How to get started


I am sorry to ask this but I am completely lost in Audacity. The problem is I am blind (so I can use only shortcuts), and my English skills specific to Audacity/sound are low. And I dont find any step-to-step tutorial via keyboard to get started.

In my precise situation, I used 2.0.6 and had some shortcuts: r to start a recording playing the imported track, shift-a to put the work cursor at the point of the reading cursor. Now, on Debian testing with Audacity 2.2.2, I discovered via someone that r becomes shift-r, and I see that shift-a no longer exists.

My questions:

  1. What is the shortcut replacing shift-a now? In other words, when I am listening to a track how I can put the work cursor on it? The purpose: playing a track, stop and removing all what is from the beginning to the point when I paused.
  2. How can I easily know each evolutions during updates, is there an up-to-date manual?

Thanks for you help and tell me if further information help.


In old versions of Audacity, the default key binding for recording to a new track was “r” and for recording to the current track was “shift + r”. This has now been reversed as recording to the current track is used more frequently. So now, the key “r” records to the current track (previously called “append record”), and “shift + r” records to a new track.

To stop playback and have the cursor stop at the current play position, the key binding is now the single key “x” (as in “x marks the spot”).

There is an online manual for Audacity 2.2.2 here:
The online manual can be accessed via Audacity’s Help menu (the manual opens in your default web browser).
This manual is always kept up to date with the most recent release version of Audacity.
The manual can also be downloaded and installed, but it’s not particularly easy to do so on Linux (for Windows and Mac we include the manual in the binary package, but Linux packages are made by the distribution maintainers, and they don’t include the manual). If you have good internet access, it is much easier to use the on-line manual.

I would highly recommend signing up to the audacity4blind mailing list. Although most users on that list use Windows, there are Audacity users there that have a great deal of knowledge and experience regarding Audacity’s accessibility features. Information about subscribing to the audacity4blind mailing list can be found here:


Many thanks Steve for all this useful information. I am on the audacity4blind mailing, indeed. But it is very few often active, and I rarely gen answers.

I will have a look on the online manual you mention. I tried via the Help menu but the dialog was not accessible and I just get “Close” button and nothing readable via an assistive technology. Indeed, Audacity on Linux is not quite accessible but… I hope I will be able to work on it someday (it is worst and worst with releases so far). Typically many dialog widgets dont have a label to help the assistive technology, and in the newest release, when I move in the menus, my screen reader does not read the command directly but before, it reads all the menu. For example “Edit menu, copy” “Edit menu Undo” etc. But well, again, I hope I can help someday.

Last question: would it be useful if I help to translate the manual or other help document?

Best regards, I will test your reply