Audacity for blind users

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Revision as of 08:04, 3 September 2009 by DavidBailes (talk | contribs) (updated link to jaws guide to 1.3.9)
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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 current stable Audacity 1.2.x version without a mouse.
However we strongly recommend the visually impaired to use instead the current 1.3.x Beta series of Audacity until its much improved screen reader and other accessibility features are incorporated into the next stable release (1.4)


Tips for 1.2.x versions


Beta 1.3.x series

The Audacity developers have been working on better keyboard and screen-reader access in the Beta 1.3.x versions of the program. A very important feature of the Beta (1.3.2 and later) versions is the ability to fully manipulate the track selection using the keyboard . The improvements for the visually impaired are not yet fully documented, but there is useful information in the Documentation and mailing lists section below.


Documentation and mailing lists

Audacity4blind website and mailing list - no longer active, but there is still an archive with lots of useful questions and answers.

A Guide to using Audacity 1.3.9 with the commercial JAWS screen reader for Windows, by David Bailes. It includes tips for navigating 1.3.9 without the mouse which should be helpful to users on all operating systems.


Free Screen Readers

NVDA  for Windows. This is said to work quite well with Audacity.

VoiceOver  built-in screen reader for OS X. Audacity does not work especially well at the moment with VoiceOver. This is because there is no current support for it in the wxWidgets  GUI library which Audacity uses.

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 Audacity Beta, including reading most of the toolbar controls.