Becoming an expert at correcting transcripts with Descript is mostly about being
comfortable with using your keyboard. If you haven't already, read our "How to Transcribe a voice audio file" article to learn how to use Descript to generate and correct and Automated Transcription.

If you already know most of the common keyboard shortcuts used when working with text, you're already going to be a step ahead.

The more comfortable you are with these tips, the less you'll have to pause audio while correcting a transcript within Descript.

Some Definitions:

When correcting a transcript, you're primarily working with the Playhead and the Cursor.

The Playhead is the box that highlights the currently playing word. 

The Cursor is the blinking line you use to make edits to the text.


Using the cursor, you can edit the text even when the audio is playing.

Handy Transcript Correction Features

Playback Speed

It can be helpful to slow down or speed up audio playback while you’re making corrections to your transcript. To do this, hit the speedometer icon toward the top of the app and use the slider to select your desired speed. This will impact playback across the whole document — but when you export your audio, it will play back normally. 

Patient Playback

One of the handiest features for transcript correction is Descript’s unique Patient Playback. To enable it, hit the speedometer icon and check the appropriate box. Patient Playback automatically slows down audio playback when Descript detects you’re making changes to your transcript — then it speeds back up when you’re done. 

This is generally much more efficient than simply reducing your playback speed, because it lets you move quickly through passages that don’t have any errors. Try it out!

Attach Cursor to Playhead

Often when you’re making corrections to your transcript, you’ll want to edit text that corresponds to the audio you’ve just heard — but sometimes your cursor is on the other side of the screen, where you made your last correction. Here’s a trick to solve this: hit Esc and your cursor will jump to the playhead’s current position,  and hitch a ride. 

Now you can ‘hop off’ the playhead when you see a typo, make your corrections — then hit Esc to do 'hop' back on and do it again. This feature, paired with Patient Playback, can lead to major gains in efficiency.

Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts

Getting comfortable with the keyboard shortcuts is crucial. 

They'll help you get the cursor and playhead where you want it as quickly as possible, and make it possible for you to clean up your transcript while hardly ever pausing.

Special Descript shortcuts

  • option + space to toggle play/pause. Use this to start and stop audio playback from the position of the playhead.
  • option + shift + space to move the playhead to the current cursor position. Use this to play the audio from your cursor. This is super useful if you want to rewind / re-listen to a section.
  • option + mouse click on the script to play from the click position. This is useful if you want to jump playback somewhere away from the playhead and cursor.
  • command + R  to insert a speaker label. Speaker labels are a great way to quickly know who is talking within your project. 
  • option + [ seek playback 5 seconds backwards. Useful if you'd like to go back to hear what you've just corrected.
  • option + ] seek playback 5 seconds forward. Useful if you'd like to skip playback ahead to quickly move through a section.
  • Esc to Attach Cursor to Playhead (see above for more details).

Standard Mac shortcuts (you'll already know these if you're a keyboard text editing master)

  • option + ←/→ to move the cursor one word to the left/right.
  • command + ←/→ to move the cursor to the beginning/end of the current line. 
  • Add shift to either of the above to make it a selection.
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