Audacity for blind users

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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 the current Audacity 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.

For more information please see the Accessibility page in the Audacity Manual.

Tips for legacy 1.2.x versions


Documentation and mailing lists

Further help is at hand if you need it.

  • 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 legacy Audacity 1.2.6.
  • 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.