Preview Versions

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Audacity is experimenting with an early adopter's program.
Users who want to give us feedback can get early access to Preview Versions of Audacity that we are working on. We get feedback on the work in progress, and the feedback helps us shape what we eventually release much later to the general public.

How we use Feedback


Often we are working on features a year or more before the feature will be made available to the general public. For example, DarkAudacity had theming and new menus ready to use on Windows platform over a year before the dark theme was offered in Audacity itself.

We have work right now in progress on punch-in and roll, and on a wave magnifier that are more than two years old. These features are still many months from official release. These don't go straight into Audacity, because we are still getting them right. We intend to make this work available in preview versions of Audacity. The preview versions are only intended for people in the early adopter's program.

Feedback will help us:

  • Find and remove bugs.
  • Improve the design of features.

In the Early Adopter's Program we hope there will be a sense of excitement about the new work that is coming on stream, and that the community of early adopters will help us with feedback that helps us to progress the features.

How the Early Adopter's Program Works

People participating need to sign up for the early adopter's program. We need to keep them informed of news, good and bad. It is also no use to us unless we are in communication and are getting feedback. We ask that users in the program export any newly recorded audio as wave before doing any editing work using the new features. This substantially reduces the risks. A bug may lose editing work, but is unlikely to lose the original recording. We strive to make these preview releases safe to use.

Some key points:

  • If we find some devastating bug in a preview version, we email participants immediately to warn them of it.
    • This further reduces the likelihood of it causing a serious problem. It helps us to track down the bug too, as participants are on the look out for it.
  • We look for feedback on the design of new features.
    • In the past this has been particularly valuable from visually impaired users, since most developers are developing from the perspective of a user with normal/good vision. It has led to Audacity having much better keyboard navigation than it otherwise would.

Planned Preview Versions in 2018

DarkAudacity (update)

Now with:

  • Smarter toolbars that look better, use space better, and give you more precision in settings.
  • More easy control over colours, for individual clips and greater clarity in the spectrogram.
  • Other top secret plans :-)

AudacityLabs (new)

A new preview release with:

  • Many features for Voice Over work.
  • New experimental work on MIDI.
  • Other top secret plans :-)

for More Committed Bug Hunters

Some early adopters will want to be more committed testers of the early versions, and help us find the exact sequence of actions that cause hard to reproduce bugs to occur. Users who are particularly helpful with bug hunting will graduate to having bugzilla access so they can log bugs rather than have someone from Audacity log the bugs.

for More Committed Designers

Some early adopters will have strong opinions and be able to offer detailed ideas for design improvements. In some cases we will make the wiki design pages available so that people with design ideas can show screenshots and collaborate in refining the ideas.