Sneak preview: 2012 version of f4

When we were doing our PhD research, we searched for an easy way of transcribing digital audio data. This is why we started to work on our own transcription program. In 2005, we finally released the first version of f4. But now it was about time to reinvent f4:

Over time, f4 became a standard in the field of academic transcription; within the last three years alone, it has been downloaded over 350.000 times. F4 has always been easy to use, and it did include all tools necessary for convenient transcription. What was there to improve? In order to further advance the development of transcription software, we observed and consulted dozens of transcribers, and thoroughly assessed user feedback. The rather obvious result: Transcription does not only rely on hearing - but also on seeing.

Consequently, reinventing f4 meant to rethink the looks of our software: Instead of cluttering the program with too many options visible at all times, we wanted to create a wide open visual space which allows transcribers to listen and to write in a relaxing way. 

More space for what´s important: Typing!

Nearly the whole program window is focused on transcription: While transcribing, f4's numerous options are neatly tucked in on the side of the screen, in the sleek options menu. And the new optional full screen mode further supports concentrated transcription. As usual in f4, time stamps can be inserted automatically into your transcript as you transcribe, and the program is of course still easily controlled via the F4 key or foot pedals.

While transcribing video data, the video is displayed in its own window. You can customize the window's size, move it in front of  other windows, or view it on a second monitor. Also, we included export as SRT file to Adobe Premiere. 

A new comfort function: The wave form display

In the new version of f4, you can optionally display the wave form of the audio or video file you're currently working on (see picture below or video above). The wave form display always shows your exact position in the file, you can quickly navigate through it , and you can even see breaks/pauses in the conversation before you hear them! You can position the wave form display either above or below the transcript text.

F4 mit eingeblendeter Wellenform

Clutter-free options menu

The options menu is free from clutter and it's neatly tucked away on the side of the program window while you transcribe. The menu holds options for adjusting replay, customizing hotkeys, backups, automated shortcuts for turn-taking, time stamps, search & replace functions, premade text elements, language options and many more. You'll find a detailed overview of all functions & options in our compact manual.

How to get the new version

The all-new version will be released by the end of April. F4 will still be available at no cost as "f4 free". With this free license users can replay the first 10 minutes of an audio or video file. The  licenses "f4 plus" and "f4 pro" are available for purchase. "f4 plus" and "f4 pro" do replay audio and video without any limitation. The user manual covers the core functions shared by all three licenses (f4 user manual). The differences between licenses are listed in the table below: 


f4 free

f4 plus

f4 pro



11 Euro
incl. 19% tax
(est. 11 Dollar)

49 Euro
incl. 19% tax
(est. 49 Dollar)

Plays audio & video files*

included included included
Replay time 10 Minuten unlimited unlimited
Support of USB foot pedals Office, IN-USB1+2
Science I + II
Office, IN-USB1+2
Science I + II
Office, IN-USB1+2,
Science I + II
Olympus RS-28
Philips LFH 2310
Grundig 540 USB
Import of external time stamp formats (e.g. from Transana)   included included
Customizable and re-changeable time stamp formats   included included
Commercial license     included
SRT export for Adobe Premiere     included
Customizable time offset     included
Support via website via e-mail via e-mail

* F4 can replay all audio & video files playable in the Windows Media Player, e.g. MP3, WMA, WAV, MPG, AVI and many more. Free codec packs for the Windows Media Player greatly increase the amount of supported file types. We suggest the german website as a trustworthy source for downloading codecs. 

Buy now


What does "Customizable time offset" mean? It doesn't say anything about it in the manual.
Also what are the benefits of a commercial license?
I'd be happy to buy the pro version but I don't really understand the difference vs plus.

Dear Andrew,

Offset means that your audiofile starts from the beginning, but the beginning is 10 minutes 35 seconds. The timemark that will be inserted automatically will normally start at 0 seconds, but if you fill in an offset it will start from 10 minutes 35 seconds. Documentary film makers often use that feature because they work with a lot of videofiles which are parts of a big film.

The pro version has additional features are listed in the table above: commercial use (to use it in an office), offset, additional footpedal support, dss/ds2 support, installation on two computers is possible, telephone support in germany.

If you click on f4plus or f4pro in the information desk above, you find that information in detail.

Best regards

Hi - like the new version. Seems to work more reliably with my In-USB foot pedal.

Just some feedback - when you go to open a media file (in the English version) the file type dropdown is still in German.

Thinking of getting the plus version - I am using it to transcribe interviews taken by a local history group and the automatic annotation of interviewer and subject is THE major time saving factor over the other transcription software.

Dear Andy,
thanks for your feedback, the little language fault will be solved with the next update! And some more timesaving features are on its way, you will recievce them also costfree with one of the next updates.

best regards

Questo programma è veramente pratico. Rende molto più veloci le sbobinature soprattutto perché sono comprese in un unico programma le funzioni audio con quelle di trascrizione.

Is a very good program for the transcription!

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