Searching the Manual

Audacity Mac mini (Intel), OS X 10.8.4.

I am new to Audacity, so please excuse this naive question.

The ‘Welcome’ screen when one opens Audacity states that the Manual is searchable. But as the Manual consists of a vast number of html files plus an index file, and web browsers can only search a page at a time, searching the whole manual would take as long as just opening each chapter of the Manual and skim-reading it. Am I missing something? In what practical sense is the Manual searchable?

Is there any reason you can’t use the on-line one?

I’ve never used the download one, but isn’t it laid out like that? A decision tree that can point you to the segment you need right away. My web site exists both on line and off and I can search either one as long as I program it to do that. I can’t believe we didn’t do that to the manual. What happens if you just launch the index file? That’s usually the top level supervisory file and should point to everything else.

Koz isn’t searchable (beyond CTRL + F on each page) because there are still certain technical obstacles to doing that which take time to fix (without resorting to Google ad-driven searches).

In the meantime to search you can either bookmark this link then replace “Device Toolbar” with what you are searching for, or search from the search box top right of (which includes the Audacity Wiki and other Audacity sites as well as ).

The downloadable Manual is not searchable exactly because it is HTML. Searchability is one reason that it would be good to have a PDF version of the downloadable Manual, but there are certain features in the HTML Manual (mainly image maps) that are very hard to translate to PDF.

If you wish to try a user-contributed PDF Manual for 2.0.3 (made by Adobe Acrobat), you can try: .

This has the image map problems noted above.

By the way the big image map on the Front Page of the Manual can be a very effective way to find what you are looking for.


These answers are immensely useful. Thank you all very much.

Since posting my question, I have made two discoveries myself. The first is that I misread the ‘Welcome’ page: it states that it is the online version of the Manual that is searchable, not the locally installed one. That is confirmed by some of the helpful answers above. The second, however, is that if instead of I use the link for the online Manual in the ‘Welcome’ page, which leads to, there is a search box on the left that seems to search the whole manual.

Thank you again.

That’s correct in 2.0.3, but has now been changed so that in 2.0.4, the Manual link in the “Welcome Screen” will go to Audacity Manual (updated to 2.0.4 Release, of course).

Index of /man is the working “alpha development” Manual from which Audacity Manual is created at each release of Audacity.

Index of /man is searchable, because it’s the actual database that the development Manual uses. But most users should not go there because the development Manual only relates to the latest alpha Nightly Builds . For example, the development Manual documents a new Reverb effect that is not in the Audacity 2.0.3 release.


Thanks for that warning, Gale. At the moment the things I need to search for are pretty basic and will probably not be that much different in 2.0.4; but I will bear your warning in mind. I have also noted the limitations of the pdf versiuon of the Manual, but again it is turning out to be a simple and very quick way of accessing the basic pieces of information I need to know. Between one recommendation and another I am now in the happy position of being able to find what I want.