• Use of Audacity to record students on PCs

    Audacity is an open source software program that is used to edit, record or listen to digital audio files.

    Found by Start Menu – All Programs - pull up to Audacity

    Audacity dashboard controls


    Audacity’s menu bar contains some familiar tasks and some that you may not

    have heard of before. Here are the most common tasks listed under each menu:

    • File menu: change properties of the project

    Open a file, close a file, create a new file, save a file or project and export a file in a different format.

    • Edit menu: modify the recorded media

    Cut, copy or paste parts of a file, delete part of a file or change the program preferences.

    • View menu: control what part of the file you can see on the screen

    Zoom in or out for a selection, change the location of the toolbars, undo multiple steps at once or change the display information for the length of the track.

    • Project menu: modify the file’s tracks and associated properties

    Add or remove tracks, add time lines or change names of tracks, align tracks or import multimedia sound files into the program.

    • Generate menu: add background noise

    Add a moment of silence, white noise or a tone.

    • Effect menu: adds an effect to the selected part of the project

     Have a voice echo, change the pitch and tone, fade in or out, change the speed, amplify the sound or remove background noise.

    • Analyze menu: view statistics about the project or find components

    Locate the beat (if musical) or silence, or plot decibel readings.

    • Help menu: general assistance with the program

     Determine version number and program info, browse help contents.


    Recording a simple file

    Audacity makes recording simple. Plug in your headset to the computer so we can practice creating a voice recording. If using this program with students, it is recommended that students have a headset and microphone so that they won’t receive audio interference from others in the class. For most students, I recommend that you provide a scipt or have them read a passage. It is hard for many students to just begin speaking while they are being recorded.




    Play it back

    How did you sound? And what were those strange blue marks that appeared in

    the program? Let’s look at figure to help us understand what is happening:


    The default view (with the blue bars) is known as the Waveform view. While you

    speak you can see the sound waves as they are processed by the computer and

    converted to a digital audio file.


    Saving and exporting projects

    Now that you know how to create unique audio files, it is important to save the file in a format that you can open at a later point. Audacity files are saved as by default, with the file extension .aup. This means that Audacity is the only program that can open this file at a later time. If you plan on finishing a file on the same computer, use the Save or Save as…options located in the File menu.


    However, if you have a finished project and want to play it on another computer or mp3 player, you will need to export the file to a different format. Audacity lets you export your file into different formats- waveform audio (.wav) or a MPEG audio layer 3 (.mp3) It is recommended that you export your project as a .wav file or .mp3 file. These two common formats are compatible with Windows Media Player or QuickTime. Depending on the length  of your recording, you may need o convert it to an .mp3 file. A 60 second .mp3 file will be about 1 megabyte in size, while a .wav file the same length will be about 5 megabytes in size. Another benefit to .mp3 files is that you can encode them- which means you can add the artist’s name, genre and other data about the file.


    To create an mp3:  File menu – export and scroll down in type box to mp3


    Here are some additional resources you can use to become more proficient with


    • Audacity’s help page:

    This page contains various tutorials and answers to questions you may have about Audacity. These include those developed by the company and some created by individuals who use the program.

    • Audacity’s Help section:In the program, click Help / Contents... for a searchable help guide with illustrations.

                                                                            Need help, let me know. Maureen Kempski