The Audacity Interface


Playback Control Toolbar


The Playback Control Toolbar functions much like the buttons on a DVD or CD player, or perhaps more accurately the buttons on tape deck. It enables you to preview parts of your project and add (record) new ones.

Button Action
Image:audacity_rewind.jpg moves the cursor to the start of the project.
Image:audacity_play.jpg plays your project from the position of the cursor. Use to listen to the audio in your project.
Image:audacity_record.jpg pressing the record button will record a new track from your computer’s sound input device.
Image:audacity_pause.jpg pause playback or recording. Press again to unpause.
Image:audacity_stop.jpg stops playback or recording.
Image:audacity_fastforward.jpg moves the cursor to the end of the project.

Tools Toolbar


These tools work directly on tracks in the Track Window.

Button Action
Image:audacity-selection-tool.png The Selection Tool use to select sections of an audio track to work on.
Image:audacity-envelope-tool.png The Envelope Tool this tool allows you to control how tracks fade in and out.
Image:audacity-draw-tool.png The Draw Tool allows you to draw on the waveforms of individual tracks.
Image:audacity-zoom-tool.png The Zoom Tool zooms in or out of a specific part of the audio.
Image:audacity-timeshift-tool.png The Timeshift Tool allows you to change the positioning of tracks relative to one another in time.

Edit Toolbar


Button Action
Image:audacity_cut_button.jpg Cut removes selected audio data and places it on the clipboard.
Image:audacity_copy_button.jpg Copy copies the selected audio data to the clipboard without removing it from the track.
Image:audacity_paste_button.jpg Paste pastes whatever is in the clipboard into the track at the position of the selection cursor.
Image:audacity_trim_button.jpg Trim deletes all of the track except the current selection.
Image:audacity_silence_button.jpg Silence replaces the current selection with silence instead of removing it completely.
Image:audacity_undo_button.jpg Undo undo the last editing operation performed.
Image:audacity_redo_button.jpg Redo redo any editing operations that were just undone.
Image:audacity_zoomin_button.jpg Zoom In zooms in on displayed tracks displaying less time and giving a more detailed view of the track.
Image:audacity_zoomout_button.jpg Zoom Out zooms out displaying more time and a less detailed view of tracks.
Image:audacity_fitselection_button.jpg Fit Selection fits selected audio into the width of the screen to show the selection in more detail.
Image:audacity_fitproject_button.jpg Fit Project shows entire project in one screen.

Meter Toolbar


Shows the input and output levels. You will use the input levels to test whether you are getting enough input through your mic or recording device.

Mixer Toolbar


These sliders control the mixer settings of the soundcard in your system. The selector on the right (labeled Vol in this image) controls what audio input you wish to use.

The slider near the small speaker icon will control the output of your soundcard affecting the overall volume of your project.

The slider near the small microphone icon controls the input of your soundcard; adjust this to increase the level of input on your microphone.

Track Window


New or existing tracks (or audio clips) in your project are lined up in the sequence that they are recorded or imported in this window. This example shows a stereo audio track; you can tell it is in stereo because of the two wave forms (one for left and one for right) that a present. Along the top of the Track window is a timeline in seconds, or even fractions of a second.

Selection Toolbar




Zooming in shows you more detail about the waveform. This can be useful for editing out imperfections.

Zooming out shows less detail but is useful to get a wider overview of your project.

It is often helpful to be able to zoom in to see the individual parts of the audio clip waveform in order to edit out sections or remove undesirable noises or pauses. To do this use the Zoom tool on the Tools toolbar to get more detail. If you select the Zoom tool from the Tools toolbar the cursor will change into a small magnifying class with a + sign inside of it – Image:audacity_zoomin_tool.png – this can be used to zoom in on a section of an audio clip by clicking on the left mouse button while in the Track window. Holding down the shift key will change the + inside the magnifying glass into a – Image:audacity_zoomout_tool.png – and clicking on the left mouse button will then zoom the clip out, showing more time but less detail.

Tip: Using the Zoom tool, try clicking and dragging into a section of an audio clip to zoom into just that selection.



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