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Please see the common Help topics below.  If you are unable to solve an issue, please contact us via the Contact page.

What file types does the FTW Transcriber play?

The FTW Transcriber plays a huge range of file types, including, in alphabetical order:

3gpp, aac, ac3, ape, asf, dat, dss, ds2, dts, flac, flv, hdmov, it, m2ts, mkv, mkv, mo3, mod, mov, mp3, mp4, mpeg, mpg, mtm, nuv, ogg, ogm, ps, s3m, ts, tta, umx, vi, vob, vorbis, wav, wma, wmv, wv, xm

If you have difficulty playing a particular file type, update your Windows Media Player, and also install the latest version of the FTW Transcriber, ENSURING during installation that you install ALL codecs for which you see prompts.

If you cannot play dss or ds2 files, please install this codec:

If you still have difficulty after that, please contact us.

Note that when the FTW Transcriber plays certain file types, it first converts them to wav.

When I press a hotkey, the FTW Transcriber inserts the text twice.

This can happen on some computers when typing into Wordpad or Notepad.  Until we fix the issue, please use Word or a different word processor.

Do I need Windows Media Player on my PC to use the FTW Transcriber?

For most file types, yes.

A file is playing but I hear no sound; how do I fix this?

Ensure the volume slider on the FTW Transcriber’s interface is fully to the right. Then install this additional codec:


Does the FTW Transcriber work on Apple computers?

Yes, if you install a Windows environment using software such as WMWare Fusion.  Click here for information.

I’m having difficulties transcribing from a DVD – what can I do?

To solve problems transcribing from a DVD, please visit this page:

Which word processors does the FTW Transcriber work with?

The keyboard shortcuts and automatic timestamps will insert into most applications. If you’re using Microsoft Word, Word does not need to be the active window for this to happen. Any other application does need to be the active window – that means it has to be in front of all other applications on your screen, and the cursor has to be flashing within it.  Note that you should only have one word processor open at a time.  If you have open Word and Google Docs, for example, even if you’re typing into Google Docs the FTW Transcriber will insert timestamps into Word.

I see an error message “Access denied to ftwt.cfg”.

This issue occurs when you do not have full permissions on your computer, normally because your administrator has restricted them for security reasons. Three possible remedies are given below in the order of the simplest first – please try them in turn.

1 – when opening the program, go to the FTW Transcriber icon on your Desktop, right-click and then click Run As Administrator, then the program will open and you can proceed as normal.

2 – reinstall the FTW Transcriber but this time, during the installation process when you are asked where you want to install it, type C:/FTWT, then click Next.

3 – if you have an administrator, ask them to set up write permissions to the folder where ftwt.cfg is located on your computer.

When I try to use the hotkeys, I keep getting this message: ‘This command is not available because no document is open.” but a document IS open. What can I do?’

This message is actually being displayed not by the FTW Transcriber but Windows, normally because one of your hotkeys is conflicting with another program on your computer. Close as many other programs as possible on your computer, and make sure you only have one instance of the FTW Transcriber open.  Also change the hotkey that causes that error message to another key on your computer, such as one of the keys on your numeric keypad (ideally not an “F” key).  The more obscure the key you choose, the less likely it is to interfere with the other software you are using.  To change a hotkey function to another key, click Settings, then Change Hotkeys, and follow instructions

I can’t Change Hotkeys.  Every time I click the Change Hotkeys button, either nothing happens or else the “Press new key” appears for a split second then disappears.  Is there a workaround?

The menu disappears because your computer thinks you’re pressing a key.  This issue may occur on computers that have both buttons and a touchscreen, and some users have found that if they use their touchscreen to click the Change Hotkeys button, the process works fine.

Why can’t I get the hotkeys to work?

By default, the hotkey functions are associated with the “F” keys along the top of the keyboard.  On some keyboards, the “F” keys will only work if you first press the “F lock” key.  On some computers the hotkey functions may not work if the “F” keys are disabled or are also being used by another program. In such situations, the best recourse is to go to Settings and remap the hotkey functions to other keys. You should be able to change them to virtually any other key on your keyboard, though of course it makes sense to choose keys that you ordinarily do not need, such as the keys on your numeric keypad.

Before you remap to keys on the numeric keypad, you should ensure that “Num Lock” is off, otherwise every time you press a numeric keypad key, a number will be inserted into your transcript. To test whether Num Lock is off, open a word processor and press some of the numeric keypad keys. If numbers appear in the word processor, Num Lock is still on. Press it again to turn it off.

On some computers, particularly Hewlett-Packard laptops, the “F” keys will only work with the FTW Transcriber if you press the “Fn” key and the “F” key at the same time.  This is obviously not realistic for transcribers, but workarounds are explained at these help pages:

The FTW Transcriber isn’t inserting timestamps into my document – what’s going wrong?

There are a few steps you may need to go through to fix this. If you can get the manual timestamps to work, the automatic ones should too, so we will focus here on the manual timestamps.

Note that if you have both Microsoft Word and another word processor open on your computer, the FTW Transcriber will add the timestamps to Word, even if you’re looking at and using the other word processor.

Sometimes manual timestamps won’t insert into Google Docs or another word processor. If the FTW Transcriber’s timestamp hotkey (F9 by default) doesn’t work, try CTRL-V.

If none of the above help, proceed as follows: first try restarting your computer.

If that does not help, try changing the timestamp key to a non-F key, such as one of the keys on your numeric keypad.  See Changing Hotkeys.

