Toolbars Overview

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Toolbars provide quick access to many functions in Audacity. In some cases the functions provided by a toolbar are available only through that toolbar. Other than the Spectral Selection Toolbar and the Scrub Toolbar, all toolbars are enabled by default. If your desired toolbar is not visible, choose View > Toolbars and click to put a checkmark by the toolbar you wish to enable.
  • The Meter toolbars are a special case. You may have one or both of the separate Recording and Playback Meter toolbars visible (both are visible by default). Alternatively you can have only the Combined Meter Toolbar visible (which displays recording and playback levels in a single meter).
  • The tooltips for the toolbars and tools (visible when hovering over the toobar or tool) will display the shortcut for that tool/toolbar if one is set.


The Toolbars

The individual toolbars are described briefly below. Click on any toolbar title to go the details page for that toolbar, or on the image to go to details for that button.



Transport Toolbar

Grabber for positioning the toolbarFor positioning the toolbarPause for pausing play or recordFor pausing play or recordPlay for starting playbackFor starting playbackStop for stopping play or recordFor stopping play or recordSkip to Start to send play head to startTo send play head to startSkip to End to send play head to endTo send play head to endRecord for starting recordingFor starting recordingTransportToolbarAnnotated.png
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  • Controls playback and recording and skips to start or end of project when neither playing or recording.



Tools Toolbar

Grabber for positioning the toolbarFor positioning the toolbarZoom for seeing more or less detail of the wavesFor seeing more or less detail of the wavesSelection for selecting audio before applying an effectFor selecting audio before applying an effectTime Shift for shifting clips earlier or later in timeFor shifting clips earlier or later in timeEnvelope for modifying the volume amplitudeFor modifying the volume amplitudeMulti Tool combines all other tools in oneCombines all other tools in oneDraw for adjusting individual samplesFor adjusting individual samplesToolsToolbarAnnotated.png
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  • Chooses various tools for selection, volume adjustment, zooming and time-shifting of audio.



Recording Meter Toolbar

Grabber for positioning the toolbarFor positioning the toolbarRecord Options for setting display optionsFor setting display optionsRecord Meter for showing recording levelsFor  showing recording levelsResizer for lengthening or shortening the toolbarFor lengthening or shortening the toolbarRecordingMeterToolbarAnnotated.png
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Playback Meter Toolbar

Grabber for positioning the toolbarFor positioning the toolbarPlayback Options for setting display optionsFor setting display optionsPlay Meter for displaying playback levelsFor displaying playback levelsResizer for lengthening or shortening the toolbarFor lengthening or shortening the toolbarPlaybackMeterToolbarAnnotated.png
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  • Displays playback levels.



Mixer Toolbar

Grabber for positioning the toolbarFor positioning the toolbarSlider Recording for setting recording levelFor setting recording levelSlider Playback for setting playback levelFor setting playback levelResizer for lengthening or shortening the toolbarFor lengthening or shortening the toolbarMixerToolbarAnnotated.png
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  • Adjusts the recording and playback volumes of the devices currently selected in Device Toolbar.



Edit Toolbar

Grabber for positioning toolbarFor positioning toolbarCut for removing audio, that can then be pasted elsewhereFor removing audioCopy for copying selected audioFor copying selected audioPaste for pasting cut or copied audioFor pastingTrim for silencing audio before and after a selectionFor silencing audio before and after a selectionSilence for silencing selected audioFor silencing audioUndo for undoing the last edit you madeFor undoing the last edit you madeRedo to undo an undoTo undo an undoZoom In for more detailFor more detailZoom Out for an overview of the audioFor an overview of the audioZoom so that selection fits width of displayZoom so that selection fits width of displayZoom so that project fits width of displayZoom so that project fits width of displayZoom Toggle to switch back and forth between two zoom levelsTo switch back and forth between two zoom levelsEditToolbarAnnotated.png
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  • Cut, copy, paste, trim audio, silence audio, undo, redo, four zoom tools.



Play-at-Speed Toolbar

Grabber for positioning the toolbarFor positioning the toolbarPlay-at-Speed for starting play-at-speedFor starting play-at-speedPlayback Speed for setting playback speedFor setting playback speedResizer for lengthening or shortening the toolbarFor lengthening or shortening the toolbarPlay-at-SpeedToolbarAnnotated.png
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  • Plays audio at a slower or faster speed than normal, affecting pitch.



Scrub Toolbar

Scrub Toolbar
  • Starts, stops or switches to Scrub play or Seek play, and hides or displays the Scrub Ruler.
  • This toolbar is not shown by default. Select View > Toolbars > Scrub Toolbar to show the toolbar, which by default docks in the upper dock.



