≡ Menu

How to Edit Audio Using Audacity

Say you have an mp3 recording and you want to cut several minutes out of it, or you want to remove some of the “ums” and “you knows”. Sound difficult? Not at all. It’s actually pretty straightforward using the free downloadable software called Audacity.

Audacity how-to articles:

Here’s an article and another article that show visually how to edit audio using Audacity.

Audacity video tutorials:

Audacity Video Tutorial #1 – How to Download Audacity and the LAME mp3 Encoder

Audacity Video Tutorial #2 – How to Set Up Audacity

Audacity Video Tutorial #3 – How to Edit in Audacity

Audacity Video Tutorial #4 (below): How to Cut Audio in Audacity


Written tutorial on how to edit audio in Audacity

If you prefer a written tutuorial on how to edit audio using Audacity, follow these step-by-step instructions written by coach Bob Janes in response to a query on the Coachtalk discussion list.

1. Open Audacity and use File | Open to open the file you want to edit.

2. Go to File | Export as WAV and save the file with a different name so that you don’t mess up the original. (NB if you want to save here or later as an MP3 file then you’ll need to download the Lame MP3 Encoder from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/windows and tell Audacity where to find it. I save the Lame MP3 Encoder file to my Desktop, to make it easy to locate.)

3. In the main window you’ll see some wave forms to the right – probably two if it’s a stereo recording; to the left of each wave-form is a scale; and to the left of that a box with the file name and some descriptive info.

4. Go into the top left corner of the top wave form and your cursor will turn into an I bar, click close to the start of the wave-form. A vertical line will indicate the point in the wave -form that you clicked.

5. This time click and drag to the right and you’ll select a chunk of the wave-form and it will appear with a darker blue background.

6. Move your mouse near the left hand edge of the selected section and it will turn into a hand-pointer. Use this to push the edge of the selection right to the beginning.

7. Now you need to move the right hand edge of the selection to the end of the section you want to cut out. If this is just silence or background noise you may be able to see the difference. If not we’ll come back to that in a moment.

8. To cut a section when you’ve selected it just use Edit | Cut. Try it now then use Edit | Undo to put it back.

9. If the end of the section you want to cut isn’t distinct then we need to hunt it down. Click the cursor roughly where you think it is so that the vertical bar shows, then press Play on the Control bar near the top of the screen.

10. Listening for a second or two should tell you where you are.

11. Use the pointer to move the selection point (the vertical line) back and forth until you find the break point you want. If in doubt go a few seconds early.

12. Now hold shift and click near the start of the wave-form and you’ll see you have the first few minutes selected. Push the left hand edge to the beginning and Edit | Cut.

13. To finish off the start click and drag a selection from the beginning to a few seconds into the recording.

14. Click View | Zoom to Selection and the selection will fill the wave-form window.
15. You have much finer control now and can find exactly the point you want to cut to. (Just repeat the same process as above).

16. To finish you might want to put a second or two of silence as a leader, if so, click at the beginning of the track, and use Generate | Silence to insert it.

17. Use File | Export As . . . To save your recording. (The practical choices here are either WAV – high quality but very big files, use these if you expect to edit again; or MP3 (requires the Lame MP3 Encoder) good enough quality compressed files, use these to distribute the edited version.

Hope this article clears up any mystery about how to edit audio using Audacity.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jeremy July 14, 2008, 8:31 am

    Thanks a ton! Worked perfect for me.

  • Ben November 21, 2009, 8:31 pm

    Thanks for this tutorial! I just cut up a bunch of mp3’s to make a CD of metal solos only…. lovely~!

  • sabbir July 2, 2011, 6:24 am

    wow ! At last i found this page!.. Thank u 4 tutorial. Thanks google.