Status Bar

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The Audacity Status Bar is the gray horizontal bar to be found at the bottom of the Audacity window. It cannot be relocated or floated. Its function is to display messages about recording or playback, to indicate parts of Audacity that are being hovered over by the mouse, and to provide hints about how to use Audacity.
Note that the images on this page also show the lower tooldock in addition to the Status Bar.


  1. Status Bar sections
  2. Recording length
  3. Other Status Bar center section displays
  4. Actual Rate

Status Bar sections

There are three sections in the Status bar:

  • the current status: Playing, Playing Paused, Scrubbing, Recording, Recording Paused or Stopped
  • the central information and hints section
  • the Actual Rate of the audio (the active sample rate, only shown when playing or recording).

When you hover over the audio area in any audio track, Status Bar displays "Click and drag to select audio". Dragging horizontally always selects a region of time. When you release the drag or otherwise hover over the left or right edge of a selection, the Status Bar message changes to advise that you can click and drag to move that selection boundary.

Status Bar - Click and drag to select audio 3-4-0.png

Recording length

When recording, the audio data is written to your hard disk. For example, if you record without having yet saved a Project, the data is written to Audacity's temporary folder specified in Directories Preferences. Therefore, the amount of time you can record for is limited by the available disk space on the drive you are writing to. There are no other restrictions on recording length. As soon as you start your first recording in the current project window, the center section of the Status Bar gives a clear indication of how long you can record for, based on that remaining space:

Status Bar - Disk-space remaining for recording 3-4-0.png

The "Disk space remaining" message will continue to display thereafter as soon as you leave the mouse stationary for a couple of seconds. If you run out of disk space at any time after starting or completing a recording, the default Status Bar message will change to "Out of disk space".

Advice The time remaining will be less at higher Project Sample Rates and higher bit depths because these will require more disk space.

See Audio Settings Preferences (or use the Audio Settings menu item from the Audio Setup Toolbar) for details.

Other Status Bar center section displays

  • When Scrubbing and Seeking you will see messages relating to those actions.
  • When you hover over the sliders in Mixer Toolbar the Playback and Recording volumes are displayed in Status Bar.
  • Many other buttons and tools in the Audacity window will display the name of the button or tool in Status Bar when you hover over the button or tool. Buttons in Transport Toolbar that display a Status Bar message include in parentheses the current keyboard shortcut for that button.
  • When making a Spectral Selection, hovering over the edges or center line of a frequency selection also displays relevant help messages.
  • Each time you launch Audacity Status Bar will show the version of Audacity that you are running. You can always check what the currently available version of Audacity is at our Website.

Actual Rate

While playback or recording is taking place (or is paused), or when monitoring, Actual Rate in the right-hand section of Status Bar shows the sample rate of that audio transport (audio device or sound card).

  • "Actual Rate" when playing is the rate communicated by Audacity to the audio interface.
  • "Actual Rate" when recording is the rate communicated to Audacity by the audio interface.
Status Bar - Click and drag to select audio 3-4-0.png
In general terms, the actual rate for playback will be the Project Sample Rate chosen in Audio Settings Preferences or by using the Audio Settings menu item from the Audio Setup Toolbar. If the audio interface does not support the rate you choose, Audacity will try to resample the audio to the highest available (or next higher) rate supported by the card, and this rate will appear as "Actual Rate".

When recording, the actual rate sent by the audio interface to Audacity can often differ from the chosen Project Sample Rate, depending how the "Host" chosen in Device Toolbar handles the card's settings in the operating system. For an explanation of how this works on Windows, see the Sample Rates page. If the "Actual Rate" is different from the Project Sample Rate then Audacity will resample from "Actual Rate" to the Project Sample Rate.