Proposal Space Savers
...From Feature Requests
This is a page for suggestions for how to save space on the Audacity screen through new kinds of layout.
There can be many more tracks in a project than can be displayed easily on one screen.
The Shift-Ctrl-F (auto-fit all tracks) feature in Audacity 1.2.6 does a good job of making all the tracks visible in a project with many tracks. However the tracks end up having to be of very shallow height to fit on screen. Mute buttons etc. become hidden. Now that same difficulty can occur in Adobe Photoshop (a graphics image editor) if an image has many "layers". An elegant solution to this problem has been implemented in recent versions of Photoshop in the "layers palette". The same idea would work very well in Audacity. This is how it would work, translated into Audacity language:
- A menu option "Create new TRACK GROUP" creates something that looks like a new track - it has a name, delete, balance, volume, mute and solo buttons - but it is not an audio track - it is a track "set" or "folder" or "group" or "collection". It also has an expand/collapse button on the left. I will call this thing a "group" for now.
- Let's name this group "Rhythm", for example.
- If any audio tracks are dragged onto the "Rhythm" group they are displayed under that group.
- But if the "collapse" button of the "Rhythm" group is clicked then the single "group" track is displayed as one horizontal strip but all the audio tracks inside it are hidden from view.
- Balance, volume, mute and solo buttons on the Rhythm group strip control the playback of all the audio tracks inside that group (though each audio track still has its own specific settings).
- The Rhythm group, and other groups, can be manipulated in their collapsed state by dragging up and down, collapsing, expanding, muting, adjusting volume, etc.
- Individual audio tracks can be dragged from group to group, or dragged out of a group completely.
- The visual appearance of the waveform area of a "group" strip could be just blank, or it could show for instance a simple normalised sum of all the audio tracks inside - that would aid usability.
- Most of the audio editing functions would NOT be implemented for working on a "group" - that would still be done on the individual audio tracks visible in an expanded group.
Here is an example of what a user might create in a working project using this idea: Groups named "Rhythm", "Vocals", "Backing", "Count-in", "Roughwork", "Soundeffects", and "ScratchPad". Each group might contain about five separate audio tracks. That would be about thirty-five audio tracks in the project. Most of the groups would be displayed in the collapsed state with just one group expanded. All the tracks in the project would be available to view as desired without the confusion of all the tracks being in one unwieldy long scrolling list.
The current track panel is a list. In should become a tree - which is what is being suggested here. People who don't want that feature can go on using it in the current way, just by having a tree with everything at the same level. I think we should be able to operate on collapsed nodes just as if they were tracks in their own right. They become submixes, and the effect is applied to the mix. Similarly cut and paste should work in the same way, as long as you don't try to paste a mix of 7 tracks to a mix of 3 for example, which is like pasting stereo data into a mono track. James 09:00, 6 October 2007 (PDT)