Simplest way to extract a clip without constantly losing selection. Any markers?


I just started using Audacity (2.3.2). I have long audio files, between 1h and 2h. I want to extract some clips between 10 seconds to 10 minutes. I want to select a section, but after that, I need to adjust the beginning and end to make sure that I am at the exact place I want. I also need sometimes to start playback from inside the selection. The problem is that I keep losing my selection. Sometimes it’s because I accidently click and it restarts a new selection, deleting the previous one. This is hyper frustrating, because sometimes I had spent a lot of time setting the beginning at the correct place and it’s just all lost and I have to start again. Sometimes, I want to start playback at an arbitrary point inside the selection and this kills my selection too, because when hitting play, it starts at the black vertical bar and deletes the selection. It is also not very clear how I can consistently start playback where I decide without killing my selection. I had found pressing “b” and clicking, but sometimes it starts from where the mouse cursor is, sometimes it starts from the beginning of the selection.

So… I am about to go insane redoing the same thing over and over again. Aren’t there any markers that I can use? Here is exactly what I would like to do and it is very simple:

  1. Choose where the clip will begin by listening over and over and zooming until I am at the exact spot I want.
  2. MARK THIS SPOT FOREVER, without any risk of losing it by cat walking on keyboard.
  3. Start playback at many different spots after the beginning of clip until I find around where the end is (I do not have time to listen to the whole thing, sometimes it’s too long, so I need to sample many different spots without any risk of hitting something that will loose the start of my selection.
  4. Once I know approximately where the end is, zoom in and keep re-listening to the end until I find the exact spot where I want the clip to end.
  5. Mark the end.
  6. Cut what is in between the 2 markers.

Note that it doesn’t have to be markers, I just want to be able to do this without risking to lose my selection. I am really close to break my keyboard on this…

Thanks for help!

You’re from video, right? You really, really, really want Edit Marks. Audacity doesn’t have Edit Marks, but we do have Labels.

No doubt you found that Labels don’t follow you when you edit a track. You can force that by linking the sound track and the label track.

I have no idea how to do that because I’ve never done it, but I know that’s the way out of this.

Possibly in Label Instructions. Looking.


Forgot a step. Zoom out to the whole world and labels are sticky or magnetic. Just get close and they grab you. Drag as needed.




Hi kozikowski,

I have not done a lot of video editing, but I have done enough to be familiar with markers hehe!

I was able to do what I wanted easily with labels and without constantly losing my “marks”. Thank you for that!

In case another noob landed here from Google and wanted to do the same thing as I did, here is the detailed step-by-step that will let you easily extract a clip from a longer audio track:

  • Load your audio track in Audacity.
  • With the selection tool, select any section of the track. For convenience, you can select close to the portion you want to extract, but you don’t have to.
  • In the Edit menu, click on Labels > Add Label at Selection. This will bring another “track” below your audio with the portion you selected tagged as a label. Optionally, you can write a name for this label.
  • If you want to move the whole labeled area in one block, you can click and drag using the circle handles at each end. If you want only to move one end to reduce / extend the length of your clip, then use the small arrows pointing towards the inside just besides the circles.
  • Now, you can zoom in / out and move the boundaries of your labeled area until you are satisfied with the content of your clip.
  • While deciding on those boundaries, you can click anywhere on the audio wave to put the vertical bar there and then hit the play / pause / stop buttons or any other playback function.
  • Once you have your labeled area exactly containing the clip you want to extract, click on the rectangle where you can put a name for your label. This will select the portion of your audio track containing the clip to extract at the same time.
  • In the Edit menu, click on Remove Special > Trim Audio. This will delete everything before and after your clip. You can drag your clip to the beginning of the track if you want, but if you’re only going to export the clip by itself, you don’t need to do this. Audacity will automatically export only the clip without the blank parts before and after.
  • Optionally, you can create a fade in / fade out at the ends of your clip. To do this, zoom close to the end or beginning. With the selection tool, select the portion that will be faded in or faded out. In the Effect menu, click on Fade In or Fade Out.
  • In the File menu, go to Export and choose your preferred exportation method and follow the instructions to export your clip.

There you go, hope this helps someone one day, and thanks again kozikowski!