If that doesn’t fix the issue, download the latest version of the software from here:

If that still does not fix the issue, please follow these instructions EXACTLY. Close down as many programs as possible on your computer, INCLUDING Microsoft Word. Open a basic text editor like Notepad, then open the FTW Transcriber, click Settings, then under “Play Mode”, check the “Play until…” option. Then open a file and set it playing. Then go to Notepad and press the timestamp key, which is F9, unless you have changed it. Does a timestamp appear? If yes, try the same test with your normal word processor. If the timestamp does not appear there, it may be that that software doesn’t permit the timestamps to be added (Microsoft Word Starter Edition sometimes does not). In that case, consider changing to a different word processor. There are plenty of free options, including Google Docs (‎), Open Office (, and others.

If timestamps used to work in Word, and then suddenly stop working in Word but still work in other programs, this is normally because of a Word update that has caused compatibility issues.  Try changing the compatibility settings of both Word and the FTW Transcriber back to what they were prior to the update.  The exact list of steps to do this may vary depending on your operating system, but you should normally right-click on the program’s icon, select Properties, and change the compatibility settings there.

If manual timestamps work for you but automatic timestamps do not, note that automatic timestamps only work if you have upgraded to the paid version of the FTW Transcriber.

I can’t play mp3/wmv/mp4/mp4a files properly in the FTW Transcriber.

Click Settings, then Conversion Menu, then check the appropriate box, then click OK, then OK. If you do not see “Conversion Menu” on Settings, please download the latest version of the FTW Transcriber from:

I keep getting this message: ‘Shockwave player not installed. Run setup.exe again to fix this problem.’ What can I do?

You are probably using an old version of the FTW Transcriber.  Please go to Control Panel and uninstall it, then download the latest version from the Download page.

I can’t use the default hotkeys because I need them for functions in my word processor. What can I do?

Remap the hotkeys to keys you never use, such as those on the numeric keypad on the right of your keyboard. To reset the hotkeys, simply open the FTW Transcriber and click Settings, then follow instructions.

If your computer does not have a numeric keypad, you could consider purchasing an external one, such as this.

Some of the default hotkeys are working properly, but others are doing weird things. What can I do?

This is probably because the hotkeys are conflicting with another application on your computer, i.e. the same key does something in more than one application at a time. Even the FTW Transcriber’s default hotkeys can sometimes conflict with your word processor; for example, the F12 key is used for the PX command in the FTW Transcriber (i.e. for playing a section of audio) but is also a keyboard shortcut in Microsoft Word for “Save As”, so if you press F12 while you have both the FTW Transcriber and Word open, it will probably play audio AND open the Save As dialog, which is clearly unworkable.


The first thing to do is close all unnecessary applications. If the problem remains, the simplest solution is to open the FTW Transcriber, go to Settings and remap the problematic function key to a different key on your keyboard, such as those on the numeric keypad on the right of your keyboard.

For Microsoft Word users, a more advanced solution is to disable the problematic key in Word. A third-party explanation is available here:


I can’t get my foot pedal to work with the FTW Transcriber.

Often the fault is not with the pedal at all but with the file you are trying to play.  Check this by trying to play the file in Windows Media Player – if it will not play there, it will not play in the FTW Transcriber either.  See this page for help with playing files.

Make sure you have connected the pedal properly, installed any necessary drivers and made any appropriate settings on the FTW Transcriber.  Please see this page for full details.

Try to play the file with the hotkeys, e.g. press F1 for play. If the file plays with hotkeys but not with the pedal, there is a pedal issue.  Try these measures:

  • plug the pedal into a different USB port then restart the computer.
  • close down ALL transcription software.
  • start the FTW Transcriber and attempt to play a file that is definitely playable.

We have been told that it is sometimes necessary to turn off Spotify on the desktop in order for the pedal to work.

If all the above do not work, try testing your pedal with other software that is compatible with it.  If the pedal does not work with either that software or the FTW Transcriber, the fault may be with the pedal.

Why isn’t the speedup/slowdown control working?

Some file types, for example video formats, cannot be sped up or slowed down. If you need to change the speed of a video file, you will need to convert it to another format first, such as mp3.

I’m having difficulty playing vob files; what can I do?

Please see this help page:

How do I make the FTW Transcriber play remote files?

With the FTW Transcriber you can play unencrypted files hosted on remote servers without having to download them first. To do this, open the FTW Transcriber, then click Open, then Open File From Remote, then type or paste a remote link into the box. The link syntax must be exactly correct for playback to succeed.

Note that not all servers will support remote file playback. We are unfortunately unable to assist with technical difficulties in this regard as they are dependent on too many factors beyond our control.

To test remote file playback, paste this URL directly into the Remote File window:

Remote file playback will only work properly if your bandwidth is fast enough.

Can I use an FTW Transcriber license on more than one computer?

One license per computer is now required, in order to prevent previous levels of abuse. The license fee is set at a lower level to take this into account.

The FTW Transcriber appears to be showing the wrong length for an mp3 file.  How can I fix this?

Normally this is because the mp3 is recorded at VBR (variable bit rate) instead of CBR (constant bit rate).  You can fix this issue by going to Settings, Conversions Menu, and setting mp3s to convert to wav.

The FTW Transcriber crashes when I play video files but not audio files.

This may be because you have two graphics cards, in which case disable the secondary one.  This issue has occurred for users who have NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.



The FTW Transcriber