Power In American Society - Audacity

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Audacity is developed by a team of volunteers and released under an open-source license and is the only audio editing software that is run on Mac's, PC's, and Linux computers. Go to http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ to download the most current version 1.3.13 Beta.

Getting Started

  1. Prepare a project folder labeled with your name and gather all source audio files in this location.
  2. Launch Audacity from the applications folder, or the doc.

Create an Audacity Project

  1. File > Save Project
  2. Label the project with your name and choose to save into your project folder.

Note: Audacity project files can only be viewed in Audacity and will not open in other applications.

Importing audio

File > Import > Audio navigate to the audio files that you want to import from your project folder.

  • In the warning dialogue, choose the "safer" option to copy files.

This folder will contain all your audio files and edit information so you can continue to work on different computers so keep this folder and it's information contained.

  • Save Often! preferably after every edit.


Transport Toolbar - controls playback and recording Audacity-transport-toolbar.png

Tools Toolbar

  • Selection or "I-beam" tool
  • Volume adjustment or envelope tool
  • Zooming
  • Time-shifting - move audio waveforms horizontally within your project
  • Multi-function tool


Meter Toolbar - displays levels for playback and recording


Mixer Toolbar - controls the mixer settings of the sound card


Transcription Toolbar - plays audio at a slower or faster speed, affecting the pitch

Audacity-transcription toolbar.png

Edit Toolbar - cut, copy, paste, trim, silence, undo, redo, sync-lock, zoom



Tracks > Add new > Audio track, Stereo track, Label track, or Time track

Mono track -Single audio file recorded with one microphone Audacity-mono-track.png

Stereo track -Single audio file with a left and right track recorded with a stereo microphone Audacity-stereo-track.png

Label track -Add markers or regional markers to the whole project or individual tracks Audacity-labeltrack.png

Track Control Panel:

  • Rename the track
  • Provides sample information
  • Mute or solo the track,
  • Increase volume for the track
  • Pan left-right function
  • Split Stereo Track to separate a stereo file to two mono tracks to edit each channel separately
  • Change each split track to mono.
  • Rejoin channels by selecting the two mono tracks and select > make stereo track


Tips for organizing your project

  • Keep a copy of the original tracks.
  • Use label tracks to identify portions and make notes (great for working in a group).
  • Copy portions from the original audio track and paste into a new track to only keep the portions you want.
  • Mute any audio tracks that you will not use to omit it from the final exported version.


Listen to your project hit the spacebar on your keyboard to Stop or Play

Label tracks and take notes of your project Listen to your audio and make labels.

Go to Tracks > Add New > Label Tracks

Zooming In/Out helps you make accurate selections of your waveform.


Highlight a portion of audio using your Selection Tool Audacity-I-Beam-tool.png


Tracks > Add Label at Selection

Name your label.

Use Tab on your keyboard to select forwards to the next label, and SHIFT+Tab to select backwards to the previous label.

Editing Audio

Open a blank track - this will be your working pallet. Tracks > Mono track or Stereo Track

Choose the Selection tool Audacity-I-Beam-tool.png in the Tools Toolbar.

Highlight your audio then Edit menu > copy

Select a point in your empty track then Edit menu > paste

File > Save Project


Noise Removal

Removes unwanted background noise.



Increases the overall volume of your waveform equally.



Let's you control a tracks volume changes smoothly over time. Audacity-envelope.png

Select the envelope tool. Click a beginning, end, and middle point on your audio waveform. Click and hold on a point to increase or decrease the volume.


  1. Mute all the tracks you don't want to be apart of the final mix
  2. ChooseFile > Export - exports the entire project except muted tracks
    • or File > Export Selection - exports only selected portion of your project
  3. Name your project accordingly, last name of interviewee_final.wav, (Lori Blewett = blewett_final.wav)
  4. Choose an Audio File Format
  • Select .wav for a high quality uncompressed file.
  1. Save into your project folder
  2. Backup your project folder containing all the original audio files, audacity project files, and final export to Orca > Workspace.