Selections, Time Shfit Tool, and Label Tracks

Win7-32 SP1, Audacity 2.1.1

Hi, I love this software because it’s PACKED with great features.

Have found the Label Tracks are very good for adding “quotes” or lyrics to some parts of the audio.

However when selecting and cutting an audio segment BEFORE the labels (in time), the labels stay put and no longer match-up. I’d like to select the segment across both L&R channels AND the labels. The work-around is the note the selection time span, and use that exact span to CUT a section out of Labels.

Sorry for being dense, I searched through the HELP, etc but need just a clue, or a hint WHERE in the Help to look.



The standard way to do that is to make the selection extend across all of the tracks that you want the edit to affect (in your described case that is the stereo audio track and the label track. The selection will then be deleted from each track as show below:
More about “selections” here:

An alternative approach is to use the “Sync-Lock” feature as described here:

Got it, thanks. Works great.

The answer is in the section directly ABOVE this link…


So far, so good. :slight_smile:

I’m moving along, cutting stammers and “ahh’s” etc.

Sometimes it’s necessary to INSERT a small ‘space’ or silences into the audio, but I need to have ALL the Labels to the right of the insertion move accordingly, but having trouble figuring what to select for the source segment, and how to paste into the audio so the LABELS will shift downstream.

Any tips or tricks would be much appreciated.

And do note… the LABEL track is GREAT, it’s used a lot here. Keep on integrating and improving this feature!


Rather than inserting “absolute silence” (which will tend to sound like a black hole in the audio), select part of the recording which has only “room tone” (ambient noise of the room) and copy / paste that into the place where you want the gap. Ideally the “room tone” throughout your recording should be at a very low level (hardly audible at normal listening levels), and constant throughout the recording.

To keep the labels synchronised with the audio track, enable “Sync Lock”.

Thanks, I missed that link… but went back [to the thread] this morning and see it now. Will need to experiment some.

Edit: It worked! here’s a view of inserting 5-sec of silence:
Also discovered last night that LABELS can be added `on the fly´ by doing a Ctrl+B during playback which is great. So now it’s easy to add a quote while playing the lecture in real time… and even drag the end-markers to adjust in real time (I think is the functionality).


Ctrl+B marks the current cursor position - you can also use Ctrl+M to mark the current recording/playback position.


Good tip, thanks!

The ability to add LABELS on the fly´ is a **BIG feature**, which I just discovered. And it works while recording too, not just playback. :wink: Later on, you can go back and tweak/ adjust the handles (label marker pins) but the ability to mark´ a spot in a lecture in real time is fantastic!!

The **[** ´ and ] ´ keys can be used to place Start and Stop markers and then a Ctrl+B to add comment on the fly!!

  1. I’m still having trouble adding SILENCE to an audio/ label track sync pair. The Label track isn’t shifting, even though it’s sync’d.

  2. The FILENAME for the audio track is displayed in YELLOW font in the upper-left part of the track, but there’s no yellow filename displayed for the LABEL track.

  3. The software should generally know and use the same File Folder when opening or exporting audio and label tracks. Currently these track open/ export functions aren’t integrated as well as they are synced. :slight_smile:

    Please comment.

    Not sure if these are bugs, omissions, or my lack of experience/ learning curve with Audacity.


Yes, that feature is only for audio tracks

Label tracks create a “track group” with audio tracks above them. A label track above the audio tracks is not part of the same group as the audio tracks below it. Details are here:

Just be careful Ed when you move point labels - just make sure you have grabbed the center white dot - if you grab on of the angled handles you will end up stretching it out to create a range label (these can be useful) - but it’s virtually impossible to turn a range label back into a point label.

Note too that range labels can be defined on the fly while recording or playing - just make a selection and press Ctrl+B.

See this page in the manual:


If you are generating rather than pasting, I agree. I notice that it broke in 2.1.1. I will add it to Bugzilla if it’s not already there.

It is also a serious lack IMO that you need to use Sync-Lock to move labels when inserting audio. It should be sufficient to select in both the label track and audio track, as when deleting audio.

Export Labels… opens at whatever DefaultOpenPath is, as stored in audacity.cfg. DefaultOpenPath is the directory you last opened or imported an audio or label file from.

