Proposal: Rationalizing where new tracks are created to aid usability and consistency

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Proposal pages help us get from feature requests into actual plans. This page is a proposal to rationalize where new tracks are created to aid usability and consistency.
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 Problem

Where new tracks are created has mostly been out of the control of the user. Mostly these are placed at the end (bottom) of the project, which may not be ideal particularly for users with large multi-track projects.

We have received Feature Requests from users who would like to control where new tracks are placed in their project.

Proposed Feature

We should allow greater user control of where new tracks are created in Audacity by whatever means.

We should aim for consistency in our approach in doing this.

Developer/QA Backing

  • Peter (QA)
  • Steve (QA) wrote in the email discussion thread on the Quality list
    • I'd be happy with "Add track" adding a track below the track that has focus, if the behaviour is the same with other actions where:
      1. One or more tracks are added.
      2. The action does NOT act on and is NOT affected by selected audio.
  • Robert (Accessibility)

Use Cases

From User CharlieSummers on the Forum

Is there any way to coerce Audacity to create a new track under the currently-selected/working track instead of at the bottom? My workflow is such that after importing the tracks for the weekly show, I need to create tracks (mono and label, mostly) for copy/paste from other windows (voice tracking, interstitials, etc.). They show up at the bottom, and need to be dragged upwards to the currently-working area past all the imported tracks, fixed ending tracks, and such; which is...awkward with a lot of over-under-shooting, especially when I'm tired or in a hurry. (Deadlines? DEADLINES???)

Is there some secret key combination I don't know about that will create the track (regardless of type) directly below the currently-focused track instead of way down there?


The behavior varies depending on the command used and whether or not a selection exists.

These commands should create the new track after the currently focused track

The behaviour would thus be the same for:

  • Tracks > Add New > Mono Track
  • Tracks > Add New > Stereo Track
  • Tracks > Add New > Label Track
  • Generate > ... when there is no selection
  • Analyze > ... when no label track is selected
  • Transport > Recording > Record - Append record when there are insufficient track channels selected
  • Transport > Recording > Record New Track
  • Transport > Recording > Timer Record
  • Tools > Detect Upstream Dropouts

but would NOT apply to actions that require a track selection.

These commands should create the new track after the last (bottom-most) selected track

In these cases the commands act on the selection and not focus, so the new tracks will be relative to the selection.

  • Tracks > Mix and Render
  • Tracks > Mix and Render to New Track
  • Edit > Duplicate
  • Edit > Clip Boundaries > Split New

This command always goes at the top of the Project

  • Tracks > Add New > Time Track


In all cases (bar the exception below) Focus should be transferred to the new track.


There is at least one case where this should not be the case. If the Use dialog for name of new label option is checked in Tracks Behaviors preferences, and creating a label causes a new Label Track to be created, then when the new label dialog closes, focus is returned to the original track. This is for the benefit of keyboard users.

GUI Examples

Not needed.

Previous Feature Requests relating to this proposal

Resolved Fixed

  • P2 Bug #2214 - Rendering a single track unnecessarily moves the track to project bottom