"What is That?"

The Audacity "What is That?" web page shows the main components of the Audacity User Interface. You can find out more about these components.
  • Hover over an item to find out what it is called.
  • Click on an item to dive down into more detail.

The menus work too.

The 'Reset' button gets you back to the starting screen.

Menu Bar

Many commands in Audacity appear in one of the menus. This page directs you to full documentation for those menus.

Transport Toolbar

Transport Toolbar has buttons for controlling playback and recording and for moving to the project start or end

Tools Toolbar

Tools Toolbar allows you to choose various tools for selection, volume adjustment, zooming and time-shifting of audio

Recording Meter Toolbar

Recording Meter Toolbar displays the amplitude of audio being recorded. It is an easy way to see if audio which is being recorded is clipped, which results in distortion.

Playback Meter Toolbar

Playback Meter Toolbar displays the combined amplitude of all audio tracks being played in the project. It is an easy way to see if audio which is being edited is clipped, which results in distortion.

Mixer Toolbar

Mixer Toolbar is where you adjust Playback Volume (how loud the project's audio sounds, not affecting the volume of exported audio) and Recording Volume (the amplitude at which recordings will be made)

Edit Toolbar

Edit Toolbar has buttons to perform Cut, Copy, Paste, Trim and Silence, Undo/Redo, Sync-Lock Tracks and Zoom functions. This is an alternative to using menu items or keyboard shortcuts for the same tasks.

Transcription Toolbar

Transcription Toolbar lets you play audio at a slower or faster speed than normal, also affecting pitch

Device Toolbar

Device Toolbar provides an easy way to select your required combination of audio host, playback device, recording device and recording channels, without having to open Devices Preferences


The timeline shows where in the audio you are.

  • A Pinned/Unpinned button (left) selects how the Play or Recording head moves. Pinned it stays in fixed position and the screen scrolls. Unpinned and it moves from left to right as audio plays or is recorded.
  • The ruler marks units of time. You can quickly select and play ausio by dragging in the timeline ruler.

Scrubbing and Seeking

Scrub Ruler is the primary method to Scrub or Seek. Click in Scrub Ruler then move the mouse to Scrub, or click then drag to Seek, which skips along the audio.

Track Control Panel

The Track Control Panel at the left of the audio track has controls and status indicators for the track, including a Track Dropdown Menu for changing View Mode and audio properties of that individual track.

Vertical Scale

A vertical scale ruler is to right of the Track Control Panel.

Audio Tracks

The waveform (visual representation) of the audio contained in the audio track. Tracks may be made stereo (combined left and right channel), mono or split into separately editable left or right channels using the Track Dropdown Menu (in the Track Control Panel at left of the audio track).

Label Tracks

A Label Track is an additional track that can be created in your project. The labels in the label track can be used to reference points or regions in the project's audio tracks but the label track itself does not contain audio.

Selection Toolbar

Selection Toolbar includes controls for Project Rate, Snap To and for manipulating units of time or other selection formats

Status Bar

Status Bar displays messages about recording or playback, indicates parts of Audacity that are being hovered over by the mouse, and provides hints about how to use Audacity