marking the end point of a selection

Audacity 2.1.2
Mac OSX 10.10.5, Windows 10 Professional (using Audacity on both).

I am editing long audio files by marking ‘start’ and ‘end’ (selection) positions, then using ‘File/Export Selected Audio …’ to export the selection.

Selecting the ‘start’ selection point is easy; I can left click on the waveform and place the selection point there. If the selection is short, I can simply click and drag on the start selection point and drag it to the right, extending the selection to the desired end position. But if the desired selection is long, I scroll to the right (using shift + mouse wheel) and then I can ‘see’ my desired end-point (based on observation of the waveform, and other cues) but I cannot ‘place’ the end selection marker directly. I have to first ‘play’ in the vicinity (by single-left clicking in the ‘time’ area) and then pressing the right square bracket ( ] ) (which creates the selection), then stop or pause the play, and then drag that point to fine-tune the location. The right square bracket is a shortcut for “Edit / Select / Right at playback position”.

I have to imagine there’s a way to simply ‘click’ to select the ‘end’ selection point; something like right click, or shift right click, or other - but I’ve tried everything and read all the keyboard / mouse guides, but nothing seems to simply place the end-selection point. The right bracket key ( ] ) works, but that places the end-selection point and the ‘current playback position’ and I don’t know how to ‘place’ that - other than by playing (which is imprecise, since the audio is playing / the position is moving).

I note that I have ‘quick play enabled’. I thought maybe disabling that would allow me to click in the timeline without playing and also place a cursor, but no cursor is placed when I click, when ‘quick play’ is disabled.

Anyway - using ‘]’ is working ok; I just have to fine tune the position afterwards.

To make a selection with a mouse / pointing device, click on the waveform (in the track area, not on the Timeline) for one end of the selection (start or end of the selection), then Shift+Click in the waveform track area for the other end.

To adjust a selection, hold down the Shift key and click on the waveform near the end of the selection that you wish to adjust, then drag while holding down the mouse button.

Or just click and drag while holding the left mouse button down - releas the mouse button to complete the selection.

You can then use Ctrl+B to make a range label for the selection.

Or, you can mark the start point with a point label and then use the little drag-handles on the label marker (the little chevrons either cide of the circle). Hover the cursor over the label marker when the chevron becomes white you can left click and then drag and release to expand the point label to a range label. This can be tricky to do, so care is needed, the circle when it goes white can be used to move the label.

This page in the Audacity Manual tells you more about this: Editing, resizing and moving Labels - Audacity Manual

And here’s the Manual page on Label Tracks: Label Tracks - Audacity Manual


Many thanks!

I CANNOT believe I missed shift+Left Click! I honestly tried alt, shift, ctrl, command (Mac) plus right click, but must have missed this most basic one! I spent days doing editing without seeing this. Awesome.

Thanks for the tips on using labels; I can see the value of that approach. I’ll read up on the details.

Oh and do I detect a fellow Mervyn Peake fan? :sunglasses: