Labels to show time that a recording was made

Recent version of Audacity have an option to add a time stamp to the name of a recorded track:

The “Custom Track Name” in the Recording Preferences, automatically names new recorded tracks according to the other track name option, overriding the default “Audio Track” name.
By enabling “Custom Track Name” and “System Time”, the time (taken from to the computer’s system clock) is appended to the track name, in the form:

This provides a way to work out the actual time than a recorded event actually happened. However, it is not very convenient to calculate this manually. For example, if a recording started at 03h 16m 23s, and an event occurs 2 hours, 52 minutes and 47 seconds into the recording, it’s not the easiest thing to see at a glance that the event occurred at 06h 09m 10s. This plug-in is designed to make that a whole lot easier.

To use this plug-in, ensure that the “Custom Track Name” and “System Time” options are enabled in Preferences.
If these options were not set before recording, or if the recording was made on a different device, then this plug-in can still be used so long as you know the start time of the recording - you just need to name the track with the start time, in the form hh-mm-ss appended.
Then, click on the track so that it is selected, and launch the plug-in from the Generate menu.

Label every [nn] minutes after the hour: [0 to 59 (default 5)] Places labels at regular intervals this number of minutes past each hour.
Label every [nn] seconds after the hour: [0 to 59 (default 0)] Places labels at regular intervals this number of minutes past each hour. This is in addition to the number of minutes selected in the first control.

If both of the controls are set to zero, labels will be placed on the hour.
The plug-in also adds a label at the start and end of the track.

Each label text has the time in the format hh-mm-ss corresponding to the time at which that part of the audio track was recorded.

If a track has duration 59 minutes, and the track name has a time stamp at the end of 12-10-00 (10 minutes past midday), and the interval time set to 15 minutes, the labels will be:
12-10-00 (start of the track)
12-15-00 (first 15 minutes past the hour)
13-00-00 (24 hour clock)
13-09-00 (end of the track)

Installation instructions:
Note that unlike most other labelling effects, this plug-in appears in the Generate menu.
Obsolete version:
record-time-labels.ny (6.25 KB)
New version:
See next post for important information about this download.

I’ve now expanded this with idea with a second plug-in called “Recording Time”.

The attached file (below) is a ZIP archive containing 3 files. The archive should be unzipped into the Audacity plug-ins folder.
The three files are:

  1. record-time-labels.ny: An updated version of the plug-in posted in the first message of this forum topic (includes a small bug fix).
  2. record-time.ny: A new plug-in that reports the recorded time at the cursor / selection position (more info below)
  3. time-string.lsp: This is not a plug-in itself, but contains a collection of functions and macros that are required by the two plug-ins.

The contents of the ZIP file must be “extracted” and copied or moved into the Audacity plug-ins folder.
The two plug-ins included in the ZIP require that the “time-string.lsp” file is present in Audacity’s plug-in path. The easiest way to do that is to put all three files into the Audacity plug-ins folder.

About the new "Recording Time"plug-in:

Like the “Recording Time Labels…” plug-in, it requires that the time that the recording started is appended to the track name, in the form hh-mm-ss. The plug-in also appears in the Generate menu.

How to use the effect:

The “Recording Time” plug-in has no controls. Just click on a track that has a correctly formatted name, or make a selection, and launch the effect. A message box will pop up and give the “real” recording time that corresponds to the cursor position / selection. (3.53 KB)

Working for me …
recording-time correctly displayed.png
Time-labels correctly displayed.png

Thanks Trebor.
Easy enough installing it?

The standard rigmarole that is the Audacity plugins-manager: the plugins have to found on the plugin list & enabled …
''Recording Time'' plugins enabled in Plug-in Manager.png

That was one of the reasons that I gave them similar names.

Not often requested, but I guess that you agree that we could do with a better plug-in manager?

At this point I have lots of plugins and only occasionally add another one the collection, so enabled-by-default when plugins are put in the plugin-folder would be good for me. But for those installing a big-pack of plugins the current setup is better: new-by-default and don’t appear on the effects list until enabled.

Is it possible to have this plugin create a timestamp label automatically for the selected audio segment? I have hours of audio to go through, and select and label segments as small as 50ms. It would be great to be able to just select a section of audio, press a key, and it labels with the actual time. Just the hh-mm-ss at the start of the selection would be sufficient.

This plug-in will add a point label at the start of the selected audio.
Note that it requires “time-string.lsp” to be installed (see second post in this topic).

The plug-in name is “Recording Time Point Label”
record-time-point-label.ny (1.61 KB)

steve i have been using your recording time labels plugins for years now and it has been great but lately (last x2 x3 days without me changing anything in my system) the time labels do not match the original time they are +6 minutes

i mean if a sound was recorded at 7:20pm and i select your plugin it will say 7:26pm for the audio that was recorded at 7:20pm

why this happens ??? my pc clock is fine

i also want to note that this doesn’t happen on short duration’s of audio but only for long ones over 1-2-3 hours or so

if the recording is 5-10 minutes time labels report the time correctly


What is the full name of the track?

sorry what do you mean ? in the specific test track was unnamed i didn’t save it

of course i got on all the options of track name date/time stuff etc enabled like in the attachment

By default an audio track is called “Audio Track”.
From the track’s drop down menu, if you select “Name”, it will open a dialog that allows you to copy (or change) the name of the track. What is the full name of the track that you are having problems with?


i want to tell you something i have restarted my machine and now it seems to work I don’t know whats going on.

Thanks for letting us know. Let’s hope it keeps working :wink: