Before - original colour scheme
After - new colour scheme
Menus shorter and clearer than in Audacity
I’ve simplified the menus without losing functionality. I've made the menus shorter. I’ve kept the most used functions in the top levels of the menus. The functions moved down into lower sub menus are better organised.
There are new menu items for exporting as MP3 or WAV. Previously you had to export audio, and then choose the format. You still can do that, but these new items are there for convenience.
One of the long standing bug-bears with Audacity is the distinction between ‘Save’ and ‘Export’. People expect to be able to open a wav audio file, edit it in Audacity and then click save. That isn't how Audacity works. Audacity needs audio in its own unique format to work on it. So Audacity converts when you 'open' a wav file and converts back when you 'save'. In an attempt to make this clearer Audacity uses the word 'import' for opening a file like wav and 'export' for converting and saving in a format like wav. Open and Save are reserved for its own format.
Click on the link for a complete Spider diagram of the menus.
Now the ‘Export’ options are under the ‘Save Other’
menu item, where people trying to
save audio as an MP3 or WAV file are more likely to find
Before - numbers on the meter
After - cleaner meter
In DarkAudacity I’ve taken away unnecessary numbers that
were just visual clutter. The meter doesn’t have numbers
still get a good sense of whether the recording volume is
set too high or too low. If you want numbers you can read
them off on the waveform view.
Before - redundant information on the panel
After - cleaner panel
The sliders for volume no longer have tick marks. They don’t need them because when you drag the slider a tooltip tells you the actual setting.
There used to be a display of sample rate, and format at the
left of the waveform. That was visual clutter too. Most
people don’t need it. If you do want it you can see those
by clicking on the downward pointing triangle just to the
right of the track name.
Before - Sync-Lock button
After - Sync-Lock button not needed
The stop watch on the edit menu did not belong there. All the other buttons do something immediately like cut or paste audio when you click on them. Clicking on the stop watch turned something on or off. But what? Most people never found out.
The stop watch button was for 'Sync-Lock' a way to keep
tracks in step when you are editing a mix. When on,
tracks that edit in step gained a 'Sync-Lock' icon in the
panel to the left of the track. I intended to make that icon
into a button and use it to switch Sync-Lock on or off
removed the main Sync-Lock button. However, I ran out of
time for making the icon into a button and in the end
decided a button wasn't needed.
I also decided to rename the feature from Sync-Lock to
Time-Lock. Time-Lock can be turned on or off from the Tracks
menu. Now that the menus have been reorganised, that's
a perfectly good way of using it. Time-Lock isn't turned on
often enough to merit its own button.
Before - paused (most things disabled)
After - paused (but not frozen)
Countless users have got stuck in Audacity with nothing responding because 'Pause' was down. The fix is very simple. Pause now pops up and recording or playback stops if you try to do something that you can't do when it is down. Why we didn't see we could fix this sooner in Audacity I don't know.
I've made a similar fix for 'Snap To'. 'Snap To' is a mode
which, for example, you find you'll always select a whole
of seconds, never parts of a second. The 'Snap To' mode
leave users stuck only able to select whole seconds when
want to go in and edit audio shorter than that. They
know why. The fix for that is simple too. When you zoom in
enough and select, any 'Snap To' is switched off again. I'd
to see that in mainstream Audacity in due course
The Snap-To change didn't make it into the 2.1.3x version, but will be in the next one.
Before - Shift-Record records beside
After - Shift-Record now records below
Audacity used to start each new recording in a new track. The
result? You got a mix of all the recordings. If you held
down when clicking record you got 'Record-Append' which I am
rechristening ‘Record-Beside’ and the
was added on the end of the current audio track. Most people
want audio to add onto the end most of the time, so I
things round. Clicking record without shift now records
and record now records below.
Audacity and DarkAudacity have a new feature, thanks to Paul Licameli. Play (and Record) can be pinned or unpinned. In pinned mode the play head stays fixed and the waveform moves relative to it. In unpinned the play head moves.
Unpinned Play Head Design
Pinned Play Head Design
DarkAudacity proposed the (obvious in hindsight) option of
using a pin to indicate pin and unpinned. Also DarkAudacity
first implemented the changing of the play head shape when
or unpinned as a way to signal to the user that a change had
been made to how play-audio behaves. Both changes have been
by Audacity. Steve in Audacity went on to make the pin icon
more pointy, which helps it look like a pin. They said it
looked too much like a cotton reel.
Next: Traffic Light Survey