Track Time Navigation?

Hi Everyone:
I’m using Windows 10, Audacity 2.1.3 , and obtained by .exe installer

I am trying to figure out how to navigate to a particular point in time within a track that I have recorded.
I know I can press my key on my keyboard to get to the start of the track and key to get to its end.
I am confused as to how to snap my cursor to a middle point in time within the track itself?
I really don’t want to have to hold down a left or right arrow key on my keyboard to navigate to a particular point in time within my track.
That takes too long doing things that way.
I’ve tried to play around with the Snap To function at the bottom of my screen, but it only has nearest and prior options, unless its set to off.
I’ve tried to figure out how to use Selection Start, but I’ve been unsuccessful.
End and Length and Audio Position - Well, I’m confused? How do I use this function properly?

Can you please explain things to me Step by Step?
Even if you can show me a video on how this is done will be appreciated.
Thank you

Audacity can remember, (store), a time-interval, (region), you were editing, so you can return to it quickly …
Demo of store & retrieve region in Audacity.gif

Thank you Trebor, your answer is helpful to some degree, if that is what I was actually doing.
But what I’m trying to figure out is this:
Okay, follow me now…
Let’s say, I have finished making a recording.
Now, I’m at the end of the track.
I can easily do two things.
On my keyboard, I can press the key, and it takes the track cursor to the beginning of the track. Yippie!
On my keyboard, from the beginning of the track, I can press the key, and it takes the track cursor back to the end of the track. Yappie!
However, from either side of my recorded track, the beginning or the end, I cannot snap to a point in the middle of my recorded track. Zonk!
To say this differently:
Suppose the length of my recorded track is 25 minutes at the end of the track.
Also suppose that I want to navigate back to the 12:30 minute of the track.
Of course, I can press the or arrow keys and hold them down until I reach the 12:30 minute of my track, depending on which side of the track I am at, either the beginning or end.
But that takes so darn long, :angry:
There’s got to be a better way to do this :question:
Personally speaking, I can’t believe the power of this wonderful piece of software and the developers forgot to program some functions in Audacity to achieve this objective.
There must–MUST–be a way to do this. I refuse to believe that with all the “bells and whistles” this program offers this cannot be done.

(Song) Help me Rhonda … Help me get this thing out of me head!

If you’re able to see the cursor, just move it to the middle of the track waveform using the mouse, then left-click the mouse button.

If you need to start exactly halfway in, you’ll need to do the arithmetic yourself …
Start half-way.gif

Trebor: You Rock Baby!

Well, it took a little of experimentation, but I finally figured out what that stuff means with your help.
I just wish you would’ve said to highlight the entire track first.
Then choose Prior or Nearest (which I am still confused about), but one of 'em works in my experiments.
Gosh, I feel like a scientist!
Somehow, I enter the Selection Start point.
Then I choose either End, which is where I want the selection to end, or Length if I want the entire rest of the track.
After I’ve done all the above stuff, then I gotta push Play.
And yippies eye oh eye aye, it does what I wants it to do.
You didn’t say two things…important stuff: 1) The tracks got to be first highlighted completely. And 2) You’s got to hit Play.

Oh boy, I am now an official Newbee at all this Audio stuff.
Thank goodness, I figured this cursor movement stuff out now. Sure will save me some time in the future.
Gee, I wonder if the manual teaches us how to do this? I did look and scan through the glossary and contents before this thread, but I didn’t find anything on this subject.

But with your help Trebor, I am now ready to go catch Kangaroo!

There are plenty of Audacity tutorial on YouTube, but none are official, & many are out-of-date,
but they may still be useful to someone who hasn’t seen Audacity in-action …

Today is: Sat 17 Nov 18 Time now 2:45am EST
I am using Audacity 2.3.0
Folks I’ve watch a couple of You Tube videos on using the selection tool.
But I am still confused. Even though in the three or four YouTube videos narrators make it look so easy.

First of all, here’s what I’d like to learn how to do: After saving an audio file as an .aud file. I want to reload it into Audacity. Then I want to look at the audio recording. Let’s say I want to skip to a point in the audio. That’s where I am having trouble using the Audacity Selection tool. If my audio file is say 3 min and 30 sec long then how do I use the selection tool?

