Appending Tracks

I installed Audacity to record an audio book. I’ve used other audio software to make an audio book on my old XP machine but that software went away when I upgraded to Win 7 so here I am.

It took me a LONG time and lots of frustration to find that the only way I can stop and then start up again and continue to record on the SAME track is to hold down the SHIFT key while simultaneously clicking on the RECORD button. Most audio software I’ve seen or used continues your recording in your active track by default so this was totally unexpected. To start a new track in the other software I’ve used the user clicks “NEW” under the File menu so the way Audacity does it is not at all expected.

It should not be so hard to find out how to avoid this problem or fix things if you find yourself with eight or nine tracks when you really want one long, end-to-end track.

  1. Audacity should default to appending new audio to the currently-selected track. The “Always start a new track each time you press the Record button” should be a settable option.
  2. There should be a radio button on the “Preferences–>Record” menu for the options “After Stopping, Continue Recording In The Currently-Selected Track” and “After Stopping Start Recording In A New Track.”
  3. Right clicking on the RECORD button should drop down a similar menu choice
  4. The TRACKS menu should have two menu choices added:
    A) “Add Selected Tracks End-To-End In Screen Order”, and
    B) “Add All Tracks End-To-End In Screen Order”

If tracks 2, 3, and 4 were selected then “A” above would add track 4 to the end of track 3, add combined tracks 3+4 to the end of track 2 you would have one new track containing 2+3+4 in that order.

B above would add 4 to the end of 3, 3+4 to the end of 2 and 2+3+4 to the end of 1 so that the new track order was 1+2+3+4

This way if the user ended up with ten or fifteen tracks because they failed to use SHIFT-RECORD or failed to use the PAUSE button instead of the STOP button they could easily combine those sequentially-created tracks into one track.

When you are creating an audio book you almost never want to overlay tracks or create stereo recordings. You want one long mono track for each chapter but you want to stop, start, edit, etc. as you are creating that one track. PAUSE isn’t necessarily a good idea because you actually do want to stop, play, tweak, etc. then start again at the end where you left off in the same track.

This is totally different from how a musician who want to lay down separate tracks for separate instruments and overlay them to play all at once wants to work.

There needs to be a choice in preferences so that the audio book users and the musicians can each choose the track scheme, New or Append, that best suits their use.

  1. The user should be able to re-order tracks by dragging-and-dropping them to put them into any order they want. This is because Option A above works on selected tracks. The user might want to re-arrange the order of the tracks, THEN select the ones they want to append, e.g. move 2 to 3 so that 3 becomes 2 then append the reordered 2, 3, 5 and 7 in that order by activating Option A above.

–David Grace

Audacity is a multi-track editor. It cannot do punch-in recordings automatically yet, which is what you are asking for if the cursor was in the middle of the track.

The Record button shows to use SHIFT for Append Record in its tooltip when you hover over it.

No, see above. We have to consider all use cases.

There should be an option to append record by just clicking the Record button.

Are you asking for a timer-based restart of recording after stopping? Otherwise you could use the preference suggested above. The developers are against adding new preferences unless they have the strongest possible case.

We are keen to add an append tracks end-to-end command and even have a patch written for it
(still being considered). I hope it will appear in a future Audacity version.

Please try the Stop and Set Cursor shortcut SHIFT + A. .

I would personally like to see this get its own button or at a minimum a SHIFT action on the Stop button to do so.

If you mean reorder the tracks vertically, you can already do that. Click and drag in empty space on the Track Control Panel to left of the waveform .

Or are you talking about reordering clips in one track? That can be done by enabling Time Shift Tool and dragging, assuming you already have a separate clip in the track and that there is enough space to drop the clip into its new position. .

Thanks for your input,


It took me half a night and half a day until I came here to find the answer. This is so unbelievable that this is a problem. A devoted cakewalk user for years, it is such a simple feature I would think that it be everywhere else; if you stop recording, edit or delete a section you hit record and it just picks up where you left off. I didn’t realize how much I appreciated the simplicity of it until I tried it here. I too record spoken word so I just need ONE TRACK and this thing gives me 20 tracks (if I let it) just for what should be on one. There is no excuse for it although it appears the post above tried to give one. I am glad I found your post and what to do.

Audacity is designed as a flexible multi-track audio production tool that is used by all sorts of people for doing all sorts of things. Some design decisions may suit other users better than they suit you. You can’t keep all the people happy all of the time.

I presume that you don’t find it too arduous to use shift+R for “Append Record”? If you do, then you could customise the keyboard shortcuts to suit your requirements:

For the record, I actually support Audacity having a punch-in recording feature. :wink:


Me too Gale. Do you know if this is in the pipeline for a future release of Audacity?

Not in the pipeline as such, though future changes may make it easier to manage aligning of the new take in its own track.

I can add your “vote” for punch-in. Some of us are opposed to it unless it is very failsafe against user error, for example the different takes might be stored in “layers” that you can choose from rather than being directly punched in when you record.