Basic Editing with Audacity

Software name : Audacity
Software version : 1.2 

As far as audio editing software goes, Audacity is about as easy as it gets. Thats not to say­ its easy, if you haven't edited audio before then the whole concept can get a little bewildering. However with a minimal of practice you should be able to make fast work of editing.

Firstly, you will have to have some audio to edit. You can either record some using Audacity, or open an audio file from your computer. 

There are some simple methods that form the basis of editing with Audacity. We will look at deleting sections of audio ('cutting') and shifting audio. With these two methods you can already do quite a lot.


You will of course have Audacity open in front of you with an audio file ready to edit. 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 so play the audio file and listen for where you want to make your first edit.

Lets assume you have chosen the area to be cut. You need to know 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 ahve 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 :


Now experiment with cutting and pasting audio!