Labeling Tracks bombs & suggestions

Hi! :stuck_out_tongue:
HP Pavilion notebook, Win7 64, Audacity 2.1.3

I’ve been meaning to come here for months, please forgive
my resulting dam burst!

Adding to Labeling Tracks bombs recording:
While I’m recording lectures etc, I often take notes in the label track, to save listen-time for
later clean-up, etc.
But most times that causes the recording to stop with NO WARNING, often un-noticed for awhile.
Many key combos seemingly cause this, for example, starting a new note with a space. (I think.)
I thought I could avoid this by learning, but no, it’s been six? months, no help.
Most times I have no idea which key combo caused it.

Seemingly, besides the unwanted STOP, I think it also often changes modes, such as into
time-shift tool, and other unpredictable stuff.
If that cant be fixed, a loud BEEP or screen-flash warning when it jumps out
would be better than nothing…I could restart recording much sooner.

Minor problem 1:
Also, that is the only text text editor I’ve ever used that does not use the standard keyboard shortcuts, such as shift-del to cut, and shift-insert to paste. (This editor has it.)
The dropdown copy, cut, paste menu is 30 times slower.

Minor problem 2: Sometimes I have to delay editing, and a project will
accumulate 8 - 15 tracks and I’ll save it. But counting tracks is a guessing game,
I lose my place while scrolling. An auto-numbering in track name would
be way cool!

Minor problem 3: There is no way to save a single track’s labels, they all
save into a single file, with no easy way to differentiate between tracks
other than reading the times. (And sometimes the start times seem wrong?)
A blank line between tracks would be a big help.
(I sometimes paste my label notes into the MP3’s comments as an index,
or a side file.)

Minor problem 4: After the above unwanted STOP, in panic mode, I’ll restart
the lecture as another track, again taking notes. I have found no way to later copy
part 2 along with those notes to paste onto the end of the truncated track.
I forget if pasting a label track portion is impossible, or I just too difficult.
I get warnings like; You cant paste one type track into another. I know that, WTF?

A cool Bell/Whistle: If I could save the label track into the Mp3
(or a file) at the same time as I create/export the Mp3!
I think everyone would use that almost every time if
it was that easy!

Sample 2 saved label notes:
2334.627120 2334.627120 Soul in Hell
3252.279728 3252.279728 END

…I wonder if those seconds could be converted
into more human timekeeping?

Sorry for writing a frigging novel! :blush:
Thanks for considering!

Tip: Be very cautious using the spacebar while recording.

The spacebar is the keyboard shortcut for Play / Stop.
The spacebar CAN be used while writing or editing label text without affecting record / play, but you MUST be inside the label text area (ie editing the text). If focus is not inside the label text, then spacebar acts as a keyboard shortcut and will stop the recording.

Tip: When adding / editing labels during recording, get into the habit of using_underscore_instead_of_spaces (or-using-hyphens-if-you-find-that-easier.)

Almost certainly the spacebar, though “P” will Pause the recording if focus is not inside the label text.
Most other shortcuts are disabled during recording, though a few are necessary (such as Ctrl+B, Ctrl+M, Space, Pause).

The keys F1 to F6 select the different tools. On some keyboards it can be easy to activate these when intending to type a number.
These keys should not interrupt a recording, neither can I cause a recording to be interrupted by these keys.

:confused: Audacity isn’t a text editor - it’s an audio editor.

The standard shortcuts for Cut, Copy and Paste on Windows (and Linux) are:
Cut: Ctrl + X
Copy: Ctrl + C
Paste: Ctrl + V
(Keyboard shortcuts in Windows - Microsoft Support)
Audacity does support these keyboard shortcuts: Commands and Keyboard Shortcut Reference - Audacity Manual

See the “Name newly recorded tracks” section here: Recording Preferences - Audacity Manual

There may be a plug-in for that…
Yes, see this topic: Export Labels

Why not resume recording in the same track? (appending the original recording).
By default, the shortcut for Record / Append Record is “R”.

That would give you a non-standard MP3, with no guarantee that it will play on everything.

Times of labels are in seconds. It should be easy to convert into any other format with a spreadsheet.

:smiley: No problem, but if you wish to discuss any of these items in detail, I’d suggest that you stick to one issue per topic so as to keep the discussion focussed on the important issues.

If In Tracks Behaviors preferences you have checked “on” “Type to create a label”
IF you than click in the label track to start typing the label - and IF you start the the label with a space
THEN, yes Audacity will stop (it takes the Space as the command to Stop - it is the Stop/Start shortcut)

You can create a label while Recording which has spaces in it - but just not leading spaces.

The better way to create a label while recording is either
a) Ctrl+M - to create a label at the current record head position
b) position cursor on waveform and type Ctrl+B - this will make a label at that position
In both cases you can type label with leading spaces and embedded spaces.

