Audacity is a free, open source program that allows you to record and edit audio files. With Audacity, you can professionally edit sound in many ways. As a versatile tool, it is easy to explore Audacity's various options while at the same time creating new, exciting content to use in your courses. All you need are a pair of headsets, a good microphone, and/or a set of speakers. The following instructions apply to Audacity 1.2.6 on the Windows platform but in general the functionality is very similar across platforms.

Table of Contents




Audio Document Creation

Other Recording Applications


Helpful Links



This Audacity Documentation is primarily split into four sections. Each section is discussed in a similar manner.

In recording, you are shown how to do simple recording skills and to record your voice, music, and other audio.

In Editing, you are shown the control toolbar, and how to use its tools to improve your audio document.

In Audio Document Creation Section, the editing toolbar is shown, and you find how to import and export your audio files.

Finally, in Other Recording Devices Section, you are shown how to use simpler recording devices such as DLRecorder or Windows Sound Recorder as an alternative to Audacity. If you are still having troubles with Audacity, then please refer to the Troubleshooting section or the Reference section of this documentation. There, we have answers to common troubleshooting problems, and where to go for additional help.

Figure 1.JPG Recording

1. Open up Audacity (figure 1).

2. Press record button.

3. Speak into the mike.

4. Press pause if you are interrupted, and stop if you are finished with recording.

5. You can now play your selection. Use the fast forward or rewind button to go back and forth in your selection. Figure 2.JPG Recording from Other Applications Open on your Computer

With Audacity, you will be able to open up a separate audio file, and be able to record it without using a microphone. We will discuss how to export Audacity files to mp3 files later in this documentation.

1. Open up Audacity.

2. Open up the audio program.

3. In Audacity, go to the mixer toolbar(figure 3), and switch the option from line in(your microphone) to wave out mix in the pull down menu.

Go to filepreferenceschannels(a pull down menu) and change channels from 1(mono) to 2(stereo).

4. Press Record in audacity.

5. Press Play in the other window.

6. Press Stop when you are done recording. You will have recorded the whole sound clip when you are done. To test this, press Play in Audacity to make sure you have whole clip.

Figure 3.JPG Editing

In editing you use the tools to change the recording to create audio documents. Below are some useful hints on how to use these tools.

Control Toolbar

This section explains the functionality and use of certain tools in Audacity. The control toolbar(figure 4)is shown below.

Figure 4.JPG

selection tool-Use this to select one portion of your recording. It can allow a user to listen to one particular section over and over again. Simply click on this button, choose a spot, hold down, and move cursor to the end of the part. Press play to listen to that particular section. select.JPG

envelope tool-the envelope tool is used to increase or decrease the amplitude in various areas. Select an area, and then slide the mouse up and down depending on how loud or soft you wish the amplitude to be. If you move the sound waves closer to the center of the line and compress them, they will become softer. If you move the sound waves so that they expand outward, they will become louder.envelope tool.JPG

draw tool-in order to use this, you must zoom in until you can see dots on the waveforms. The dots can be connected together to form lines on a curve. The draw tool can change sounds by changing the dots that represent the sound.draw tool.JPG

zoom tool-zoom magnifies an area. Simply click on a specific area with zoom multiple times, and you can see the individual points that make up the sound waves. There is also another button on the edit toolbar that has this same function.zoom tool.JPG

timeshift tool-This allows you to move the selection, without affecting the selection itself, to a different part of the time plot.

timeshift tool.JPG

multi-tool-This tool can do everything all the other tools can do. You simply need to move the cursor in specific ways to activate specific functions. For instance, it can time shift by moving a bar on the far left or right to whatever direction it needs to. It can select a specific portion of the selection by using the cursor as normal. It can also become the envelope tool by moving the cursor up and down while holding down on the selection. Zoom and Draw are the only tools it cannot imitate.multitool.JPG

Using Timeshift

The timeshift tool can be used over a number of recordings. This section deals with using time shift to move sections of recording over many recordings.

1. Create a recording.

2. Create another recording.

3. Click on the selection tool, and choose the whole second recording.

4. Click on timeshift tool, and move the recording to the back of the first recording.

5. Exit the second recording, then press Play to hear whole recording.

Using the Draw Tool

In order to erase unwanted noises from your recording, you can use the Draw Tool. It can do this with great accuracy.

1. Find the exact place the blip or crackle takes place.

2. Use the Zoom button to zoom in, until you can see individual plot points, and dots.

3. Use draw tool to click on one area and then move the mouse in a horizontal line. The horizontal line at 0.0 will represent silence.

4. In addition, Alt+Click smoothes an area down into a line. Ctrl+click and hold edits one dot at a time, but can move the dot with a mouse.

Audio Document Creation

Here we will discuss how to properly utilize tools to give you audio documents a finishing touch.


This section explains the functionality and use of certain buttons in Audacity. Below is the edit toolbar (figure 5).

Figuer 5.JPG

Cut-after selecting a section, the piece of recording that was selected will be copied and cut out of the rest of the recording.cut.JPG

Copy-After selecting a section, the section will be copied, but original will remain intact.


Paste-After copying or cutting, pastes places the chosen section in any selected, desired area.


Trim away the audio outside the selection-Any part that has not been selected will be deleted.


Silence the selected audio-choose a piece of the recording, and then press this button to quiet that part. It creates a straight line, which is complete silence in that one section, but does not cut out the selection.


Undo-undoes last action.



Redo-redoes last action.


Zoom in-zooms into the selection so that you can see the sound wave up close.

zoom in.png

Zoom out-zooms out of selection so you see less detailed version of sound wave. 

