Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software It is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.
You can use Audacity to create and edit audio-based projects ranging from podcasts to musical scores. The sky is the limit!
Click the record button in the top left hand corner to begin recording. This will create a new track.
Click the stop button in the top left hand corner to stop recording.
This will add the file as a new track.
Here are some of the basic tools that you can make use of in Audacity.
Selection - Click in a track to position the cursor or click and drag to select a range of audio; can be used to select multiple tracks; shift + click a new point in the track to extend the selection
Envelope - Provides detailed control over how tracks fade in and out; click and drag a green control point to a new position; click anywhere in a track to add a new control point; drag a point outside the track to remove it
Draw - Draws waveforms; alt + click to smooth an area of audio; ctrl + click & hold to edit a single sample
Zoom - Allows you to zoom in and out of a specific part of the audio; click anywhere in an audio track to zoom and right-click or shift + click to zoom out
Time Shift - Click and drag to change the position of tracks relative to each other in time
Multi Tool Mode - Lets you perform multiple editing actions
Move to Start - Places the cursor at the start of the project; shift + click expand the current selection to the start of the project
Play - Press to listen to the audio in the current project; playback begins at the current cursor position; if audio is selected, only this audio will play
Record - Records a new track from the input device (e.g., microphone)
Pause - Pauses recording and playback; click again to unpause
Stop - Stops playback immediately (as does pressing the spacebar)
Move to End - Places the cursor to the end of the project; shift + click expand the current selection to the start of the project
There are a variety of ways in which you can manipulate audio in Audacity. Some of the basic functions are outlined below.
In order to name audio tracks, hover over the left hand tab.
Click the drop down button.
Select Name... to rename your track.
You can now use the time shift tool to move this trimmed audio to the beginning of the timeline.
Stretching and condensing audio can be achieved by using the same tool.
Here, you can change the length of the audio you selected. To stretch audio, increase the length (e.g. from 1.51 seconds to 3 seconds). To condense audio, decrease the length (e.g. from 1.51 seconds to 0.05 seconds). Click OK.
Once you click OK, your audio will be stretched/condensed.
You can also move the track by clicking in the blank space of the track label and dragging the track up or down.
To delete a track, click the X icon on the track label.
To delete part of the track, select the area you would like to delete using the selection tool. Navigate Edit > Remove Special > Split Delete. In doing this, you will remove the selected portion.
There are many different ways you can adjust audio in Audacity. Playing with the different effects will enable you to change aspects of your audio tracks. Here are some basic functions:
To adjust the volume of a track, you can toggle the gain. Moving it towards '-' decreases the volume, and moving it towards '+' increases the volume of the track.
In order to fade tracks in and out, you can use different effects. You follow the same steps for fade in and fade out.
To import music beds, you follow the same instructions as importing audio files:
Click import and the file will appear as a new track in your workspace.
At the end of a work session, be sure to save your project.
Once your project is complete, you are ready to export.
For a more detailed breakdown of the different functions available on Audacity, feel free to check out this resource.