Audacity for blind users
|This page contains information for blind or visually impaired users of Audacity. It includes tips that make it easier to use the current Audacity 1.2.x version without a mouse.
Audacity 2.x series
The Audacity developers have been working on better keyboard and screen-reader access in the 2.x series of the program. A very important feature of current 2.x versions is the ability to fully manipulate the selection using the keyboard.
Screen reader access works very well on Windows but still needs further development on Mac OS X and Linux. See the Screen Readers section below for more information.
Tips for 1.2.x versions
Documentation and mailing lists
Further help is at hand if you need it.
- There is an Audacity4blind mailing list for "blind people helping each other use Audacity". The list archive is at http://www.freelists.org/archive/audacity4blind/ and you can subscribe here. The subscription is a somewhat complex three-stage process:
- Enter the e-mail address you want to subscribe with at http://www.freelists.org/cgi-bin/lsg2.cgi/l=audacity4blind, leaving the password field blank
- Wait for an e-mail that contains an activation link, then click that link
- In the web page that you come to, click the "Subscribe" button under the "Available Commands" list on the right
- A Guide to using Audacity 2.0 with the commercial JAWS screen reader for Windows, by David Bailes. It includes tips for navigating Audacity 2.0 without the mouse which should be helpful to users on all operating systems.
Free Screen Readers
- NVDA for Windows. This works well with latest Audacity 2.6.
- VoiceOver built-in screen reader for OS X. Audacity works poorly at the moment with VoiceOver because it is not supported by the wxWidgets GUI library which Audacity uses. However please feel free to test our experimental builds of Audacity for Mac with screen reader support. You can let us know of any issues through the Audacity4blind mailing list or our feedback address.
- 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 2.x, including reading most of the toolbar controls.