[solved: "Trim Contents"] Dragging contents of region ("waveform")?

Something I miss in Ardour is mouse-dragging the “waveform” of a region without moving the region (boundaries) itself!

Example: We have a to fix only one late note of a recorded instrument:

So in order to move the one note, you now have to something like:

  • cut before the late note
  • cut after the note
  • move the newly created short region a little bit to the left (to where the note should be)
  • extend the end of the region (fill gap that opened to following region)
  • maybe smooth out overlaps (crossfades)

In former times (on Cubase: “Hold down Alt-Shift, click the event, and drag to the left or right”) I was very used to being able to drag the contents of an audio region without moving the region itself, looks something like this (please don’t mind the bad painting skills, I’m an audio guy :wink:):

I really love and miss this small but very handy feature. To fix our example, you just do:

  • cut before
  • cut after
  • drag “waveform”

(Of course (from Cubase manual): “You cannot slide an audio event past the start or end of the actual audio clip. If the event plays the whole clip, you cannot slide the audio at all.”)

Is this maybe somehow possible in Ardour and I missed it? Or do you have a suggestion for better workflow for me?

Thanks a lot and best regards

Yes. It’s called “Trim Contents”, and is somewhat tricky to do with default settings.

Enable Preferences > Appearance > Editor > Use name highlight bars in region display
Then hold Ctrl and start a drag on the name-bar.


Alternatively change Preferences > Editor > Modifiers so that Ctrl+drag does not initiate a region copy, but initiates a trim.

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Hi Robin,

This is just fabulous!!! I am really baffled.

But seriously, how the heck is one supposed to find that? I honestly read through the whole manual, but this awesomely great feature is not mentioned there at all…!?

I wonder what else I missed so far… :wink:

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PS. You can also do this when holding Ctrl (Cmd on Mac) while starting a trim on a region’s left/right edge.
Using the name-bar allows to do this from everywhere, so you don’t need to have the whole region with region boundaries visible.

Beats me.
Harrison has some nice documentation, most of which also applies to Ardour’s Editor:


Thanks for this great tips!

Actually, in the past few minutes I was not able to achieve it with Ctrl+dragging the waveform (no matter what modifiers I set for copying and trimming)…

But your clue with Ctrl+dragging the regions edges is a wonderful solution!!

Thank you so much!!

Do you have the highlight bar at the bottom visible? You actually have to CTRL+DRAG on the highlight bar, not the waveform, and by default it is not visible (See Robin’s post above for how to address that)

When I just click on the highlight bar, the whole track disappears. Is that intentional?

(It doesn’t in Ardour 6 so I assume this is a buglet in 5.12.)

Thanks for chiming in! I understood Robin’s instructions and yes, it works great with the highlight bar, but I usually don’t use it (maybe could try it out more thoroughly)… But without the bar, the only solution for me is Ctrl+dragging the left/right edges and this is a great solution (even if it should also work to change Preferences > Modifiers as suggested by Robin as alternative, which didn’t work for me in a quick attempt)…

Anyways, thank you guys a dozen! I will mark the thread as solved.

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