Boundary Snap Guides

From Audacity Development Manual
Jump to: navigation, search
Boundary Snap Guides (or "Snap Guides" for short) make it easy to make a selection that starts or ends at a physical boundary like a point or region label or a clip inside the track. Snap Guides also let you exactly place the cursor at such a boundary.

When the selection or cursor exactly aligns with the boundary, the Snap Guide appears as a yellow vertical line at the point of alignment.

Advice Snap Guides are distinct from the Snap checkbox in Snapping Toolbar which snaps selection edges (or the cursor) to a chosen unit of time.
  • If "Snap" in Snapping Toolbar is enabled, mouse-dragged selections and mouse clicks will only snap to the chosen unit of time and not to physical boundaries (unless a boundary is already aligned with the chosen unit of time).
  • A track or clip can still be time-shifted to any location even if Snap is enabled, so Snap Guides will always appear when time-shifting towards a physical boundary.

How Snap Guides work

When you take any of the following actions:

then the selection boundary (or the boundary of the moved clip) will snap to the closest of the following physical boundaries:

  • The start or end of a track or clip
  • The start or end of a region label
  • The time position represented by a point label
  • Time zero (0 on the Timeline).

Additionally, clicking close to one of the above boundaries will automatically snap the click to the exact point of that boundary, moving the cursor position to the boundary.

Advice If there are two boundaries very close to one another and Audacity cannot tell which is appropriate, Audacity will not snap to either. To snap to one of them, zoom in so you can clearly position the mouse closer to one boundary than the other.


In the image below, there are three tracks: A "Host" track (where the host is asking the questions Q1-Q4), a "Guest" track where the guest is giving answers A1-A3, and a track for background music.

The clip A1 is being dragged with the mouse. When it reaches the boundary, a vertical yellow Snap Guide line appears through all the tracks, showing the position of the snap boundary. Once this Snap Guide is visible we can release the mouse and the dragged clip will be perfectly aligned with the one above:


Snap Guides let you easily select from one physical boundary to another. In the image below we use the Selection Tool buttonSelection Tool. We can now hover the mouse anywhere close to the boundary of any clip, so that clicking at that point snaps the cursor to exactly the boundary of that clip.

In the image, we selected the a portion of the background music from exactly where Q3 started to exactly where A3 ended. We now see two yellow vertical lines corresponding to the boundaries we are snapping to, again extending through all tracks in the project.

The example below shows using Snap Guide to align the cursor with a point label. Using Selection Tool buttonSelection Tool, we hovered then clicked at a point approximately close to the "02" label. Although we were zoomed a long way out, the click snapped to the label position, moving the cursor to exactly that point as indicated by the yellow Snap Guide line in the audio track above. Similarly, you can click to snap to either boundary of a region label.
Snapping to a point label.png