Paste over, not insert

Win XP and Audacity 2.04.
I’m working on the soundtrack for a video, replacing some bits with segments from other versions.
So, the original soundtrack has to remain basically intact, and not shifted at all.

I prepare a replacement clip in another track, then I want to paste it into the original track.
Say, replacing section 30-45 sec with a new 15 second segment
If I just do copy/paste though it inserts, and pushes the original track up 15 seconds from the insert point.
I want to paste over the track, not insert.
The only way I can see to do this precisely is to set the section in the original track to silence, align the new segment, them “mix and render” the tracks. This works, but for a 90+ minute track it takes a few minutes. It also renames the track.

I’ve tried to select the new clip and extend the selection to the first track, so I can cut that exact section and then paste the new one in, but the selection resets to the entire track.

Is there an easier way to do this?

When you export the show, Audacity will mix down as many individual tracks that you have into one. You can Save the Project and Audacity will keep all the tracks and clips where they are – stacked up, but please know that Audacity does not save UNDO – ever.

But you’re right, if you have a “leading white space” and you export a single, isolated track by itself, Audacity will ignore the white space and throw your timing off.

The best way is to put a silent track down and just don’t touch it. That’s the video equivalent of the base timeline.

Then you can import and shift, filter and mute any of the other tracks as needed and when you Export the finished show, the Silent track becomes the timing reference and the rest of the tracks will automatically mix down to stereo in their proper time and place.

If you’re in multi-track, it’s a bit harder.


We need a Paste Replace function really that works just by placing the cursor.

As it is now, you can only replace by pasting into a selection, and the selection must be the same length as the clipboard or the track length will change. You could try the pair of plug-ins “Punch Copy/ Paste” in that don’t change the length when pasting.

Copy your 15 seconds of audio using Punch Copy/Paste, drag any selection longer than 15 seconds, then use Punch Copy/Paste to “Paste Once”. This will paste exactly your 15 seconds of audio, replacing only those 15 seconds. You can go to the Keyboard Preferences to set a shortcut for Punch Copy/Paste and/or Punch Paste.

So although you still have to drag a selection, you only need to make sure the selection exceeds the length you want to paste instead of it being exactly 15 seconds.


the selection must be the same length as the clipboard or the track length will change.

Even if Track one of the show is Silence and you’re managing the work on tracks two through x? That’s why I said leave all the clips and segments on their own timelines and let Audacity Export create the deliverable show.

While I think Paste/Cover-Up is a good tool, it does put you at the mercy of the famous UNDO system, whereas if you need to change one clip fourteen timelines down, it’s a piece of cake. Quite literally nothing else changes.


Thanks, “Punch copy/paste” is what I wanted.

14 timelines?
More than 4 or 5 is a unmanageable, at least for me. I have to scroll, and/or move them up and down all the time to bring the ones I’m working on together. Mute and unmute.

Do you have a 60" monitor?
I don’t have infinite RAM or disk space either.

I want to work on each segment, get it right, lock it in, and move to the next one.

Everyone has their own mode, of course.