Tutorial: Express Scribe Hot-Keys, Timestamps, & BITCs

Express Scribe Hot-Keys, Timestamps, and Burned-in Time Codes

Are you manually typing timestamps into your transcript? Stop the madness!

It’s easy to automate much of the process, even for videos with burned-in time codes (BITCs). That’s why Expedited Transcripts provides them for free!

To find your path to sanity, download Express Scribe. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to insert timestamps and BITCs by pressing two or three keys.


This article addresses the questions:

  • How do I configure hot-keys to insert a file’s elapsed time (F1, Ctrl+V)?
  • How do I switch elapsed time to BITC?
  • How do I paste elapsed time/BITC using F2?


How do I configure hot-keys to insert a file’s elapsed time?

Express Scribe shows elapsed time by default. Follow these steps to make F1 copy the elapsed time.

Express Scribe Elapsed Timestamp

Counts up from 00:00:00


  1. Open Express Scribe
  2. Click Options icon
  3. Click Hot-Keys
  4. Check the box, “Enable system-wide hot-keys.”
  5. Click Add
  6. In the Command dropdown, select Copy Time
  7. Click Change
  8. Enter your desired hot-key. I’m using F1 in this example.

What you’ve accomplished: Pressing F1 then Ctrl+V inserts the elapsed time!


To customize your timestamp:

In this optional step, you can add text/formatting to your time stamp. For example, you could add brackets or any text you wish: “[00:00:00]” or “Expedited Transcripts Audio [00:00:00].”

  1. Click Display
  2. Select a Format
  3. Enter formatting in Prefix/Suffix

What you’ve accomplished: Pressing F1, Ctrl+V inserts the elapsed time and formatting!


How do I switch elapsed time to burned-in time?

Burned-in time refers to the visible time code in a video, like you’d see in unedited show tapings or security footage. In the following steps, you’ll plug the video’s starting BITC into Express Scribe. If you haven’t yet configured a hot-key to copy the elapsed time, see the previous section.

Important note: Raw videos (e.g. TV shows) commonly fast forward through dead air. This means you need to monitor the video’s actual BITC and update the one you plugged into Express Scribe. This is necessary since the plugged-in BITC counts independently of the video’s actual BITC (which can’t be linked to Express Scribe). Luckily, Express Scribe displays videos above the play button. So if you enlarge the window, it’s easy to monitor the actual BITC for changes.

Express Scribe Burned-in Time Code, BITC

Counts up from 45:16:23

  1. Enlarge Express Scribe so you can see the video’s BITC. Note the starting burned-in time.
  2. Right click your file
  3. Click Dictation Information
  4. Next to Time Offset, enter the starting burned-in time from step 1.
  5. Click Okay

What you’ve accomplished: F1, Ctrl+V inserts the BITC!


How do I paste elapsed time or BITC using F2?

To the best of my knowledge, Express Scribe doesn’t have a paste command. Therefore you’ll need a workaround to paste content if Ctrl+V is too tedious. In this section, I’ll show you how to switch F2 to a paste function through your keyboard settings.

Please note I’m using a Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 on Windows 10. These exact steps may not work for you, but it should at least direct you to change your keyboard settings. Using my keyboard method:

F2 is paste hot-key for Microsoft keyboard

  1. Click Start
  2. Type “Keyboard,” click your keyboard
  3. Click “Click here to change Microsoft keyboard settings.”
  4. Click App-Specific Settings (changes F2 only within MS Word)
  5. You should see a picture of your keyboard. Click the F2 key in the picture.
  6. At the bottom, click View all commands. This only changes F2. Ctrl+Z will still undo changes.
  7. Scroll down to Content Commands and click Paste (Ctrl+V).

If you have a PC and these steps don’t work, you may be able to change Function keys by clicking Start > Mobility Center or through BIOS on startup.

Troubleshooting: If you press F2 and nothing happens, try hitting the “F Lock” key to see if this fixes the problem.

What you’ve accomplished: F1 then F2 inserts the elapsed time or burned-in time.



Life should be way easier now that you can insert timestamps and BITCs by pressing just 2-3 keys. If audio transcription is still driving you nuts, contact us and we’ll do the work for you!

Click here for more tips to using Express Scribe (directs offsite)


Image by jlaswilson

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