In the absence of any preference as to where Export Audio opens, Export Audio should also open at whatever DefaultOpenPath is, but due to a longstanding bug, it doesn’t.

What behaviour would you want? Just to fix Export Audio so that it opened at DefaultOpenPath? Or store separate Export paths for labels and audio, so that importing labels from D:\ opened Export Labels at D:, but importing audio from C:\ opened Export Audio at C:?




A little behind in replying, but thanks!

Have downloaded 2.1.3a, Feb-19 and it looks like all that’s needed is to unpack zip and overwrite a few files.


Not sure about that, a behavior where one doesn’t notice any difficulty. :slight_smile:

No seriously, after pondering for a while… I’ve been **dropping FLAC files**´ onto Audacity from Explorer (file manager) **to open them**, and if that's the case, maybe Audacity needs to capture that event´ and make a note of the OPEN-from folder… that is, note the folder from which the file was dragged. So when dragging-dropping audios, and then IMPORTING Label files with the menu/ dialog… that seems to be the cause of confusion.

So either note the `drag from´ folder, or make it so one can DRAG-DROP a Label file. Either way, the folder/ location would need to be captured, yes? In any case, these are not wants, they are brainstorms. :bulb:


Yeah thanks, aware of those points, but there’s a worse thing that happens.

On Thursday, and again on Friday, I tried to tag or add labels on the fly during a talkshow, but in every case (recording three separate programs) the RECORD function was HALTED due to inadvertent Hotkey pressing.

That seems to mean… one cannot effectively add labels on the fly because an inadvertent `key press´ will stop the recording. Then you have a gap, and that pretty much screws-up the whole file.

So to do that real time, one would need to LOCK Audacity in the Record Mode, so no key-press could interrupt the data capture. One would need to specifically press the STOP button with the mouse to end the recording. Better yet… have the ability to CUSTOMIZE the Toolbar. :sunglasses:

Taking cover now,


We have recently disabled some key presses during recording for exactly this reason.
Do you recall which keys cause the problem?
Have you customised any of the keyboard shortcuts or do you use the default shortcuts?

Hi and thanks for the great reply.

Can’t tell you specifically which key or keys interrupt RECORD. Though once or twice it stopped when working with a spiral-bound book on the desk. Another time, RECORD got interrupted and I didn’t notice it for 20 mins or more.

Will do some Records´ and intentionally type labels rapidly as it goes on, and see **which keys interrupt**. Hey, how about having a pop-up.. are you sure you want to stop recording?´ :sunglasses:

Just kicking some ideas around. BTW I have 6-10 custom hotkeys defined: one for Amplify (Alt+A), one for Silence (Alt+S), two for Fade-In and Fade-out, and two for Import and Export Labels, to name a few. Amplify is used the most.


Ed, you might want to try the Studio Fade Out that Steve wrote - for my money it gives a much better “professional sounding” fade than the simple linear Fade Out.

See this page in the Manual:


Win7, 64-bit SP1, Audacity 2.1.2 (2.1.3a)

Ok will check that out. I’m working mostly with lecture and talk-show audios these days, usually in 11k or 16k. Some are 22 kHz if the quality is high. Have tinnitus from many years of loud music and metal dome speakers. { WHAT?, hey answer the phone! } So the basic `fades´ are used to feather-out abrupt Starts and Stops.

Thought I’d list the custom hotkeys, it’s hard to remember which ones: Amplify Alt+A, Equalization Ctrl+Alt+E, Fade In Shft+F, Fade Out Ctrl+Alt+F, Silence Alt+S. Since the topic is about LABELS, the Hotkeys are: Export Labels Ctrl+Alt+L, Import Labels Ctrl+Alt+Q (that’s my hint… import quotes).


OK I will note your “vote” for that.

I can add your vote from drag and drop of label files, but presumably it would need some parsing code added to identify a file that had the correct TAB-delimited syntax.

You didn’t say whether you want to store the directory a label file comes from separately from the directory a text file comes from. If you have labels in folder “L” and audio in folder “A”, then when you import a label, does Export Audio open at folder “L” or only Export Labels opens at “L”? I guess it may be better to store the open path for audio and labels separately.