If you want to continue using the “Type to create a label” feature and if you don’t need the Spacebar for a Start/Stop shortcut you can then either un-assign that shortcut or change it to a different keyboard shortcut - see: Shortcuts Preferences - Audacity Manual


That’s only helpful if you also go to Tracks Preferences and turn “on” “Show Audio track name as overlay” - as in the Track Control panel there is only room for “Audio Track” and not the numbering which gets truncated - see: Tracks Preferences - Audacity Manual


You can give the track a custom name that is short enough to be fully visible (or no name at all, just a number).
This setting is also in the “Name newly recorded tracks” preferences: Recording Preferences - Audacity Manual

That’s cute - and this is me writing that down :sunglasses:


I know, I made it :mrgreen:


But I note that it only affects tracks created by recording.

If you use Tracks > Add New > Stereo Track you still get the bog-standard "Audio track labelling :astonished:


Yes, that’s why it’s in the Recording Preferences.

One of the main objectives was to provide a way to know when events in the recording occurred (enable the timestamp option, and add the Timeline time to the time logged in the track name). Of course it can be used for many other purposes, such as Doug BB’s request for auto-numbering.

I’m guessing that you will next want to ask “Why not have options for tracks created in other ways?”
This type of feature can easily become overloaded with features and options. My aim was to focus on a common subset of use cases - that of auto-naming recordings. It could be particularly useful for people that regularly make timer recordings.

Many other “auto-naming” features could be achieved through plug-ins. Auto-naming recordings can’t, at least not very conveniently, hence making this a built-in feature rather than a plug-in.

Hahaha I’d spotted that :sunglasses: :ugeek:

Oh no I won’t :wink:

As you know I’m working on a different can o’ worms at the moment Steve …
can o worms.jpg

Many thanks everybody! :smiley:
I’ll need a few days to absorb and try that stuff.
The label plugin sounds real promising, is there
a page that explains installation?

Here’s a summery of one of my saved label files:
51 pages
1,668 lines
7,676 words
63,900 chars

A typical single label track is under 4 KB, (almost half is seconds).
I notice I can paste a 9 K Comment into an
MP3 with Winamp classic. Perhaps much more.
So that file will not play on some reputable players?

So if instead of the embedding nightmare, what would
be cool is auto-saving the label text at the same time
as exporting the MP3, into the same directory, thus giving
both files similar time stamps & filenames!
…an index or table of contents, Random Access MP3! how cool!
…but useless without human-readable times.
…and I dont know spreadsheets. :confused:

I realize now, one reason I was often leading a comment
with a space was to test and see if that spot was active
for typing. I had a bunch of lines starting with “m” for
the same reason (my default character I guess), and those
were the ones I failed to delete in my frantic attempts
to take notes, adjust volume, and digest meaning, etc.
So yes, I’m not focused on the text editor field.
Yes, some of your suggestions look like a probable fix!

Here’s another cool shortcut: Ctrl+A – select all.
(Great on websites too.)
I need to digest now, later…
…and thanks!

Instructions for installing Nyquist plug-ins in Audacity 2.3.3 on Windows:

Here’s one of my attempts at a so-called MP3 table of Contents,
“1st Dem Debate, pt2 rec notes.png”
…that I’ve mailed with an MP3.
I figure most people often have specific interests
and don’t wanna hassle “all the crap,” :unamused:
else they would have already found the original.

1st Dem Debate, pt2  rec notes.png

A possible alternative to sending an MP3 plus Label file, would be to send a “Compressed Copy” of the Audacity project

Ok, I’m learning-- my first HOT live recording was today.
Unlike touch-up, …not a good place to learn… :confused:

I had another unwanted STOP recording, so I RIGHT Clicked on
the Rec button to see the Help tip for APPEND this track. But it also started
unwanted recording in an unwanted virgin track. That seems like a bug.

I guess there is no way to copy the whole label track, spell check it, and paste it back.
I believe I’ve broken myself of starting with spaces! But my old MS-DOS/Wordperfect shortcuts
are muscle memory, no control. I wonder…??? I’m still seeing mystery stuff.
I still need to learn your suggestions. :unamused:


If you only have one label track, you can export it as a text file, spell check it, then import it back.
See: Importing and Exporting Labels - Audacity Manual

By default, just click the record button, or press “R” on your keyboard.
By default, recording to a new track is “Shift + Click record button” or “shift + R”.

Help tips appear when you hover the mouse over an item - don’t click!

As Steve says.

But yes, you’re right - Right-click on Record does indeed set off recording.

In fact Right-click on most buttons and sliders activates them - only in the Meter toolbars and in the Selection Toolbar does right-click bring up a context menu (which is by far the more normal thing for a right click to do).

I note from careful reading of both the Microsoft and Apple design guidelines that right-click (aka secondary click) is to be used for invoking context menus (and not invoking commands). Accordingly I will log this on our bug-tracker -where we may or may not decide what (if anything) to do about it.

But I do like the idea of a right-click context menu for the Record button where the context menu offers the choice between “Append Record” and “Record on a new Track”.


Logged as P3 bug 2285
Many action buttons and items in Toolbars activate the action on right-click (expect context menu or null action)

Good catch Doug - thanks for the report, much appreciated :sunglasses:


I agree, and I think P3 is right.