Can I Create a Single File with Navigable Chapters?

I’m trying to create a single audio file of an audio book that listeners can navigate through as they listen. (I’m using Audacity 2.1.3 on my Mac OS 10.12.4.) I’ve successfully gone through the steps of joining or stitching the audio files of my book (one file for each chapter) together as a single audio file 5+ hours long. Then, I successfully “added labels at selection,” so each chapter has its own heading. I exported the big file under “export multiple,” but that of course got me a laundry list of separate audio files. I can export the big file (with chapter labels) whole, but the chapter headings don’t show up when I play it. It’s like an old cassette where there’s no way to navigate to a track you want to listen to.

I want to offer this audio book on my web site, and allow listeners to scroll through chapters, hop to any chapter, etc. Is there a way I can do this technically using Audacity? This is my first effort at something like this and I’m mystified. I don’t find instructions anywhere in the online manual. Thank you!

Like an Audio CD. No, not that I know of. It’s a popular request.

If you’re a dot-com, you can produce the HTML code for a navigable web page.



Many thanks for your reply. That seems amazing to me . . . no one has figured this out technically?

It used to be possible to create chapters in either iTunes or GarageBand, but only for Apple’s AAC format, and mostly only supported by Apple apps. It appears that Apple have now removed the feature from both iTunes and GarageBand in their current versions (they have also removed support for “podcast projects” in GarageBand).

Possibly a better approach (one that also works for the 90% of computers that aren’t Mac) is to save each chapter as a separate file, in whatever your preferred format, and create a “playlist” to tie the chapters together into a book. See:


That makes sense! :unamused: I wasn’t thinking along those lines, but it should be easily doable. I can create a folder on the inbound marketing platform we use (and where we store our audio files). Within that folder, I can then upload and label the individual audio chapter files. Anyone who downloads the folder can then click onto whatever chapter they want to listen to at any time. Thank you.

click onto whatever chapter they want to listen to at any time.

True, but the CD Gold Standard is to click on the first one and the others play in sequence with no further work. You can stop wherever you want and restart it later and go on to the rest of the show automatically.

Even better, missing all chapter management. I really enjoyed the chapter which just stopped. I wonder which one it was? I get stuck with that problem sorting unconnected, partially-played podcasts on a personal music player.


The primitive steps “Option 2” still work in iTunes 12.5 per this link If you use Chapter Mark (Option 1 in that link) doesn’t iTunes recognise it as an audio book?


What does that actually do? Does it create a single file with navigable chapters?

Koz, yes, the “CD gold standard” is what I would like: the listener clicks on the book and it plays, with chapters discernible and navigable. does this seamlessly once you’ve bought an audio book from them. So, my whole approach is to find a way to do that with a self-produced version of an audio book.

Gale, any steps I may take (primitive or not) to work out the problem via iTunes/Apple would mean pc listeners would still be stuck, yes?

once you’ve bought an audio book from them

Actually, if I had to guess at it, you buy the work from them—probably encrypted—and a rights manager/player. Also, I’m completely sure, wrapped up in an APP for phone users.

My audiobooks are all in hardware, so I never ran into this.

Absent the encryption and fancy-pants management, create a “fake” album and anybody with a personal music player will play it like you want. I created a “mix” called Island Music and played each song in series automatically in the Jeep last time I visited Hawaii. In iTunes, it’s called Create New Playlist.

I’m sure it’s not that easy, but that’s another possibility.

I listen to podcasts as I hike around the neighborhood and as long as I don’t mess with the order too badly, they play oldest to newest automatically.

You can install iTunes in Windows (last I looked). Jury’s out on Android.


As far as I can tell, it only “looks” like it. As this link says, it’s a display change really. But I don’t know what iTunes could do before that you were describing, that made chapters.


This page from is interesting:

Why? If you make a single file audio book with chapters it should play on iTunes on Windows and Mac as far as I know.

But Chapter Mark for Mac appears to be discontinued, so If you want to do this on Mac you may have to open your wallet. Here is one application for Mac

And similar for Windows (free): .

Those are in fact the same applications mentioned in the link Steve just posted.


It’s also possible to create chapters using FFmpeg from the command line.

Here’s an example of the metadata from an M4B file that has chapter marks that work in iTunes:

Encoding Params=vers

More free M4B files @
title=The Art of War
artist=Sun Tzu
album=The Art of War
title=1 Laying Plans - 2 Waging War
title=3 Attack By Stratagem - 4 Tactical Dispositions
title=5 Energy - 6 Weak Points and Strong
title=7 Maneuvering - 8 Variation in Tactics
title=9 The Army on the March - 10 Terrain
title=11 The Nine Situations
title=12 The Attack By Fire - 13 The Use of Spies

and here’s the relevant page from the FFmpeg manual:

Note that an M4B file should be AAC encoded.