The Non Linear Action Editor ( NLA ) - Blender 3D ( 3 )
Using a strip

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Introduction - The strip - Add a strip - Advanced Options -

Once the NLAstrip has been created, the actions and IPO are deleted. New ones can be created and convert them to NLAstrip the same way.
If you play the animation at this stage using ALT+A or ALT+SHIFT+A , you won't notice any change. You will be able to play all or part of it at a chosen moment by editing that NLAstrip.
To the editor, select one of the available NLAstrip with right click and press N. The Popup captured on the right will show up.

Three important things:
1: You have to select the NLAstrip bar. The selected text in the left column has no influence, and it's an easy source of mistake which may lead to unwanted modification of a NLAstrip.
2: If the cursor moves out of the Popup Menu, it will close and modifications will be lost.
3: You have to click OK to validate the modifications. ENTER won't work. Timeline Range and Action Range:

Timeline Range et Action Range:

Action Range:
Here you specify the action to be executed. You have to remember the number of frames used in the original action (in the example it was 1 - 100)

Timeline Range:
Here you specify at which frame the action defined in Action Range will begin.
If you enter:
Strip Start:1
Strip end: 200
Action Start:1
Action End:100
The action will play entirely but at two times slower than original. With Strip end: 50 it will be two times faster. Modifying action duration is therefore very easy.

To delay execution:
Strip Start:100
Strip End:200
Action Start:1
Action End:100
The original animation will start at frame 100.

To execute only a portion of the original movement:
Strip Start:1
Strip End: 100
Action Start:20
Action End:80
The animation will last from frame 1 to frame 100, but only action frames from 20 to 80 will be played.

Easy to understand. If unselected when NLAstrip execution ends, the armature will return to position specified in Action start. If selected the armature will remain in Action End position at the end of execution.
In most case it will have to be selected.

Strip Start:100
Strip End:200
Action Start:1
Action End:100
This time animation is not stretched in time but played twice. If Repeat: 4, it will play 4 times at double action defined speed.