Editing & exporting

Basic editing with audacity

The process of editing requires that you first know your source file (the file you will edit). You need to know where a cut needs to be made. Play the audio file and listen for where you want to make your first edit.

Once you know the part you want to edit select the area by clicking on where the cut should start, holding down the mouse button, and dragging the mouse to the end of the area to be cut. If you do this correctly the area to be deleted will be highlighted in grey:

In the above example you can see that I have highlighted the area from 1 minute (1:00) to one and a half minutes (1:30). A selection of thirty seconds. To delete the file I can now click on the Edit menu and choose 'cut':

When you release the mouse button you will see that the selected area has disappeared and the length of your file will have been reduced.

Focusing on the area to be cut

If you have just opened an audio file just press the green play button to listen to the entire file:

Once you have listened to it you may wish to take some notes to help you decide which area you wish to delete ('cut'). It is also a good idea to replay the area that you will cut to make sure you are selecting the right area. To do this you can select the area, as described above, and then press the play button and Audacity will only playback the selected area. This will help you decide if the selected area is actually the audio you wish to delete. If its not the right area then start again by selecting another area.

If you need to focus closer to the audio to make a 'finer' cut, then press on the magnifying glass icon:

This will enlarge the time scale shown and give you a 'closer' view of the audio. You can 'zoom out' of the audio again by pressing the magnifying glass with the minus sign in it:


If you wish to shift audio from one place to another then you can easily do so with Audacity. First select the area you wish to shift. I will use the same area I used in the cutting example:

Now choose cut like you did in the above example.

The audio will now be cut from the track. Now click on the audio that is left at the point you where you want this audio to be shifted to.

In the above example you can can see that I have decided to insert the audio at the 4 minute mark. Now choose the Edit menu and select Paste:

The audio will now be inserted and you if you look at the Audacity window you should see the selected audio in its new place :

Exporting with audacity

Projects created in Audacity are always saved in Audacity's own unique file format that cannot be opened by most other software. It is therefore necessary to export projects to more common file formats in order to use them with other audio software or media players.

Audacity can export the following formats: AIFF, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis.

AIFF files provide uncompressed CD quality audio so this format should be used if you want to open your Audacity project with other music production software or CD authoring software.

MP3 and Ogg Vorbis are both compressed audio formats so they have lower sound quality but much smaller file sizes making them ideal for use in media players or online distribution. One important difference between these two formats is that Ogg Vorbis is completely open source while MP3 is not. Many audio players however don't support the playing of Ogg files, you need to consider that when distributing your audio. 

To export your file click "File" then click on the format that you want to export as.

You should now see a window like this:

Use this window to edit the file name and select or create an appropriate folder into which to save the new file. Once you are happy with that simply click on "Save" to begin exporting. The time it takes to export the project will depend on the length of the recording and the speed of your computer.

When exporting is complete, you should now be able to see the file in the folder that you chose to save it into looking something like this:

That's it. You can now enjoy listening to the results of your Audacity project through other audio software or transfer it on to your portable media player.