Comparing the Waveform and Multitrack editors

Adobe Audition provides different views for editing audio files and creating multitrack mixes. To edit individual files, use the Waveform Editor. To mix multiple files and integrate them with video, use the Multitrack Editor.

The Waveform and Multitrack editors use different editing methods, and each has unique advantages. The Waveform Editor uses a destructive method, which changes audio data, permanently altering saved files. Such permanent changes are preferable when converting sample rate and bit depth, mastering, or batch processing. The Multitrack Editor uses a nondestructive method, which is impermanent and instantaneous, requiring more processing power, but increasing flexibility. This flexibility is preferable when gradually building and reevaluating a multilayered musical composition or video soundtrack.

You can combine destructive and nondestructive editing to suit the needs of a project. If a multitrack clip requires destructive editing, for example, simply double‑click it to enter the Waveform Editor. Likewise, if an edited waveform contains recent changes that you dislike, use the Undo command to revert to previous states—destructive edits aren’t applied until you save a file.

For more information about the Waveform Editor, see Editing audio files; for more information about the Multitrack Editor, see Mixing multitrack sessions.

Basic components of the editors

Though available options differ in the Waveform and Multitrack editors, both views share basic components, such as the tool and status bars, and the Editor panel.

Basic components of Waveform and Multitrack editors (Waveform shown)

A. View buttons and toolbar B. Editor panel with zoom navigator at top C. Various other panels D. Status bar 

Switch editors

  • Do one of the following:
    • From the View menu, choose Waveform or Multitrack Editor.
    • In the toolbar, click the Waveform  or Multitrack Editor  button.
    • In the Multitrack Editor, double‑click an audio clip to open it in the Waveform Editor. Alternatively, double‑click a file in the Files panel.

Zoom audio in the Editor panel

To zoom into a specific time range, right-click and drag.

A. Zoom navigator B. Timeline ruler 

Zoom into a specific time range

In either the zoom navigator or the timeline ruler, right-click and drag. The magnifying glass icon  creates a selection showing the range that will fill the Editor panel.

Zoom into a specific frequency range

In the vertical ruler for the spectral display, right-click and drag. (See View audio waveforms and spectrums.)

Extend or shorten the displayed range

Place the pointer over the left or right edge of the highlighted area in the zoom navigator, and then drag the magnifying glass icon .

Gradually zoom in or out

In the lower right of the Editor panel, click the Zoom In  or Zoom Out  button.


You can set the Zoom Factor in the General section of the Preferences dialog box. (See Customize preferences.)

Zoom with the mouse wheel or Mac trackpad

Place the pointer over the zoom navigator or ruler, and either roll the wheel or drag up or down with two fingers. (In the Waveform Editor, this zoom method also works when the pointer is over the waveform.)


Roll or drag over the spectral display, and press Shift to switch between logarithmic and linear frequency scales. (Logarithmic better reflects human hearing; linear makes individual frequencies more visually distinct.)

Magnify selected audio

In the lower right of the Editor panel, click the Zoom In At In Point , Zoom In At Out Point , or Zoom To Selection  buttons.

Display the entire audio file or multitrack session

In the lower right of the Editor panel, click the Zoom Out Full button .


To display zoom buttons in a separate panel, choose Window > Zoom.

At higher zoom levels, you can navigate to different audio content in the Editor panel.

Scrolling with the zoom navigator

  • In the zoom navigator, drag left or right.

  • To scroll through audio frequencies in the spectral display, drag up or down in the vertical ruler. (See View audio waveforms and spectrums.)

The Selection/View panel shows the start and end of the current selection and view in the Editor panel. The panel displays this information in the current time format, such as Decimal or Bars And Beats. (See Change the time display format.)

  1. To display the Selection/View panel, choose Window > Selection/View Controls.

  2. (Optional) Enter new values into the Begin, End, or Duration boxes to change the selection or view.

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