Accessibility

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This page discusses accessibility issues in Audacity for visually- and motion-impaired users.

Keyboard shortcuts

A large number of keyboard shortcuts are available for those who can't use a mouse, and for those who find it quicker to use the keyboard. These keyboard shortcuts are described throughout the manual, and in the Keyboard Shortcut Reference. They can be customized on the Keyboard page of the Preferences dialog.

Parts of Audacity which are not fully accessible using the keyboard include:

  • Clips: An audio track can contain any number of clips – sections of audio data that can be manipulated independently. If a track contains more than one clip, there is no way of moving easily through the clips using the keyboard. For example, there isn't a keyboard shortcut to move to the beginning of the next clip.
  • Time Tracks: These can control the speed of audio tracks in a very flexible manner.
  • Tools Toolbar: Only Selection Tool can be worked with using the keyboard.

Mac OS X keyboard navigation

The following methods of keyboard navigation which are standard on Windows and Linux work differently on Mac OS X.

  • ALT key navigation of menus and buttons is not supported by Apple. To access menus, hold CTRL and press F2 then type the first few letters of the root menu item, then type the first few letters of the item required in that menu.
  • Tabbing between buttons in dialogs is off by default. Tabbing can be enabled by opening the System Keyboard Preferences, choose the "Keyboard Shortcuts" tab, then under "Full Keyboard Access", choose the radio button "All controls".

Screen readers

Large parts of Audacity are accessible to users of screen readers on Windows or Mac, but unfortunately this isn't the case on Linux. The accessibility on Windows and on Mac is outlined in the next two sections.

On Windows

On Windows Audacity is known to work well with the Jaws, Window-Eyes and NVDA screen readers. There is a Jaws Guide to Audacity, most of which is also applicable to users of Window-Eyes and NVDA.

The following parts of Audacity are not accessible to users of screen readers on Windows:

  • Label Tracks: These contain labels for times and/or time ranges. If you Tab through a label track, then the labels are not read by any of the screen readers. However, it is possible to work around this using the Edit Labels dialog, which is opened on the Tracks menu.
  • Clips: As noted above, there's no way of moving easily through the clips in a track using the keyboard.
  • Time Tracks

On Mac OS X

Warning icon Unfortunately, Audacity 2.1.2 is not accessible for users of VoiceOver, and this was also the case for the Audacity 2.1.1 release. However, an accessible version of Audacity 2.1.1 is available to download on the Mac OS X page of the Audacity website. The name of this accessible version is "2.1.1-screen-reader" (DMG and ZIP downloads are available). It is hoped that future versions of Audacity will be accessible for users of VoiceOver.
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