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Audio creators: Transitioning to the new Descript

In addition to 30+ new features, we’ve completely redesigned Descript, reflecting our learnings over the last five years, and setting us up for the next five. But for existing users, it means that a lot has changed. While most of the changes should be self evident and intuitive, some - like new keyboard shortcuts - probably won’t be. This document enumerates everything that’s changed for audio-only podcasters.


Getting Started


App Preferences

Before starting to work on a new project, you'll want to set up your app preferences. Navigate up to the Descript D in the top left corner of the app, and choose App Settings.



From here, you'll be able to set your default project type to video or audio, your default transcription language, change offline storage location when using an external hard drive, turn on dark mode – plus many other helpful settings.




Changing Compositions between Audio <> Video
You can also switch a composition between audio and video. You'll just want to navigate to File > Set composition to audio-only or Switch to video composition.



Media Library

We moved the location of project files and sequences. They’re now in the library drawer, this image icon up in the insert toolbar. (While you're there, check out our stock music and sound fx!)



Compositions are no longer mixed in with project files

They’re now in their own drawer by the composition name. After using your keyboard shortcut to open, you can use the arrow keys and enter to switch compositions super quickly.


Back to project files. You can no longer open files in their own window. When you click on a file, it opens in the sidebar. And from there, you can set an insert point and add it to your project - all the same commands should be there. 



And both the media library and composition list are able to be docked to the left side of your composition.




Keyboard shortcut changes

  • Tab no longer works for playback - it turns out that tab is kind of a non-negotiable keyboard accessibility thing, so we had to take it away. You have to use spacebar for playback, or, if you’re in correct or write mode, we added a new shortcut, command S.
  • We changed the text correction shortcuts. Instead of Q, W and E, they’re now Z, X, and C to toggle capitalization, punctuation, and correct text. This was mostly driven by trying to balance intuitive shortcuts with an ergonomic workflow. It took me a bit but I’m finding these shortcuts are still fast and it’s nice to have things like “C” map to “Correct.”
  • The Overdub selection shortcut is now O instead of D.
  • Reminder to hover over a button or area in the UI to learn its name or shortcut, or visit our list of keyboard shortcuts here

By the way, I know relearning shortcuts is annoying, and we’ll definitely eventually add keyboard shortcut customization because there’s no one size fits all solution, but we think these are a good baseline so give it a try and let us know what you think.


The Script Toolbar


The toolbar that used to be at the top of the script is gone. Now, you get access to a lot of that stuff by making a text selection including formatting text, highlights, ignore, plus other editing functions in the ... menu.

There are a few things still up at the top - the wrench icon that used to house filler word removal and word gap reduction, that’s now this ✨ icon right next to composition settings and search.



Search is initiated in the script toolbar, and then the results show up in the right side panel.



Clip to Composition

Clip to Composition is now called duplicate to. Make a selection, and then it’s in the or right-click menus.



Speaker Labels

Speaker labels are now inline with the script instead of being in the gutter.

To add a speaker label at your text caret position, hit the plus button in the script margin and type speaker label, or use the new keyboard shortcut, the @ symbol. The old shortcut was command R.





Recording has a new icon. And when you click it, you’ll see that you can now record your camera and/or screen directly into the editor, as well as your mic and/or computer audio. And it’s multitrack - so the screen+computer sound and camera+mic input will be on separate tracks, combined into a sequence. You can detached audio from each of those for full 4-input multitrack editing.



A few things have changed with the timeline:

  • If you’re using a mouse, the shortcut to zoom in and out of the timeline is now command/control + scroll wheel. We did this to standardize with how zoom works in other tools, including our own sequences, and in anticipation of adding vertical scroll to our own timeline.
  • Resizing is also a bit different:


Properties Sidebar



We’ve streamlined the properties sidebar. There’s no more track inspector, or what we’re now calling layers - now there’s just this one properties sidebar, which by default is going to show you information on your selected layer.

If you want to make edits to individual clips inside the layer, those are in the clips section - so you can see in here that you can adjust volume and clip speed.


Studio Sound

You’ll find studio sound in the audio repair section of audio effects and now add it to all tracks within a sequence – right from the composition properties panel.



Project Access

This is the button to invite collaborators to your project or share a link.



Transport controls

We moved the transport controls down to the timeline toolbar. Gone are the buttons to skip forward/back by 15 seconds, and replaced they are with these buttons to jump forward/back by marker. Jump to Marker is now up in the Composition settings. 

Playback speed is in this … menu in the timeline toolbar. You can choose a setting or type in your speed.




On this subject, we’ve changed the way that audiograms work. Instead of making it an export option, first use the “duplicate to...” command to create a new composition from your selection, and then use templates to select your audiogram. The cool thing about this is it makes them completely customizable - if you don’t want to use one of our built in audiogram templates, you can easily create your own.


Publish and Export


For exporting your composition, we moved the publish button up here. This menu includes all the different cloud publishing destinations. Or if you want to export a file locally, click the export tab.


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