Standards and Conventions

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Audacity aims to follow recognized standards and conventions whenever applicable. This includes the choice of terminology (see: Wording), Human interface guidelines, format specifications, and platform specific conventions. For various reasons, Audacity sometimes diverges from accepted norms. This page is for tracking known issues where Audacity contravenes accepted standards.
New features or behaviors that conflict with established standards should NOT be logged here. They should be logged as bugs on Bugzilla, and ideally be fixed prior to release.
Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
Human Interface Guidelines

There are multiple "Human Interface Guidelines" (HIGs) for Desktop applications, and by and large they agree with each other:


Right Click Behavior

Reference: Microsoft HIG.

Microsoft and Apple (and may others) have GUI design guidelines that specify that right-click gestures should normally be reserved for a context menu or null.

Date Logged: 16Mar20

Occurances of Non-Standard Behavior:

  1. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Right click&drag to resize track height.
  2. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Right click&drag to resize relative channel sizes in a stereo track
  3. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Right click&drag to resize relative sizes in a Multi-view.
  4. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Right click&drag to reposition the pinned play head in the Timeline
  5. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Right click&drag to set the sliders in Mixer Toolbar
  6. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Right click&drag to set the slider in Play-at-Speed Toolbar
  7. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Right click&drag to set the slider in Mixer Board
Peter 17Apr20: the sliders in TCP and effects appear to be OK with null action on right-click&drag.

Amplitude Scale and Gain

Reference: Standard practice in audio software is to use dBFS for amplitude, and dB for gain.
Date Logged: 16Mar20

Description: Audacity is inconsistent in it's representation of amplitude, sometimes using dBFS (like the rest of the audio world) and sometimes using a linear scale of +/- 1. It is particularly confusing that Audacity's shipped generators use a linear scale of 0 to 1, and Audacity's shipped effects use dB.

Occurances of Non-Standard Behavior:

  1. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Track vertical ruler in "Waveform" view
  2. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Chirp
  3. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    DTMF Tones
  4. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Noise
  5. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Risset Drum
  6. Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
    Tone