There are three controls for the selection tool:
SNAP-TO: which can be set to: OFF; NEAREST; PRIOR.
AUDIO POSITION: which shows the current position of the cursor.

Now, I have finally figured out that I can move to any point in my audio by using the slider bar below the audio. I didn’t know that before. I learned that today by watching the few YouTube videos. Great, but I want to learn to use the selection tool.

Using the AUDIO POSITION by setting a value should move the cursor to that position in the audio file. But it doesn’t do that! And I am stumped by this. Because it seems that that was possible by watching the YouTube videos.

Now I don’t know how to highlight to audio without clicking somewhere inside of it. And if I do that and if I want to start from the beginning of the audio then I just click the BACK arrow, which brings me back to 00h 00m 0000s, Once I’m there at zero (timewise), I want the cursor to jump to a point within the audio file. This is where I am having trouble. How the heck do you do this? The videos on YouTube make this look so easy.

Does the audio have to be highlighted(selected)? or un-highlighted (selected)? And if has to be highlighted(selected) then how do I do this and start the cursor from zero in the audio file?

Re: SNAP-TO. Do I leave the choice to OFF; NEAREST OR PRIOR? And what does each choice mean?

Re: START AND END OF SELECTION. I think I understand this allow you to tell the cursor where in the audio file you want to start from and end to.

When I tried to do these probably otherwise simple things, the cursor in my audio file is not there.

What in tarnation am I doing wrong? Everything is so complicated.

Have a good read of this (lengthy) page in the Manual:

and this one:

This page on navigation tips may help you too:

you don’t need Snap-TO unless you really want/need to align selections to your current time format.

As well as moving the horizontal scroll bar as you discovered - you should find zooming helpful:


Today is: Sun 18 Nov 18 Time now Is: 6:51am (EST)
While eatting my dinner, after my work hours outside in the cold weather, I was eager to see if somebody answered my previous question in this thread. Sure enough WC came through with “Flying Colors”. My appreciation WC.

Now, I only really needed to read the first (3) sections of the above link (quoted) in order to figure out the answer to my previous posted question. However, I do have a few things to say. It’s now my turn to give something back to those of you who may have wondered about the same question I originally posted in this thread, specifically my most previous post within this thread. So here goes:

Part A) This references: Project Rate (Hz). For the purposes of this thread, I am not going to concern my comments to this part.
Part B) This references: Snap-To. I will be referring to this part below. Note: There are three options in this part.
Part C) This references: Audio Position. And I’ve got a few things to say about this part below.
Part D) This references: The Start and End of a Selection (amoung other choices from the drop down list). I definitely have things to say here.
This being said above, I hope to make my writing within this reply easier for those of your reading it.

Before I begin, I’d like to bring your attention to Section 1 of the above link:
Where it says: “Selecting the entire project”
Under “Mouse Selection Tips” there’s a line reading: " Esc key aborts selection drags, and restores the previous time selection, frequency selection (see later on this page), and set of selected tracks." Well, this didn’t work for me! I had used my mouse to make a selection within an prerecorded audio track, an audio track I saved some time ago (just so I’d have something to practice on), and after I made a short selection, I tried to press the ESC key on my keyboard–and nothing happens. I’m not sure about this, and maybe I needed to read down further on the suggested linked page, but I figured I come back to it sometime in the future. I’m not sure (at this point) but maybe this has got something to do with making an additional selection within an audio track after a first selection is made. I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to play around with it in the future. But let me get back to making some comments for now using Parts A, B,C and D:

Re: C and D
The counters are set up for reading hours (h), minutes (m) and seconds (s)
I have a concern with the syntax here in these counters. Okay, I know how they’re set up now. But I would’ve liked it to be expressed differently syntax-wise. For example: instead of 00h00m00,000s Better would be h00m00s00.000 I know this can be a matter of style or preference, but my suggestion seems more easy to read and understand.
I also have a major concern about the way seconds are expressed. And this comment has to do with the overall Font size of the alphanumerics used in the selection tool. It’s quite easy to miss the period (“.”) which is used to define numbers after the decimal or period (“.”). Not everyone has 20/20 vision. And even with appropriate eyewear, it’s still easy to miss the decimal or period in the counter. This can easily result in misplacing a number in the counter, which causes confusion and no expected results. That decimal or period really means: one tenth, one hundredth and one thousandth of a second. [Gosh, that is probably really important to a super audio tech expert! But for a person like me, if I miss the decimal or period in the counter then I can easily get confused.}
By now, I know how the seconds in the counters of C and D are expressed. So, I hope I don’t forget this in the future, because I don’t use this program regularly, and I only use it once in a “Blue Moon” or when I really have something to do in making or doing something in an audio file.
Okay, that’s the end of my very important point. Now for a word from our sponsor:

