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Record and Edit Audio with Audacity


Audacity is a free Digital Audio Workstation which allows you to record, edit, and play back sound on a computer.  These instructions assume you have downloaded and installed Audacity and the LAME MP3 encoder and that you have a microphone plugged into your computer.  For information on installation and for access to installation files, see .


Set Preferences

  • Open Audacity
  • Go to Edit--> Preferences


  • Make sure the desired recording device (e.g., microphone) is selected (as in the image above)
  • Next to Channels, select Mono.  This will ensure a smaller file size.
  • Click OK

Use the Interface

  • Press the Record button record.png
  • Begin speaking/recording the sound you wish to capture
  • Press Stop button when finished stop.png
  • Press Play button to hear the recorded content play.png

The recording appears as a visual representation of the sound in a virtual track.  Edit this sound wave (e.g., adjust volume, delete sections) to change those properties of the audio recording.


Here are some useful actions you can perform when a section of audio is selected:
cut.png Cut (Edit-->Cut; Delete; Backspace): Remove selected audio from track
trim.png Trim (Edit-->Trim): Remove all audio surrounding selected portion of that track
silence.png Silence (Generate-->Silence): Replace selected audio with silence of the same duration
Amplify (Effect-->Amplify): Increase or decrease volume of selected audio

Move Audio Content in the Timeline

  •  When you record additional audio in the same project, it will appear on a new track
    • The audio will be merged when the file is exported; Otherwise, merge the audio by copying (copy.png) selections from one track and pasting (paste.png) into another
    • Move audio tracks on the timeline by selecting the timeshift (timeshift.png) icon, then select and drag a track to the desired location on the timeline

Save the Project and Export MP3

  • Save the session as a project (Fileà Save Project) so it can be opened and edited with Audacity in the future
  • Export the audio as an MP3 (Fileà Export As MP3) to mix all the audio into a single track that will playable on most standard media playing software applications

Advice for Quality Recordings

  • Use a USB microphone
  • Have the microphone between 6” - 12” away from the audio source (e.g., your voice)
  • Do all recording from the same distance and position to maintain a consistent sound profile
  • Read from a script
  • Record short segments
  • Make sure the sound waves are large enough to indicate a good moderate volume level without extending past the top and bottom of the track container.  See the image below for an example of good volume levels in a recording: