Audacity is for Anyone!

Audacity is a user friendly free open-source audio recording and editing software program.  The program is simple to download and can be used across multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, & Linux) and it is easy to learn at any skill level.  Multiple tracks can be edited and according to award winning podcaster Daniel J. Lewis of the program does everything most podcasters need.

After being introduced to Audacity it immediately became apparent that it would be a useful tool as an Instructional Designer.  The very week our class started going over this valuable resource the new computer for the sound system at my church was delivered.  The volunteer that built the computer (yes, he actually ordered the parts and put it together!) had installed Audacity, but had not taken the time to figure out how to get the files to save as an .mp3.  I have no experience in sound editing or any musical aptitude, but I recognized immediately that the LAME encoder program needed to be installed.  I was able to successfully install LAME and teach the volunteer sound technicians to record, export, and play recordings.  In addition, the church recently set up a website using Yola and we have started uploading the weekly sermons and Bible studies as podcasts for listeners that are homebound or unable to attend.

Church Website
Harmony Baptist Church in Semmes, AL

Since my exposure to Audacity I have decided that I really enjoy this resource and I wanted to learn more about it since our initial challenge only scratched the surface of its capabilities.  One feature I found especially useful was that you can quickly jump to a specific time in your project by using the Selection Toolbar.  I have a screenshot below with the Selection Toolbar circled in red.  If you cannot view the toolbar then you will need to go to the View menu, Toolbars, and make sure the Selection Toolbar is checked.

Selection Toolbar

Once you ensure that you can view the Selection Toolbar you enter the time in the track where you need to jump to (for example, to jump to 11 minutes 23 seconds you would type in 11 in the zeros before m and 23 in the zeros before s) then double press the spacebar and it will jump automatically to that specified time on your track.  This shortcut will save time in editing and making changes to a long recording.

I have listed below some of the  keyboard shortcuts I have learned and a tutorial video that I believe will serve as an excellent resource.

Shortcuts on Mac

(shortcuts in Window or Linux use Ctrl instead of Cmd)

  • New file: Cmd N
  • Open file: Cmd O
  • Close file: Cmd W
  • Zoom in on track: Cmd 1
  • Zoom out on track: Cmd 3
  • Zoom back to normal: Cmd 2
  • Move cursor to the beginning of track: J
  • Move cursor to the end of track: K
  • Export Audio: Shift Cmd E
  • Import Audio: Shift Cmd I
  • Fit all the tracks in the screen (vertically): Shift Cmd F
  • Fit entire recording in the screen horizontally: Cmd F
  • Fit entire recording in the screen horizontally: Cmd F
  • Fit all the tracks in the screen (vertically): Shift Cmd F
  • Exit: Cmd Q

8 time-saving tips and tricks for Audacity


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