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And now continuing with my reply:
In order to move the cursor within an audio file, you’ve got to use Part D. More on this in a minute or two below.
Part C is just used to express where your cursor is at within an audion file. You can’t enter a value in Part C and expect the cursor in an audio file to move to that expressed value. Again, you’ve got to enter a value in Part D.

Part B is interesting. There are three options here: Off, Nearest and Prior. It’s kind of confusing until you play around with it. What I found interesting is even with the Part B set to off, I can still use Part D to move my cursor to a selected point within an audio file. With Part B set to off the cursor just moves to the value point I’ve entered in Part D. And that is exactly what I wanted to figure out originally how to do. So, Bravo! I finally got my answer to my original question. You see this is important to me because:

If I have a CD-R which only accepts 80 min of recording time then I may have to edit out several parts of an audio file to be able to burn the CD-R. And if I don’t have time to complete my edits and I have to break and come back at another time, then I’d like to be able to make a note of where I left off in the audio file and get back to that exact point in the audio file another time. You see what I’m talking about?

Part B has three options.
Now, I’m going to make this easy for you readers. May I encourage you to do what I did. Find an audio file that you can open up into Audacity, one which you can either Save As or just use without worry. And play around with the options in Part B. If you do as I did then the visuals of your experimentation will help you understand what happens with each option of Part B. I am even still experimenting here to see what happens.

Part D is also quite a prize.
You can actually pick to values for Start and End, which eventually highlights that part of the audio track you desire to work on. Pretty cool!
There’s also a drop down list of choices to adjust the parameters and definition of this particular Part D. Again, I suggest experimenting with the options in the drop down list. And do so on an Audio file you either don’t particularly need or can Save As for experimentation purposes.

This stuff is quite facinating, isn’t it? Well I am learning things about this program on an as needed basis. Again, I don’t utilize a program like this on a daily or weekly or regular basis. It’s nice to know, however, that I am able to do things with this program for my own personal needs when I need to use it. I appreciate the help and insight some of you pros have given. And I hope the time I’ve taken to write out this particular reply helps someone else who may have had similar questions as what I originally posted and posted just prior to WC’ answer above.

Enjoy your Turkey people. And don’t forget the gravy!
Maybe one day when I have more timed, I’ll continue to read more from WC’ recommended links, but for now I’ve finally figured out what I needed to know. Thanks. Oh yes, one more things; Don’t forget the pumpkin pie! With Whipped Cream on top!

Bye for now,

This works for me 0 BUT you do need to be still in the process of the new selection, importantly with the left mouse button down.

And if your previous selection is important to you can:
a) use Select > Region > Store Selection and later use Select > Region > Retrieve Selection later to restore it

b) use a range label Ctrl+B to mark the selection - you can restore the selection later just by clicking in the label.

Personally i much prefer b.


Or you could just read the Manual about it … :wink: :sunglasses:


Just drop a temporary label at that restart point with Ctrl+B

But Audacity should remember and restore your current cursor position whenthe project is reopened


I have Start and Length as my default setting for my production work - I find it by far the most convenient choice as I often want to know the length of a selection


Today is: Mon 19 Nov 18 Time now: 5:54am

Just one more thing 'boy’s and girl’s" that I just discovered via experimentation:
You’ve got to press “Play” after using the Part D selection system, especially if your audio file is several minutes long.
This way you’ll see where you put the cursor. And the audio will start playing from there forward.
Hey, “guys” I’m still experimenting with this Selection Tool: A, B, C and D.
But the lower Scrolling Bar under the tracks is quite helpful too.
Again: Happy Thanksgiving