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Audacity Tutorial

Audacity is a sound editing application. It is very professional and still easy to use. It can be used to edit most kinds of audio files.  

It works by creating a picture of the sound waves that would be created by a file (called a waveform).  This makes it much easier to find and define the part of the file you want to change.   
Basic Tutorial
  1. Find Audacity in your application launcher.
  2. In the Welcome to Audacity window, press OK.
  3. Press the record button, and say something into the microphone.  When you are done, press the stop button.
  4. Test the sample using the play button. Hold down the shift button while you click on the play button to loop the sample.
  5. Using your mouse, highlight a section of the recorded waveform. The selected area should turn a darker gray. Notice that if you press the play button now, it only plays that part of the file.  
  6. Apply an echo to the selection by going to Effect Menu>Echo>OK. Play the selection to hear what it did to your sound.
  7. Undo the effect by pressing Ctrl+Z. (That means to hold down the Ctrl key and the pressing the Z key.)
  8. Try out a few more of the effects in the Effects menu.  Also, play with the options once you have selected an effect to see how it changes the result.  Ctrl+Z will always take away the last effect.
  9. So far, have been using your mouse as the selection tool.  Now, click on the envelope tool.  
  10. With the envelope tool selected, click and drag from anywhere on the upper or lower edge of your track, and drag towards the center line.  Notice that as you drag to and from the center, it shrinks and grows the waveform.  This raises or lowers the overall volume of your track. Also notice that after you release the click, there are four white dots that are left behind.  These are called handles.
  11. With the envelope tool still selected, pick a new spot along the waveform and click and drag from that spot.  You should notice that you can raise or lower the volume of a part of the track by dragging up and down, and that you can create slower fades by dragging away from your original handles towards the ends of the track.  You can use the envelope tool over and over to create fades in and out throughout the track.
  12. Select the move tool from the toolbox.  Click and drag your track to move it forward and backward in the timeline.  This may not seem useful right now, but when you start using more than one track to create a new sound file, it will be very important.
  13. At the left end of the track you should notice some options. Press the Mute button and the waveform will turn grey. Press the Mute button again so you can hear the track again.
  14. Next to the Mute button is the Solo button.  If you press this, all other tracks will mute.
  15. Save
  16. Export
  17. Close the track by pressing the x button that is on the left hand side of the screen.
Advanced Tutorial
  1. Download the files at the bottom of this page (I dunno by grapes and the I Have a Dream speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King).
  2. Import them both into Audacity by going to the File menu>Import>Audio and then navigating to your Downloads folder.  You should be able to get them both at once by clicking on one file and then holding Ctrl while you click the second. (Note that you can also open a file through File>Open, but if you want to use more than one track, and you open them both this way, they will not be in the same Audacity file.  File>Import allows you to bring the file, or import it, into your working Audacity file.


Selection ToolEnvelope Tool
Enveloped Wave
Move Tool
Solo Button
Mute Button

Jonathan Sallée,
Dec 4, 2012, 8:19 PM
Jonathan Sallée,
Dec 4, 2012, 8:14 PM