Transport Toolbar

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Transport Toolbar has buttons for controlling playback, recording and for moving to the project start or end. The buttons can also be controlled with keyboard shortcuts.

Click on the toolbar image below to see this toolbar displayed in context of the default upper tooldock layout.
TransportToolbar - click on the image to see this toolbar displayed in the default context of the upper tooldock layout

The Pause button Pause  Transport > Pause or P

Click Pause to temporarily pause playing or recording without losing your place. Click Pause a second time to resume.

You can also click Pause before clicking Record, then click Pause again to start recording. On some systems or devices, "arming" recording in this way with the stream already open might start recording more quickly.

Note that in earlier versions of Audacity while you were in Pause mode, editing and other commands were grayed out and unavailable except for Real-time preview effects. This has now changed so that invoking an edit command while paused will stop playback and call the command.

The Play button Play  Transport > Play/Stop or Space

You can press Play when there is already playback or when playback is paused to restart playback immediately from the editing cursor or selection.
The Play button Play: playback begins wherever the editing cursor is. Otherwise, if an area of track is selected, only that selection will be played.
The Loop Play button Loop Play: play the track or selection over and over until you stop. Hold down Shift while clicking Play. This causes the button image to change to Loop Play The Loop Play button.
You can use the Shift + Space shortcut to start Loop Play instead.
The Play Cut Preview button Play Cut Preview: play audio either side of a selection to preview what deleting the selection will sound like. Hold down Ctrl ( on Mac) while clicking Play.
Alternatively you can use the C shortcut to preview the cut. This also causes the Play button image to change to Play Cut Preview.
The Play button in Transport Toolbar plays at standard speed, or as speeded up or slowed down over time by adding a Time Track envelope. The easiest way to play at a fixed faster or slower speed is to use Transcription Toolbar.

The Stop button Stop  Transport > Play/Stop or Space

Stops playing or recording immediately, and releases Pause if depressed. You must stop playback or recording before you can use the "Skip" buttons below.

Use Transport > Play/Stop and Set Cursor (or its shortcut X) to stop and set the cursor at the stop point.

The Skip to Start button Skip to Start  Transport > Skip to Start or Home

Move the cursor to the beginning of the project. This is useful if you want to play everything, or record a new track starting from the beginning.

The Skip to End button Skip to End  Transport > Skip to End or End

Move the cursor to the end of the project.

  • Holding down Shift while clicking Skip to Start extends a selection region from the cursor position or current selection region to the start of the project.
  • Holding down Shift while clicking Skip to End similarly extends a selection region to the end of the project.

The Record button Record  Transport > Record or R

Record button Record: Clicking Record or using the R shortcut always begins recording at the end of the currently selected track(s).
The Record New Track button Record New Track: Hold down Shift while clicking Record, or use its shortcut Shift + R, to start recording in a new track at either the current cursor position or at the beginning of the current selection.
Any users who had the CleanSpeech customized interface enabled in 1.3.13 or earlier 1.3 versions of Audacity will find that Transport Toolbar has an empty space which previously contained the CleanSpeech button. This space can be removed by choosing View > Toolbars > Reset Toolbars .