Record and edit audio with Audacity

How To Record and Edit Audio with Audacity: A Step-by-Step Guide

Printable Guide for Audacity


Open Audacity

  • Once you open Audacity, you will be brought to the general layout dashboard.

How to Use Audacity

Input Source

  • While you can record directly from your computer, for the best sound quality it’s recommended that you use a separate microphone (such as the one attached to your headphones, or a higher quality one that you can check out from the Library Front Desk).
  • Once your microphone is plugged in, you will find it under “Primary Sound Capture.”

Microphone Check

  • Choose your microphone by name and from there you can adjust the audio levels and conduct your microphone check.

Audio Recording

  • Audacity’s layout contains the familiar: pause, play, stop, skip and record functions.
  • When you are prepared to officially record, click on the big red record button.
  • The Audacity platform comes to life when you start recording. The timeline displays in real-time, while your WAV files are being created.
  • Click the “Pause” button to pause your recording or the  “Stop” button to finish recording that clip completely. You can also press your spacebar to Stop.
  • Clicking the “Play” button will allow you to listen back to your recording.
  • You will more than likely have some corrections or general edits to make before finalizing your recording.

Editing Audio Files on Audacity

    • Audacity displays a visual representation of the audio (known as a waveform) and has controls for zooming in and out of this representation allowing you to focus on particular portions of your audio track. Hold down your mouse button and drag across the waveform to select a portion of the audio. This selection can then be deleted or copied and pasted wherever else you put your cursor in the wave form.
    • The main tool that you will use to edit files is the selection tool that looks like a capital “i”.
    • Use this tool to click and highlight the section of audio you want to edit.
    • You can delete entire sections this way by simply highlighting them and hitting the delete or backspace buttons.
    • For other editing options, you can highlight the section and drop down the “Effect” menu from your toolbar.
    • Here is a quick video to show you the basic tools in action: https://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/LIS/Audacity#Editing_Audio (Can’t embed the vid into google docs but this is a good one and explains everything written out here)

Saving Your Audacity Work

  • Once your recording is complete, you can save the file in MP3 or WAV format, the two most popular formats for different use cases.

Chose “File > Save Project” to save your recording for future editing OR
Chose “File > Export as WAV…” to save an uncompressed version of your recording
Chose “File > Export as MP3…” to save a version to share with others

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