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When not happy with the results in an animation the action can be edited again (Tab in NLA-editor). After that the action is displayed with a snowflake indicating that it needs to be freezed again.

After editing

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After adding the updated action (Shift-A Add Action Strip) shown as Walk.001

enter image description here

Do I really need to replace all occurences of the edited action in the NLA-editor or is there a another way to apply changes (in place) ?

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The snowflake button is only displayed for actions not added as an NLA strip, or newly created ones.

For actions already contained in a strip, it's much easier to select the strip and Tab to tweak it. After that, just Tab again to exit strip-tweaking mode. There's no need to replace existing strips: the action's change will be reflected immediately in all strips containing it.

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At worst, you will have to Sync Action Length Alt-R on each strips and rearrange them if their action's duration is changed. Replacing action strips is almost never necessary.

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