How to select the last 5 seconds of a track?

I’m fairly new to Audacity and I just can’t seem to find a way of achieving what I thought should be a simple task. Could anyone please help?

I have a large number of recordings of videogame tunes. Because these tunes loop forever, my recordings all end abruptly—I therefore want to put a nice “fade out” on the last 5 seconds of each recording. But how do I do this?

I can select the end of the track by pressing “k”, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to expand the selection left or right by a specific length, nor do there seem to be any keyboard shortcuts to move the cursor by whole seconds.

Obviously, what I’m ideally looking for is a “fade out end of track over x seconds” feature, but I can’t seem to find one.

Am I missing something obvious here, or is it really unusual that I want to select a specific duration/portion of my track?

I’m running Audacity 2.0.1 on Windows 7 Home Premium SP1

You’d love the video editors.

[End] - 5 0 0 [Enter] backs up the cursor five seconds and no frames.

I don’t know any good way to do that in Audacity. As far as I know, we don’t have defined cursor position or shift.


Here’s one. The left arrow key will back up the cursor from Home, but you get to figure out how much. I’m still looking. Koz

Or when at the end, you can overtype the seconds field in the Selection Start box, decrementing the required number of seconds.

Oh, and if you are doing fades you may want to try a newish plugin written by Steve Daulton called Pro-Fade (only for fade outs). I now use it all the time in preference tp the standard linear fade in Audacity, much better musical results. See this thread:

And another tip: since you are doing a lot of these fades you might want to set up keyboard shortcuts for them, Audacity recently introduced user-settable shortcuts for effects, generators and analyzers (I use Alt + left-arrow for fade-in and Alt + right-arrow for Pro-fade-out). See this page in the manual for shortcut setting:


Thanks for that, but the “Selection start” box is rounded to the nearest second, so you can’t use it to move the cursor by a precise amount as it will jump to the nearest whole second. But it’s probably the best way I have to do it at the moment.

Thank you very, very much! :slight_smile: Steve’s Pro-Fade is miles better than the standard fade out! (Why isn’t this built-into Audacity?) And I will definitely be using shortcuts. Although if there were a proper function to fade out the end of the track by x seconds, I could batch process all my files automatically and wouldn’t have to open a single one!

You can right-click over any of the Selection Toolbar spinboxes and change the selection format. The hh:mm:ss + milliseconds choice is probably the most useful choice.

Probably easier than Selection Toolbar, from the end of the track, press [ on your keyboard. If you wanted to make a selection 10 milliseconds long going backwards from the end of the track, you would decrease the time counter by 10 milliseconds. You can use ] from the start of the track and increase the counter to draw a selection of defined length from the start of the track.

Similarly, use **[**and increase the time counter to nudge the cursor rightwards without making a selection.
Use ] and decrease the time counter to nudge the cursor leftwards without making a selection.

We can add a feature request to have a shortcut to nudge the cursor by a predefined amount. I think it would be easier than the [ and ]. For now, the nudge with left or right arrow key is an absolute distance, so the time duration it nudges depends on the zoom level.


Being able to run effects in Chains on other than the whole selection is yet another feature request.

However I think there is a solution now that Audacity can run Nyquist effects in Chains:

If you add that plug-in to a Chain and set “Fade out time” to 5 seconds, I think that will work.

We are actively discussing new fade/pro-fade/cross-fade/text envelope Nyquist plug-ins for possible shipping in Audacity. The problem is balancing this so that the plug-ins are reasonably simple yet have sufficient features so that we don’t need to ship half a dozen or more new plug-ins to do what everyone wants.


Brilliant, thanks! That will do it.

Thanks for that! Well, for most purposes I think it works fine as it is, with distance determined by zoom level. But it might be nice to have the option to make the cursor jump a specific distance.

With this change in mind (and other ideas I have), I would personally recommend the following changes to the Selection Toolbar:

  1. Get rid of having three different drop-down boxes for Start, End/Length and Audio Position, and instead have a single drop-down box titled “Time display format”, which is simpler and more clear what it is used for.
  2. Have two checkboxes to the right named “Snap to units” and “Cursor key moves units”
  3. To the right of that, a drop-down box titled “Unit length” with options such as seconds, 1/4 seconds, 1/8 seconds etc.
  4. Also, rename “Audio position” to “Playback position” which is far less ambiguous.
  5. I also think that “Selection length” should definitely have its own separate box, making three boxes: “Selection start”, “Selection end” and “Selection length”. Not only because is this much clearer to understand, but also currently when you have “length” selected, it behaves differently depending on whether you drag a selection left or right. Drag a selection right and you can’t see the time of the point you’re dragging; but drag it left and you can’t see the time of the point you’ve dragged from.

As a new forum member here, I’d like to add that this seems like a really great community and I think Audacity is excellent and I love the nature of it being a free program built and designed by volunteers. It’s wonderful! :slight_smile:

Not sure about that - you might want a fine selection format but to nudge by whole seconds, and many other combinations. Others who have asked for this want a Preference to set the duration nudged, though I agree some might actually want it the same as Selection Format.

It’s “Recording Position” as well.

What happens to “Audio Position”?

Well, except by adding the two values.

The reason we have the format selection in a context box and not a separate control is that when a high resolution format is chosen and/or the language is not English (where words are often longer) the Selection Toolbar content takes up the whole initialised screen width.

I’ll add your vote for separate End/Length boxes anyway - clearly there is a “demand” but the problem is accommodating the length.