Device Toolbar

Grabber for positioning the toolbarFor positioning the toolbarAudio Host for selecting which system will manage audioFor selecting which system will manage audioRecording Device for selecting the recording deviceFor selecting the recording deviceRecording Channels for setting mono or stereoFor setting mono or stereoPlayback Device for selecting the playback deviceFor selecting the playback deviceResizer for lengthening or shortening the toolbarFor lengthening or shortening the toolbarDeviceToolbarAnnotated.png
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  • Selects audio host, recording device, number of recording channels and playback device.



Selection Toolbar

Grabber for moving this toolbarFor moving this toolbarProject Rate for setting number of samples per secondFor setting number of samples per secondSnap-To for making selections only at certain intervalsFor making selections only at certain intervalsStart for start of selectionFor start of selectionEnd for end of selectionFor end of selectionSelection Type Chooser for selecting by start/end middle/length etcFor selecting by start/end middle/length etcSelection Toolbar - click on the image to see this toolbar displayed in the default context of the lower tooldock layoutSelectionToolbarAnnotated.png
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  • Controls the sample rate of the project, snapping to the selection format

    and adjusts cursor and region position by keyboard input.

    The default position of Selection Toolbar is at the bottom of the main Audacity window, thus it is not visible in the Toolbars image at the top of this page.



Time Toolbar

Grabber for moving this toolbarFor moving this toolbarAudio Position for showing what time play or record head is atFor showing what time play or record head is atResizer for lengthening or shortening the toolbarFor lengthening or shortening the toolbarTime Toolbar - click on the image to see this toolbar displayed in the default context of the lower tooldock layoutTimeToolbarAnnotated.png
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  • A read-only toolbar which displays the current audio position. When Audacity is not Playing or Recording this will be either the current cursor position or the beginning of the current selection if present. When Playing or recording it dynamically shows the current Play head or Record head position



Spectral Selection Toolbar

SpectralSelection Toolbar (FrequencyWidth variant)SpectralSelection Toolbar (LowHigh variant)
  • Displays and lets you adjust the current spectral (frequency) selection without having to be in Spectrogram view.
  • This toolbar is not shown by default. Select View > Toolbars > Spectral Selection Toolbar to show the toolbar, which by default docks in the lower dock, beside or under Selection Toolbar.
  • Choose your preferred format option from the dropdown menu above the boxes: Center frequency and Width  menu dropdown or Low and High Frequencies  menu dropdown.
In Center frequency and Width view, to clear the spectral selection entirely just use the Delete key after having clicked on any of the digits (note carefully that this is not the Delete key on the numerical keypad). When in Low and High Frequencies view you can clear either input box individually with the Delete key.




Customizing Toolbar Layout

Tip The size and position of toolbars can be customized. See Customizing Toolbar Layout for details.




Toolbar dock areas

There are two dock areas for toolbars in Audacity. By default, most of the Audacity toolbars are in the upper dock, with only the Selection Toolbar and Time Toolbar in the lower dock.

Toolbars can be arranged and resized within either of the two docks, or floated free of the docks.

Upper Toolbar dock area

Transport Toolbar for Play, Record, Pause, Stop, Start and EndFor Play, Record, Pause, Stop, Start and EndDevice Toolbar for choosing playback and record devicesFor choosing playback and record devicesTools Toolbar for selecting edit mode, e.g. envelopesFor selecting edit mode, e.g. envelopesMixer Toolbar for adjusting record and playback volumeFor adjusting record and playback volumeRecording Meter Toolbar for measuring recording volumeFor measuring recording volumeEdit Toolbar for Cut, Paste and ZoomingFor Cut, Paste and ZoomingPlayback Meter Toolbar for measuring playback volumeFor measuring playback volumePlay-at-Speed Toolbar for adjusting playing speedFor adjusting playing speedTopDockAnnotated.png
Click for details
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Lower Toolbar dock area

Selection Toolbar for selecting time rangeFor selecting time rangeTime Toolbar for viewing current play/recording timeFor viewing current play/recording timeLowerDockAnnotated.png
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Additionally if you choose to show the Spectral Selection Toolbar from the View Menu (it is not shown by default) then it will also be shown in the Lower Toolbar dock area by default.

Spectral Selection Toolbar includes controls for manipulating a Spectral Selection. Using the "Center Frequency" and "Width" boxes, or the "Low Frequency" and "High Frequency" boxes, you can create or adjust a precisely defined spectral selection without having to click or drag with a mouse in Spectrogram view.Spectral Selection Toolbar in lower tooldock green-boxed.png