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!

How To Get Started

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the download button depending on which operating system you have

  1. Click through set-up on your device
  2. Ta da! You are ready to start creating

Creating and Adding Audio Tracks

To record directly into Audacity:

  1. Click the record button in the top left hand corner to begin recording. This will create a new track.

  1. Click the stop button in the top left hand corner to stop recording.

To import audio files into Audacity:

  1. Click File > Import > Audio (or Shift+Cmmd+I)

This will add the file as a new track.

If you're importing audio files from your phone, you may need to convert it to an MP3 file.

This can be done in

Tool Breakdown

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

Manipulating Audio

There are a variety of ways in which you can manipulate audio in Audacity. Some of the basic functions are outlined below.

Naming Audio Tracks

  1. In order to name audio tracks, hover over the left hand tab.
  2. Click the drop down button.
  3. Select Name... to rename your track.

Trimming Audio

  1. To trim audio, first use the selection tool to highlight the audio you want to keep. Do this by dragging the selection tool from the start point of the desired audio to the end point. Once you have selected your audio, it will appear highlighted in white.

  1. Now, either press Cmmd + T or navigate Edit > Remove Special > Trim Audio to trim your audio. This will remove audio before and after your selection.

  1. You can now use the time shift tool to move this trimmed audio to the beginning of the timeline.

Stretching and Condensing Audio

Stretching and condensing audio can be achieved by using the same tool.

  1. First, use the selection tool to highlight the audio you wish to stretch or condense.

  1. Now, navigate Effect > Change Tempo. A pop up box will appear.

  1. 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.

  2. Once you click OK, your audio will be stretched/condensed.

Splitting Audio Clips

  1. To split audio clips, use the selection tool to find a point in your track that you want to split.
  1. Next, navigate Edit > Clip Boundaries > Split (or Cmmd I) to split the track into two.

  1. From here, you can use the time shift tool to move the split clips across the timeline.

Rearranging Audio

Moving Tracks

  1. If you want to rearrange audio tracks, you can click the drop down button next to the name of your track and choose to move your track up or down.

You can also move the track by clicking in the blank space of the track label and dragging the track up or down.

Rearranging audio

  1. You can select a portion of audio you don't want, or do not want in this section, and split this into it's own track. First, select the audio you wish to move using the selection tool.

  1. Now, navigate Edit > Clip Boundaries > Split New.

  1. This will split the part of the audio you selected into a new track. You can choose to delete this track if you want.

  1. Now, using the time shift tool you can move the original audio into place.

Deleting Audio

  1. To delete a track, click the X icon on the track label.

  1. 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.

Adjusting Audio

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:

Adjusting the Volume Levels of a Track

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.

Adding Fade In/Fade Out Effects

In order to fade tracks in and out, you can use different effects. You follow the same steps for fade in and fade out.

  1. Using the selection tool, highlight the area of the track you want to fade in or out (usually at the beginning of end of the track).

  1. Next, navigate Effect > Fade In.

  1. Once you click Fade In, you will notice that the volume levels of the highlighted portion will have changed. If you clicked Fade Out, the inverse effect would apply.

For instructions on saving your project, you can find a walkthrough here

For a more detailed breakdown of the different functions available on Audacity, feel free to check out this resource.