|This page provides tips on how to use Audacity's labels, which appear in their own label track underneath audio tracks.
Label Features and Documentation
Labels are added underneath an audio track at the cursor or selection position by using the CTRL + B shortcut. When playing or recording, CTRL + M adds a label at the playback position. Note: Use COMMAND instead of CTRL on Mac.
You can type in the label to annotate it. Use TAB to move to the next label or SHIFT+ TAB to move to the previous label.
Labels in current Audacity are documented in this page in the manual.
- Labels can be easily moved around, and changed from a point to a region label by dragging.
- Visually impaired users can edit or move to a specific label using the Label Editor at .
- Exported labels can define a region as well as a point.
Labels documentation for legacy Audacity 1.2 is at online.in the program or
Label Import and Export
Labels can be imported and exported as tab-delimited plain text files using theand commands respectively (in legacy Audacity 1.2.x and 1.3.0, the import command is ).
- Current Audacity supports import and export of label files where each line records the start time and end time of a label and its label text. Start and end times are identical if the label represents a point. The start time, end time and text values should be separated by a tab. Legacy 1.2 syntax (see below) is also supported.
- In legacy Audacity 1.2, each line should have the start time and the label text, separated by a tab. End time is not supported, so labels can only describe a point, not a region.
Here is an example of a text file for current Audacity that denotes a region label called "Speech" extending from 5.5 seconds to 11.8 seconds, and a point-label called "Clap" at 13 seconds:
|5.500000 -> 11.800000 -> Speech
13.000000 -> 13.000000 -> Clap
Here is a file suitable for Audacity 1.2 with two point labels at 5 and 10 seconds respectively:
|5.000000 -> Speech
10.000000 -> Clap
In both cases, the -> denotes a tab mark which would be visible in some text editors.
Importing text files from other applications
Current Audacity and legacy 1.3 (Unicode) versions will correctly import any ANSI-encoded text file containing ASCII (Latin unaccented) characters, or any UTF-8-encoded text file, if the file has the above syntax. UTF-8 encoding will ensure support for all Unicode characters.
If a labels file fails to import in current Audacity or displays question marks or incorrect characters, ensure the application that created the file supports UTF-8. For a Windows application, you may have to use "Save As" and look for a specific option that saves with UTF-8 encoding.
Legacy Audacity 1.2 and 1.3 (ANSI) versions (for Windows 98/ME) will expect an ANSI-encoded text file with only numbers, Latin characters or ANSI-recognized European accented characters. However, such accented characters may still not necessarily display correctly.