How To

34 handy keyboard shortcuts for Audacity


If you’ve ever done any kind of audio editing you’ve probably at least heard of Audacity – that free program that covers the basics but probably isn’t as good as a more pricey DAW like Pro Tools, Logic, or Ableton. While a heavyweight DAW like Ableton can get the job done like a champ, don’t overlook Audacity just because it’s free. Spend some time with the program and you can work absolute magic with it. People will hear your final mix and be absolutely shocked that you made it with freeware.


One easy way to take your Audacity skills to the next level is to familiarize yourself with its many keyboard shortcut commands. This will allow you to work faster, gain a more discerning edge over your audio product, and fine-tune your tracks more accurately and meticulously. Here’s a list of 34 different shortcuts you can use as you work:

Universal commands

Starting with the absolute basics, these are general Windows commands that seamlessly translate over to Audacity for ease of use. You’ve probably used many of these before in a program like Microsoft Word or Photoshop, and Audacity conveniently keeps the paradigm.

Audacity preferences menu shortcut

CTRL+N New project

CTRL+O Open project

CTRL+W Close project

CTRL+S Save project





CTRL+V Paste

CTRL+A Select all

CTRL+D Duplicate

CTRL+P Preferences

Playback commands

Audacity shares similar audio playback functionality as other digital audio workstations (like Pro Tools, Reaper or even Finale). If you start using Audacity more consistently you’ll be using these functions a lot. These shortcut commands will save you a ton of time:

Audacity play shortcut B

Space Play/Stop

Shift+SPACE or L Loop

P Pause

R Record

1 Preview for one second

B Play from cursor to selection

Navigation commands

Editing audio is a lot of zooming in and out, selecting parts of the file, syncing tracks, and picking just the right nanosecond where you want to start that Fade Out effect or modify the volume a touch. Navigating your project is a cornerstone of using the interface, and getting a grasp of the relevant keyboard commands will grant you more finesse, maneuverability, and precision.

Audacity zoom feature
Set your zoom level faster with CTRL+#

CTRL+1 Zoom in

CTRL+2 Zoom normal

CTRL+3 Zoom out

CTRL+E Zoom to selection

F4 Zoom tool

F1 Selection tool

Edit commands

At its heart Audacity is free editing software, and that’s what the program’s all about. The following edit commands are what you’ll probably be using the most, to avoid having to keep clicking on obscure toolbar buttons or hunting through menus. Get used to these and you’ll be able to add effects, switch tools, and remove unwanted noise on the fly.

Audacity Amplify tool window
Switch to the right tool for the job.

F3 Editing tool

CTRL+R Repeat previous effect

Delete or CTRL+K Delete

CTRL+L Silence

F2 Envelope tool

F5 Timeshift tool

F6 Multi tool

D cycle tool forward

A cycle tool backward

For editing audio on a budget, you can’t do much better than Audacity. While it does suffer a few shortcomings (such as an inability to import WMA, AAC, AC3, or proprietary file formats), you’re getting a program that can keep up with other digital audio workstations, and that does it all for free. Other Audacity functions include multi-track mixing, vocal reduction and isolation, MIDI playback, and even full cross-platform operation.

We hope these helpful shortcut commands save you time! Stick with Softonic for more Audacity tips and tricks.

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