Advanced clipboard for complex journalistic projects

Hi everyone,

this is my first posting in the Audacity forums, although I’ve been using this software for a long time. I am a radio journalist and I would like to work with Audacity, which is a very powerful tool and whose Open Source philosophy I share. But unfortunately as soon as I have to work on complex projects involving the editing of a broadcast composed of numerous interviews the use of audacity becomes inconvenient.

I try to explain myself in more detail by giving an example of my workflow.

Normally a 25-minute audio documentary consists of 2-3 long interviews (10 minutes to an hour), music, archival pieces and sound effects.

My editing workflow consists of several steps:

  1. Transcription of the interviews
  2. Selection in each interview of the parts that will be used in the final edit
  3. Dividing the interview into segments that will then be organized along with music and sound effects in the final edit
  4. Final editing in a single file
  5. Mixing, mastering, etc.

The difficulty in using Audacity lies in the fact that there is no effective way to perform the actions in point 2 and 3.
In the programs I normally use (HIndenburg Journalist, DigaSystem) it is possible to select directly in the waveform a part of an interview and add it to a clipboard where all the clips of an interview can be organized to be reused later and rearranged on the editing timeline.
All of this can be done by importing all of the materials needed for the final edit into a single work session of the software, which can then be selected and sorted into the clipboard for later use in the desired order in the final edit by drag and drop on the timeline.

Having a similar feature in Audacity would make this software functional for journalistic work and a very powerful tool.



Tip 1:
When working on important projects, export backup copies frequently.
Record → Export backup
Normalize, trim, whatever to the recording → Export another backup
… → Another backup

I generally number the backups so that I have a series of backups in chronological order:

Tip 2:
When working on large projects, start with an empty folder to keep everything related to that project in one place.
I generally use a folder structure to organise the project:


JP Interview



I might do that by labelling the sections in step 2 (with meaningful names), then using “Export Multiple” to export each segment as a separate WAV file. (See: Exporting multiple audio files - Audacity Manual)

I would create a new project for this part, and drag in the segments that I want to use form my “segments” folder of WAV files.

Thank you Steve for your reply and your tips.

I had envisioned a similar solution myself, but this seems more like a workaround for two reasons:

  • because it implies a time-consuming work of selection and export, because it involves exiting and re-entering the audacity GUI.
  • because it is an inflexible solution: once exported in .wav format, it is no longer possible to change the length of the excerpt to adapt it dynamically to the editing, something that must be done often. In fact, it happens that when a part of the interview is selected, it must be adapted by adding or subtracting parts.

A clipboard like the one proposed by Hindenburg is much more intuitive and flexible, because you can insert the clips on the timeline simply with cut and paste and the clips, once on the timeline, you can lengthen or shorten as needed.

From this point of view I think that the functions proposed by Qtractor (Open source) are more advanced.

Use the right tool for the job. If you need the functionality of a full featured DAW, use a full featured DAW (I use Ardour 5 when I need a DAW). When you need an audio editor, Audacity is a great choice. Personally I hope that Audacity never becomes as complex as full featured DAWs - Audacity’s relative simplicity provides a very fast workflow for editing jobs.

“Ah, but surely we can just add …”
“and …”
“and …”

Yes I agree that a “clip library” of some sort could be useful for some big projects, but in many cases you can just use muted tracks as a clip library (becomes less practical with very large projects, which is when I use the approach described in my previous post).

I Hear you Steve,

But not even in Ardour, which I have tried, is there a feature like the one I described. This is because in general DAWs are designed for musicians. Journalists, on the other hand, need less functionality and options, which makes a DAW overkill for a job like mine. That’s why Audacity with the addition of a clipboard that allows you to organize the various clips dynamically would be a unique and very useful tool.

In the radio company I work for, we use software designed for journalistic editing, of which I’m sending you a screenshot. It is a very simple program in its conception, produced by DAVID Systems. As you can see on the right side of the screen is the clipboard space.

At the moment I’m afraid there is no alternative to the use of proprietary software…


Well there is an alternative, as I’ve described, but if another app suits your task better, then it makes sense to use the other app.

as I said, I’ve been using and appreciating Audacity for a long time, and that’s just why I decided to make a proposal for what seems to me to be a possible and well-justified improvement. On the other hand, the Forum section “Adding faeatures to Audacity” seems to me to serve precisely this purpose…
I propose an improvement to a software that I appreciate also because it is open source and you reply: “But why don’t you continue to use your proprietary software?” Obviously this is not the point. The point is that with the addition that I propose Audacity would become a much more useful tool for professionals like me.
But, if this causes irritation, I apologize and shut up.
Best regards


Yes, and your proposal is very welcome.

I agree that it could be useful in some cases, though I have doubts about how many users it will actually benefit, and I’ve described two alternatives that can already be done with Audacity. Even if the management think your proposal is a terrific idea, it’s unlikely to be implemented very soon (lots of other priorities), so I hope that some of my suggestions may be useful in the meantime.

Thank you Steven.

Obviously, since it’s a proposal I certainly didn’t imagine it would be implemented tomorrow.
As for potential beneficiaries, it depends on who audacity is aimed at: if it is also aimed at the growing world of podcast production or audio documentaries that require the collage of different sources, I think there could be many beneficiaries.
Taking again the example of a paid software such as Hindenburg we can say that it is a software rather limited in use compared to Audacity and that its real strength, its real selling point, lies in the ability to organize clips and audio extracts.
As far as I’m concerned I can’t even imagine a complex audio project without having this option available.




the best place to situate a Feature Request is on the Audacity GitHub (you need a GitHub account - but these are free). The Muse folk who now run Audacity use GitHub as their preferred communication and issue tracking channel - it will get more and better exposure there.



Hi Mattia,

so I see you’ve done that, good:

And I also note that that is was flagged as an enhancement by LWinterberg the Audacity User Support Manager - so Muse (the owners of Audacity) have at least seen this and noted it.