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Podcasting: Audacity

About Audacity

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Audacity by Dave Pape

Used under CC BY

Audacity is a free program that records, edits, and exports various audio files. It is available both on Macs and PCs and it can save the finished audio in a WAV(Microsoft), AIFF(Apple), or MP3 format.

Using Audacity


To import an audio file, go to File>Import>Audio, or click and drag the music file into the Audacity window

Types of files you can import to Audacity include MP3, WAV, and AIFF

*There is an optional download on the Audacity site that supports additional file types. (To import Zoom audio files into Audacity, install the FFmpeg library.)

Podcasts always sound better with into, outro, and sometimes background and transitional music, but you want to make sure that you're using music legally. There are a few sites that let you download royalty-free music and sounds for free or with attribution, including:


You can find more audio resources on the Finding Media Libguide


Audacity Recording and Playback

Record: starts recording audio from the program. The track will begin wherever the cursor is (so make sure to click “Skip to Start” if you want the newly recorded audio to be at the beginning).

Pause: stops the recording temporarily. Just because the recording has stopped, does not mean it is saved. If you want the clip to start from where you’ve paused it, you must hit the pause button again. The play button will either start it from the beginning or start it from where you selected.

Stop: stops the recording. This must be done before saving or applying effects.

Checking/Changing Preferences

Edit > Preferences. Make sure playback and recording devices are set.

Adjusting Audio Levels

Audacity Audio Levels

Move these slider bars to adjust how loud the playback is, or how much audio is picked up from the microphone.




Audacity Editing Tools



Click and drag the mouse over the audio you want to select-- this will highlight that audio


After selecting, chose “Cut” from the Edit menu. This will delete the selected audio but save it to be pasted later.


Click the area of the track you wish to have the added audio and go to Edit > Paste.

Trimming the Beginning

Click the track just before where you want the audio to start. Go to Edit > Select > Track Start to Cursor. This will highlight the beginning of the track. Press Delete on the keyboard.

Trimming the End

With the Selection Tool, click just after where you want the track to end. Go to Edit > Select > Cursor to Track End. This will highlight from the cursor to the end of the track. Press Delete on the keyboard.


To export, go to File>Export Audio, which will open a window asking you what you want to export the file as.

The audio file can also be exported in pieces. If you only want to export a portion of the file from Audacity, use the Selection tool to highlight the portion of the file you want to export and go to File>Export Selected Audio, which will open the same window with the same export options.

The options include:

  • WAV
  • AIFF
  • MP2

If you want to export the file as an MP3, you have to use an optional program to convert the file. The converter that works best with Audacity is LAME, which can be downloaded here.

Getting Started

Audacity is a FREE software. Always make sure you are downloading the correct program before you accept it on your personal device.

It is most useful to start with pre-recorded sound bites to import into the system, but recording straight from Audacity is also an option.

All computers available to students at Butler University are also loaded with Audacity.

If you don't like Audacity or have concerns about its privacy policy, consider these alternatives. Of the ten alternatives presented, only three share in Audacity's nonexistent price tag: Dark Audacity, Ocenaudio, and Wavosaur.

Scholarly Communications Associate

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Cale Erwin
Irwin Library
Room 104


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937

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