1. Getting Started
  2. Starting a New Recording
  3. Importing/Exporting Files
  4. How to Use Tools


1. Getting Started:

  • Go to
  • Go to “Download,” which is located at the left side of the website.
  • Depending on the type of computer you are using, you can choose either Mac, PC, or Linux.
  • For Mac OSX, click on “Audacity 2.1.2.dmg file”. For PC, you must click on “Audacity 2.1.2 installer.”


2. Starting a New Recording:

  • To start a new recording, you must open Audacity. Go to “File”, then to “New”. The keyboard shortcut is “command-N”. On PC, “ctrl-N”.
  • Now that you have a new file, you start a new recording by pressing “R” on your keyboard. Or you can start recording by pressing the record button
  • If you have your own USB-powered microphone, you need to plug your microphone into your computer before opening Audacity. Otherwise, your mic will not be used in Audacity without plugging it in before.
  • To access your microphone in Audacity, you must go to Built-in Microphone under the playback volume setting.
  • When you are done recording, you can save your recording by going to File,”, and then “Save.” The keyboard shortcut to saving is command-S on MAC OSX or ctrl-S on PC.



3. Importing/Exporting Files:

MP3 Encoding (Importing/Exporting)

In order to import and export audio, specifically mp3 files, you need download the LAME software.

  1. Go to
  2. Go to the Download and pick the type of computer you are using
  3. In both of the Mac and Windows section, scroll down until you find  Optional Downloads.
  4. You must click on LAME MP3 encoder which will send you to the manual page of
  5. Click on the hyperlink LAME download page. This hyperlink will send you to a different page which will provide LAME files for both Macs and Windows.
  6. For Windows, you must click on Lame_v3.99.3_for_Windows.exe
  7. For Macs, you must click on Lame_Library_v3.98.2_for_Audacity_on_OSX.dmg
  8. To import audio into Audacity, you must go to File then to Import. It will give you other options to import. However, for this tutorial you must click on the option Audio. The keyboard shortcut is shift-command-I on MAC OSX or shift-control-I for PC.
  9. To export audio, you must go to File  and Export Audio or shift-command-E.



4. How to Use Tools:

  • At the top of the Audacity window, you will find the “Upper Toolbar Dock Area.” This includes the Transport, Tools, Recording meter, Playback meter, Mixer edit device, and Transcription toolbars.
  • The Transport toolbar is where you can pause, play, stop, rewind, fast forward, and record your audio.
  • The Tools toolbar is where you will find the tools for selection, volume adjustment, and zooming:
  1. The selection tool (the button that looks like a capital “I”) allows you to select a portion of your audio and make changes to it.
  2. The volume adjustment tool (the button that looks like triangles with a line in between them) allows you to manually adjust the audio where you need to adjust the volume. To do this, select the volume adjustment tool, click directly on the audio where you need to make a sound adjustment, and then click and drag again to change the volume. You can either select a portion of the audio, or you can adjust the entire clip at the same time.
  3. To really get into the details of volume adjustment, use the tool that looks like a pencil. Keep in mind for this tool to work, you have to zoom all the way in to your waveform until you can see what looks like dots on a line. With the pencil tool selected, click and drag the pencil above the line to raise the volume, or below the line to lower the volume.
  4. The next tool is the magnifier. This is also another way to zoom into your audio, however, with this tool selected, you can click and drag directly on your audio to select a portion of the audio file to zoom into.
  5. The move tool allows you to move an audio clip along the track. With the double triangle tool, just click and drag your clip to a new location on the track.
    • To monitor your audio levels during recording, go up to the recording meter toolbar and click on it. You can now monitor your recording levels. You can also monitor your playback levels by viewing the playback meter toolbar. The mixer toolbar allows you to control the volumes of the audio during recording and playback.
    • The edit toolbar is where you can find helpful tools to edit your audio.
    • The scissors button allows you to cut out a portion of your audio that you do not want.
  • Copy allows you to copy a portion of your clip and paste allows you to take that copied portion and place it somewhere else
  • Trim allows you to select a portion of your audio and get rid of the unselected portion
  • Silence allows you to silence a portion of your audio
    1. The clock button allows you to sync lock two or more audio tracks together. This means that whenever you move on track, the other will move and stay synced with it.
    2. The undo and redo arrows allow you to undo or redo an action.
    3. The last few buttons on the edit toolbar allow you to zoom in and zoom out of your tracks.
  1. The transcription toolbar allows you to speed up or slow down the playback of your audio. Use the slider to select a faster or slower speed and then click the green play button.