Is Audacity for me

I am not sure if I’m using Audacity correctly or if a different program would serve my needs better. I am using the program to play back lectures that I have recorded. I must have the ability to fast forward or rewind often to replay segments, usually in the 15-30 second range. A playback speed adjustment would be helpful (I cannot hear any difference when trying to use that feature in Audacity). Being able to bookmark segments for later replay would also be great also.

Thanks in advance… Bob

I must have the ability to fast forward or rewind

Audacity will not “Scrub” or scan rapidly forward and back. So that’s us in a hat.


It sounds as if Audacity were ideal for you.
You can make little or big jumps while you play the lectures back.

  • Short jumps: left or right (arrow keys).
  • long jumps: shift-left/right or shift-period/comma (latter also when stopped).
    You can change the specific seconds in the preference menu (ctrl-p) under playback (second from above).
    You can also assign other key bindings (keyboard, also in preferences). Look for short and long seek during playback.

The bookmarks are called labels and can be created during stop, playback and record as well.
For selections, use ctrl-b, to place a label at playback/record position, press ctrl-m.
Note that Audacity expects a text to be entered, in any case, press enter to confirm label (empty or not). See documentation for details.
The playback at speed has its own button and you’ll notice only a difference if you change the settings.
For convenience, I’ve assigned shortcuts to do this.

  • Shift-Num pad 5: enter setting
  • Num pad 5: play at speed
  • Num pad 8: increase speed; Num pad 4: decrease speed.
    This keys are all bunched together in the keyboard section of the preference menu, at the very end of the list (if all categories is chosen).
    I hope this will give you a smooth start.

Thanks for the help. Now I see why I missed most of these. Are they available via mouse click (pull-down menus, right click, etc.)?


Some. Have a read here Missing features - Audacity Support .


All work-arounds for not being able to scrub (a feature request).

If Bob wishes to vote for audio scrubbing he can choose from either of these and I’ll add his vote:

  • Basic functionality: Drag playback position left/right while playing (no effect until drop), or just click to skip to new position.
  • Audio reproduction while dragging/playing: Drag cursor back and forth across a particular point and hear the audio as a function of the direction and speed of the cursor.

Koz has already voted, so he can’t vote again. :wink:


Scrubbing is a natural function of video editors because they are video frame-centric. They have natural, convenient time divisions to reference for hopping forward and back. Also in a video editor, if you pause in one place (and hold the mouse button), the editor repeatedly plays the audio associated with that one video frame. nenenenenene tototototototo pepepepepepepe bubububububu. etc. When you rip across the timeline like a scared rabbit, the editor just skips video frames until you slow down enough for it to catch up (roughly similar to scanning an Audio CD). It’s dead simple, easy to master and really easy to find an edit point (even with your eyes closed).

So that’s the goal. People arriving here from the video world are stunned that we can’t do that. “How on earth do you find a cut point?”

“If the point is less than two but more than one minute away and it’s Wednesday, you press the shift and control keys and hold your tongue to the left…”


In earlier versions, I always used the left and right arrow keys to highlight a click (for simple deletion) that remained after using the automatic function, but in the 2.2.1 version of Audacity, they would not work. One of the replies led me to the Preferences menu (in Edit), and I found the key assignment parameters near the bottom of the list. I changed the assignment from the default and things are back to the way I like them. I’m not a perfectionist, so all I do is start with the 0.5-second interval view, listen to the audio (or spot an obvious click), expand the view with four clicks on the + button (top of Audacity screen), position the cursor just to one side of the anomaly, use the shift and right or left keys to highlight it, then hit the Delete key. Then I hit the - button four times to bring the view back to 0.5 second intervals. :smiley: (Windows 7 Home)