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Recording Audio & Video: Recording with Audacity (Open Source)

A guide for audio and visual recording projects.

Audacity Instructions

Installing Audacity

Audacity is free audio editing software available online, as well as on most library computers available for checkout. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Download the program here:

You will also need to download the LAME MP3 Encoder to export your files in MP3 format.


  1. After installing both programs, open Audacity. Below is the interface you will see: audacity
  2. Click on the red circle to record, and an audio track will appear. track viewer
  3. Click on the yellow square to stop recording.
    Once you stop recording, you cannot continue on the same track. Audacity will record on a new track below the first.
    To extend a track, you can record on the separate track, and then cut and paste.
    To delete a track, click the "x" in the top left-hand corner.
  4. Click on the green arrow to play the clip and test out the audio. You may have to adjust the microphone for volume or distance. Recording volume can be adjusted from the Mixing toolbar.
    mixer tool

Selection & Editing

1.) To select a portion of the audio track, click on the selection tool (an "I" or cursor on the top left). Click and drag across the area you want to select. Press play to listen to the selection to make sure you have the right part.

audacity tools

2.) To adjust the selection, move your cursor over the start or end of the selection until it becomes a pointing finger. Click and drag to change the highlighted area.

3.) To edit the selection, do one of the following: 

Delete: push Delete on the keyboard or choose Edit > Delete from the menu bar. 

Cut: choose Edit > Cut from the menu bar, or click the scissors button. The selection will be removed but copied to the clipboard if you want to paste it elsewhere.

Copy: choose Edit > Copy from the menu bar, or click the copy button.

Paste: choose Edit > Paste from the menu bar, or click the paste button.

4) You can also import audio to the project, such as background music. Go to Project > Import Audio, and locate a saved MP3 file. It will be added as another track.

5) If you want to add effects, such as Fade In or Fade Out, highlight the desired section of your track. Go to Effect and choose which effect you want to add. 



By default, Audacity will save to its own default file format (.aud).

  1. Choose File > Export as MP3 from the menu bar. The "Save MP3 File As" dialogue box will open.
  2. Name the file and save it to your H Drive or removable flash drive. 
  3. If you want to continue working on the project in Audacity, choose File > Save Project from the menu bar.