Zoom out.png

Fit Selection in Window-zooms in or out enough so that the selected part of the recording you have chosen is shown in the whole window without moving left or right. Fit selection in window.png

Fit Project in Window-zooms in or out enough, so whole recording can be seen without moving left or projection in window.png


Importing audio files to audacity is a very simple process. However, only certain types of files can be imported. Included are WAV, AIFF, AU, MP2/MP3 and OGG Vorbis file formats.

1. Open up Audacity.

2. Open the page where your file exists.

3. Drag the image of the document into audacity. If this works, then a sound clip should appear in Audacity.

4. Test out sound clip to see if it imported correctly. If it has, then you are done.


1. Open up Audacity.

2. Go to Project→import

3. When the import window opens, go to your audio file, and click on it.

4. Then press the import button.

5. If the import has succeeded, then a sound wave should appear in the work area.

6. Test out sound clip to see if it imported correctly. If it has, then you are done.


A podcast is a series of digital-media files which are distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media. After creating the podcast, it will be able to be uploaded to an online podcast service. If others subscribe, and you care to make another podcast, they will be notified immediately so that they can download your newest podcast.

1. First, open up Audacity.

2. Create podcast.

3. Go to file→ export as MP3. You'll then be asked to locate your LAME encoder file. Find the file, and then press Open.

4. A window will pop up. Fill in the spots, such as labeling the podcast, and click on the podcast option. Click on save.

5. Test if the podcast was correctly exported by finding the file on your computer, and click on it. If it plays on an audio player, such as Windows Media Player, then it has been exported.

6. Go to a site, such as Blackboard's Wimba podcaster, and upload the podcast to the internet.

Exporting as WAV

A simple file format to export your audio document in is .WAV. It doesn't export well, so the sound quality will be lower when you play it back on another platform.

1. Go to File→export as WAV.

2. When the window shows up, click the area where you want the file to be exported to and fill in a name.

3. Go to where it is on your computer, and play it back. If it works, then it has been correctly exported. If not, then retry steps 1-2.

Other Recording Applications

There are simpler programs that simply record, playback, and save voice recordings. If you find Audacity too hard to use, and wish to use simple recording functions, then it is suggested to use these programs. Included are Windows sound recorder and a program named DLRecorder. DLRecorder is available on all Mac OS and Windows in the Blume Language and Culture Center. Windows sound recorder is available on all Windows desktops.


DLRecorder has the same usability on Windows and Mac OS. Once you click on DLRecorder, you should come to the DLRecorder window (figure 7). DLRecorder.png

1. This is the standard recording application. See the Recording Section in Audacity. If you wish to delete the recording, press Close.

2. Loading toolbar

     a. Load-This loads any music file that is on your computer to DLRecorder. The file formats that can be loaded onto DLRecorder include

          -RIFF Wave (.wav)

          -MP3 (.mp3)

          -Ogg Vorbis (.ogg)

          -AIFF (.aiff)

          -Windows Media (.wma)

          -ASF (.asf)

     b. Save-This saves the recording as .wav onto your computer.

     c. Submit-although this option is not available on Trinity's computers, it can submit the recording to a website.

     d. Clear-this erases the recording, and makes a new recording window. It has the same function as the close button.

     e. Help-this button opens a window to a DLRecorder documentation.

3. Library toolbar

     a. Library-after a DLRecording has been saved, or a file has been uploaded to DLRecording, then the file appears in this area. The options on the bottom of the screen allow for organization of the files in DLRecording.

     b. Recent Files-the most recent recordings made on DLRecording will appear on this tab.

     c. options-this can change sound volume.

     d. markers- In a recording, you can place a marker. Then you can switch between markers, and hear the recording starting from where you placed the marker.

Windows Sound Recorder

Windows Sound Recorder is a basic audio recording device. It is found in Start MenuProgramsAcessoriesEntertainment. Once you click on Sound Recorder, you should come to the Sound Recorder Window (figure 8).

windows sound recorder.JPG

1.Refer to Audacity's Recording section on how to use Windows Sound Recorder


I can't record anything.

It is a common mistake to plug the microphone into the headset/speaker jack by mistake. Please check if your microphone is plugged into the right jack When recording, red bars should be spiking somewhere in audacity to indicate sound. If they aren't, then your mike isn't working/plugged in. In other cases, it may be because Windows Vista has turned off some of your recording devices. This link describes how to select the devices.

I can't use the control toolbar option

Some computers, like Windows, need to change their settings in order to use the last mixer toolbar option to record sounds from the computer to the computer.

I have a Logitech usb headset, and I still can't see the pulldown menu in the mixer toolbar.

Logitech can only record voice or anything spoken into its mike. This is because it doesn't have multiple input choices. Please switch to another headset that can be entered into the microphone jack instead of a usb headset in order to utilize the mixer toolbar. Also note that if you are using a usb headset, and a mac, then you cannot record in anything other than mono without receiving an error message. If you would like to record on a mac with Audacity, then go to AudacityPreferencesQuality and change the default sample rate to 44 100Hz and default sample rate to 16-bit.

Audacity crashed, and I need to recover my unsaved document.

First, launch Audacity. You will then be asked to delete files in the temporary folder. Click no. Then go to start buttondocumentsmy documentstemporary folder. Select all the ones that are formatted in the .au file format. Then you can drag them into the audacity window to import them (see importing section of this document). Your audio document will now be in 10 second pieces, so you will have to put them back together in the correct order, through timeshift, cutting, and copying. If done carefully, the document should be recovered.

Audacity won't play something I imported.

Audacity can only work with .aup, .wav, .aiff, .mp3, Sun Au/NeXT, IRCAM, and Off Vorbis. You can download a converter online

Helpful Links


Feel free to stop by the STA office in Room 134 in the library, which is right next to the Blume Language and Culture Center. Also call us at X2589, or e-mail us at

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:


Map LITC Level 1.jpg

Locations of visitors to this page