Audacity for blind users

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Revision as of 17:31, 20 January 2016 by DavidBailes (talk | contribs) (Documentation and mailing lists: update link to jaws guide)
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This page contains information for blind or visually impaired users of Audacity.
We strongly recommend the visually impaired to use the current release of Audacity and keep it updated. The latest version will always have the best screen reader and keyboard accessibility.

A very important feature of Audacity is the ability to fully manipulate the selection using the keyboard.

Screen reader access works very well on Windows. Mac OS X screen reader support now requires considerable adjustment following a transition to wxWidgets 3, but a 2.1.1 accessible build is available on our Mac OS X downloads page. Screen reader support 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 "Free 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 2.1.2 with the commercial JAWS screen reader for Windows, by David Bailes. It includes tips for navigating Audacity 2.1.2 without the mouse which should be helpful to users on all operating systems.

Tips for blind users

Gale 15Feb14: ToDo-2 David B. has suggested the below links are looked at to see if they are still relevant to 2.0.x. Navigating Effects is definitely relevant to 2.0.x.
  • Some of this content may only be relevant to legacy 1.2 versions of Audacity.

Free Screen Readers

  • NVDA for Windows. This works well with Audacity.
  • VoiceOver built-in screen reader for OS X.
Warning icon Unfortunately, Audacity 2.1.2 is not accessible for users of VoiceOver, and this was also the case for the Audacity 2.1.1 release.

However, an accessible version of Audacity 2.1.1 is available on our Mac OS X downloads page. The name of this accessible version is "2.1.1-screen-reader" (DMG and ZIP downloads are available). It is hoped that future versions of Audacity will be accessible for users of VoiceOver.

  • 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 moderately well with Audacity, including reading most of the toolbar controls, but does not read TimeText controls (spinbox digits). Orca does not indicate track focus or selectedness.