Replacing one labeled audio region with another [SOLVED]

I am using Windows 7 and Audacity 2.1.0.

I have two sets of files. File1, attached, is a recording of an audiobook chapter. For purposes of this operation, it is the “target file.” File2 contains short segments of dialogue in different character voices. It is the “source file.”

Within File1, I have created labeled regions for each of the sections where I read one of the character voices in my “normal voice.” I want to replace those regions with the character voice regions.

Within File2, I have created labeled regions for each of the segments in character voice. Each labeled region in File 1 corresponds to a similarly named labeled region in File 2.

(BTW, I recorded in this manner so that I would not have to continually switch between different voices and could maintain consistency throughout the book for each character.)

Now I want to replace each of the regions in File1 with its corresponding region in File2. So I select the labeled region by clicking on the label in File2, and copy it using Alt-Shift-C.

Then I go to File1…and here’s where I run into trouble. What I thought I could do was to select the corresponding labeled region by clicking on the corresponding label in File1, which appears to highlight the labeled region in both the audio track and the label track…and click Paste (Ctrl-V) and voila, the audio I had previously copied would replace the selected audio.

Sadly, it does not work as expected. Instead, it just pastes the last text I copied to the Windows clipboard into the selected label.

If I manually select the target region in the audio track of File1 and click Ctrl-V, it works fine. It pastes in the audio, adjusting the duration of the target region to the length of the source region, which is exactly what I want it to do. However, I have hundreds of regions I need to move in this way, and if I could just click on the label to select the target region, it would be a lot easier and faster than manually selecting the target region each time, especially for longer passages that would require horizontal scrolling.

Thanks in advance,

[_] Manual Edit
[X] Auto-Edit

I don’t know of any way to automatically edit random tracks like that. The program would have to “know” what the script or story was and have built-in theatrical timing and rhythm.

There is an up side. We can’t take a mixed performance apart into individual actors. People who need that are facing a reshoot. You at least have a show, even if it is in kit form.

an audiobook chapter

I wondered where the companies draw the line between radio drama and AudioBook reading. I know the heroes in this process are the people who can rapidly and seamlessly switch between the voices in real time. People give lectures on how they do that.


I don’t know of any way to automatically edit random tracks like that.

Thank you for your reply. Perhaps I was not clear.

While I would love to have an automated process, I am happy to do a copy and paste operation for each region. I just want to copy a defined region from one file to another. I have defined the regions in both the target and source file. All I want to do is copy a region of audio in the source file and paste it to the target file, replacing the labeled region in the target file with the copied audio from the source file.

This seems like it should be very straightforward. It does not require the program to know anything about the story, or theatrical timing, or the literary merits of the work, or the global sales potential of a movie version. It just requires the program to allow me to do a simple cut and paste operation. Unfortunately, when I try to do it, the paste operation just pastes some text into the label, which is not what I want.

Thanks again!

There is an automation process in Audacity called Chains.

…but I don’t see Environment, Select, Copy, or Paste.

I know the edges of a region are magnetic or sticky for Drag-Select, but I’m not sure the selection process is any fancier than that.

Programming (which is what you want) is a lot more involved than people think. You are making a number of important decisions quickly and automatically as a human which a program (or chain) would have to do.

Select the source track.
Load the last known copy region.
Check for First or Last Region.
If Last Region > Halt
Increment the location counter.
Select the next whole region.
Select the target track…*

*Consider plumbing as a vocation.

Maybe one of the “programming enhanced” elves can jump in.

There is a subset of what you’re doing which can be semi-automated or done through simple processes. Assuming source and target tracks are the same format and the same length and the dialog fits perfectly just by playing both of them at the same time. You can then use volume gating or other clever tricks to combine them and make them sound like two different people in the same show.

But I’m not copying and pasting to get there, Audacity will not need to know where it is in show time and any timing problems at all will wreck the whole thing.

We’ll see what the other elves think.


On fourth reading.

If you drag-select a portion of the source track, Copy and Click > Paste it into the target track, you don’t get the sound in the target track?


On fourth reading.

Perhaps the fifth time will be the charm…

If I drag-select in the source track, copy and click>paste it into the target track, I get the sound in the target track. But that’s not what I want, for two reasons.

First, I don’t want to drag-select in the source track. I have already defined labeled regions (e.g. Sullivan 4), and I want to click on the label, which should select the labeled region, and copy the labeled audio using Alt-Shift-C. That seems to work fine.

The problem is with the paste operation. If I click-paste, it will just insert the audio at the cursor. But that’s not what I want. I want to replace the corresponding labeled audio region in the target track. I can do that by drag-selecting the region I want to replace in the target track and then pasting. But it would be much easier and faster if I could select the labeled audio region in the target track (just as I selected the labeled audio region in the source track, by clicking on the label) and then pasting. Unfortunately, that isn’t working for me.

I’m sorry if I haven’t been clear. Thank you again for trying to help.

I’m out. You need someone a lot more into the minutia of labels, selections and regions than I am.

It really doesn’t matter where you got the audio from, you want to Paste Region.


Make that Paste Region without drag-selecting it. Yeah. I got there, too in 2.1.1. That tool isn’t mentioned in any of the documents.


I’m not sure if I follow your description exactly. but it sounds like what you want to do should work if you close the label text before copying / pasting.
When you click on a label “flag” (the text box), it opens the label for text editing. If you want to copy audio and label, both the audio and the label must be highlighted (“selected”) and the label text must be “closed”. After clicking on a label, press the Enter key to close the label text. Up and down cursor keys will move track focus, and track selectedness is toggled on/off with the Enter key.

Thanks, Steve. That’s exactly what I needed to know. And thanks, Koz, for your helpfulness and patience.

Happy New Year’s, all.