Using Audition to view, zoom, and navigate audio

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.

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 Waveform view
Basic Waveform view

Switch editors

  1. 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

Zoom navigator
Zoom navigator
Timeline ruler
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 to preset

Click on the Timer icon on the bottom of the Editor panel. There are five preset slots available that can be used to zoom to a specific time. In the Save Preset menu, you can overwrite a preset slot with the duration that is currently selected.

Zoom to time
Zoom to time

Zoom to selected clip

Quickly zoom to the time range of one or more selected clips using the Zoom menu command. In the Multitrack Editor, choose Zoom > Zoom To Selected Clips.

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 out full (all tracks)

You can zoom out all tracks to the same height to fully cover vertical spaces. The view will resize track heights to take up the full height of the multitrack editor panel. Track heights will resize to a consistent height. Minimized tracks will still remain at their minimum height.

To Zoom out full, choose View > Zoom Out Full (All Tracks).

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.

  • In the zoom navigator, drag left or right.
Scrolling with the zoom navigator

  •  Use horizontal mouse scroll or a middle button mouse drag to scroll the timeline in multitrack and waveform view.

  • 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.

Auto-scroll navigation

You can use auto-scroll to navigate on the waveform and multitrack editor. To choose the scroll type, open Preferences > Playback. Use the radio buttons to choose the type of scroll individually for both the editors.

  • Pagewise scroll: The playhead moves from left to right and jumps to the next frame when it hits the right corner.
  • Centered scroll: The playhead is positioned at the center and the track beneath it moves. Therefore, the current time of audio being played is always in the middle.
Auto-scroll under playback preferences
Auto-scroll under playback preferences

To set your preference to Enable auto-scroll when starting playback or recording, enable the checkbox.

Enable auto-scroll on start
Enable auto-scroll on start

Use the auto-scroll indicator () available in the Editor panel on the top-right corner in the Waveform editor, and top-left corner in the Multitrack editor, to enable or disable auto-scroll. Note that manually moving the playhead when auto-scroll is enabled, automatically disables the function.