Audacity Interface
Desktop Apps Training - Other Applications



The Audacity program provides an interface that allows the recording and editing of audio files. Audacity provides a simple interface that enables the user to edit basic sound tracks quickly and at the same time Audacity provides an interface that yields hundreds of effects and possibilities for generating new sound tracks.

Audacity Preferences


Choose File and Preferences and manage changes that may be needed on the system. The Audio I/O permits changes to the devices that are sued for playback and for recording. Typically the default settings here will work fine. Channel settings may be changed from mono to any number of channels providing equipment is capable of using the additional channels. Notice there is the option to play another track while recording which is a handy feature. The Quality settings allow changes to the sample rate or still images, the greater the number the better the quality. The typical sample rate is 44100 which is what WAV and AIFF will use. File Formats allows changes in the format that the track is exported to. Here the standard is WAV 16 bit PCM, but changes may be made for special purposes. OGG and MP3 options are also available. Spectrograms are a method of visualizing the track and any noise that may be located in the track. The Spectrogram may be seen by first selecting the portion of the track to be used then choosing View and Plot Spectrum. The Directories in Preferences allows a manual setting for the tmp files as this space will be used by the program during the editing process. Typically the default will work fine, however if the program indicates more space is needed this may be changed. The Interface settings permit changing of toolbars and displays. Keyboard and Mouse options provide ways to create shortcuts and alter the results of movements.


The Audacity Interface

The simple Audacity interface enables the editing process. The interface is divided into five major sections. The Menu bar includes the text for File, Edit, View, Project, Generate, Effect, Analyze and Help. Each of these selections on the Menu Bar have sub-menus for further options. The second section are the tool buttons which are available; Selection, Envelope, Draw,Zoom, Time-Shift and Multi-Tool Mode. The next section is the buttons that provide the options to move to the start or end of a project, Play, Record, Pause and Stop. Sound of the track playing and sound that is input may be controlled by the sliders provided.

Selection Tool – This tool is used to select portions of the audio by clicking on a track, choosing a location for the cursor or to choose a range of audio that may be moved from one track to another or used to create multiple tracks. When Playback begins it always will start from the location of the cursor, which is positioned by this tool.


Time Shift Tool

There are times when the relative position of two tracks need to be altered using this tool. By clicking the track and dragging it one way or the other the positioning is changed in relation to the other track. Here is an example.

The whole audio track has been moved to the right in relation to any other tracks that are currently open.


Zoom Tool

Once the Zoom Tool is chosen click on the track to zoom in or right click (or shift-click) to zoom out. This example shows a track section which has been zoomed in on.



Play Button – To listen to the audio choose the Play Button. Remember, that playback will begin wherever the cursor is located. The spacebar may also be sued to play or stop the audio. By choosing Select All from Edit on the File Menu or Crtl+A, when the Play Button is used all tracks will play and be mixed automatically.

Fast Forward