Audacity for blind users

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Revision as of 20:56, 12 February 2014 by DavidBailes (talk | contribs) (Moved the documentation section above the tips section.)
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This page contains information for blind or visually impaired users of Audacity. It includes tips that make it easier to use the legacy Audacity 1.2.x version without a mouse.
However we strongly recommend the visually impaired to use instead the current release of Audacity as it has much improved screen reader and other accessibility features incorporated.

Current Audacity release

The Audacity developers have been working on better keyboard and screen reader access for the current release of the program. A very important feature of current Audacity is the ability to fully manipulate the selection using the keyboard.

Screen reader access works very well on Windows and Mac OS X but still needs further development on Linux. Please read the Accessibility page in the Manual for full information about Audacity's keyboard and screen reader accessibility.

Please read the "Screen Readers" section below for links to free screen readers.

Documentation and mailing lists

Further help is at hand if you need it.

  • A Guide to using Audacity 2.0.5 with the commercial JAWS screen reader for Windows, by David Bailes. It includes tips for navigating Audacity 2.0.5 without the mouse which should be helpful to users on all operating systems.

Tips for legacy 1.2.x versions

Free Screen Readers

  • NVDA for Windows. This works well with current Audacity versions and also with legacy 1.2 versions.
  • VoiceOver built-in screen reader for OS X. Audacity 2.0.1 onwards works well with VoiceOver. Audacity versions before 2.0.1 had no explicit support for VoiceOver and very little of the Audacity interface will be read.
  • Orca for Linux/Unix. As of GNOME 2.16, Orca is a part of the GNOME platform, so is already provided by default on a number of operating system distributions, including Open Solaris, Fedora and Ubuntu. It does not work with the KDE environment. Orca works quite well with the current Audacity, including reading most of the toolbar controls.