making selections, it is one of the fundamentals of Audacity usage.
Do not gray-out the commands if a command is invoked that requires a selection with no selection present, then we pop an informative help message to the user telling them to make a selection.
This would be both easily "discoverable" and at the same time educational - and would make for a much clearer GUI.
We could even add a Help button in the dialog to take the user the the page on Selecting Audio in the Manual (like the one we have in the new Timer Record setup dialog).
- Bill 06May2017: -1
Too complicated. Anyone using an editor of any kind (word, graphics, or audio) should understand “select, then act” or “noun, verb”.
I thought I might support it without the complicated modeless dialog that stays on the screen while the user makes a selection (instead a modal dialog that says, in effect: "Hey dummy! Make a selection first!"), but I remain convinced that menu commands that cannot be executed should be disabled.
- Peter 07May17: -1
I used to support this (it was my proposal in the first place) but having read Bill's critique I find myself agreeing with him that this proposal hase morphed into a too complication proposition. If you look at the original poposal for this (see History) then you will see that my original proposal was for a simple "modal dialog that says, in effect: "Hey dummy! Make a selection first!" - I would still support such a simple modal error message.
- Many reports on the Forum of confusion caused by Grayed-out commands
- Users are particularly confused when they have an automatic (and invisible) Select All present and then they hit the Delete or Cut commands and all their audio disappears.
- A pop-up modeless "reminder"
- "Please select some audio for <name of command> to act on, then click OK"
- Add a Selecting Audio in the Manual button in the "reminder" dialog to take the user the the page on
- User makes the audio selection that they want (not our guess, which we acknowledge will frequently be wrong) and clicks the button.
- On clicking , the "reminder" closes and the effect UI pops up (or for effects with no UI, the effect is applied).
- We should probably retain the existing "Select all if none selected" preference, but turn it "off" by default for first installation and for reset of audacity.cfg. All other existing users would have their .cfg unchanged.
- Add a FAQ for "How do I get the automatic "Select All" for any users who lose this functionality as part of a re-install with a reset and can't find the Preference.
- We may need to add advice in the message telling the user that they would need to use Preferences to turn off automatic selection if and when no longer required. As after checking the auto-selection checkbox in the meassge than they will not see the message again.
The Message (message box title - No Audio Selected):
Cannot apply Reverb effect: No audio selected.
Select the audio that you wish to apply Reverb to,
then press "OK" to continue.
[Help] [Cancel] [OK]
An alternative message that offers full project selection and the opportunity to make that automatic in future.
Select some audio for <action> to act on, for example by click and drag, then click OK.
Or choose options for selecting the entire project then click OK.
[_] Select entire project now
[_] Enable Preference to auto-select entire project for action
- The message names the selected effect/generator/analyzer/command.
- The button remains grayed out until there is an audio selection.
- The button closes the dialog and cancels the effect.
- The button opens an appropriate page in the manual.
When a selection is subsequently made, thebutton becomes active, and clicking on it will:
- Close the message dialog.
- Launch the selected (named) effect or command.
Select All on None
- Default setting for select-all-on-none would be set to disabled, rather than removing that setting entirely.
Previous Feature Requests relating to this proposal