Book Image

Getting started with Audacity 1.3

By : Bethany Hiitola, Stephen Daulton
Book Image

Getting started with Audacity 1.3

By: Bethany Hiitola, Stephen Daulton

Overview of this book

Using the Audacity software as the starting off point, we discuss what the software is, what it can do, how you can use it, and where you go to get started installing it. All of this information is grounded in some basic audio editing terminology and background for those that aren't so technology inclined.Then we'll start digging into a sample project! You'll learn about how to set up a project, create a voice track, record an interview with Skype, and basic audio editing techniques. All of this done in an easy to follow, task based approach with lots of examples. Here, we plan to go a step further, we teach how to wrap all of these steps together and create a podcast that can be posted on your own website or blog.There's always more you can do with Audacity! The last portion of the book is dedicated to just that - discussing more advanced editing and mixing techniques, using affects, adding music, adding additional plug-ins to the software. All still incorporating examples and easy to follow tasks you can try on your own audio projects.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Getting started with Audacity 1.3
About the Author
About the Reviewers
Giving Your Audio Some Depth: Applying Effects
Toolbar, Menu, and Keyboard Shortcut Reference
Glossary of Terms

Will it work for me?

Audacity was developed by a group of volunteers under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and is open source, or free software. This not only means that it does not cost anything to download, but also that you can use the program, create items with it, and freely distribute these items, modify the program itself, and share your work with others.

You can download Audacity for:

  • Mac OS X

  • Microsoft Windows

  • GNU/Linux

  • Other operating systems

Let's briefly go over how to download and install Audacity.

Windows and Mac OS

The installation process for both of these operating systems is similar:

  1. Go to the official Audacity website at and download the appropriate version of the software for your computer.

  2. Once the installation package has been downloaded to your computer, double-click on it to start the installation.


    For Mac computers, a DMG file is downloaded. All you need to do is uncompress that file, and drag-and-drop the Audacity package to the Application folder. For any Windows device, an EXE file is downloaded. Double-click on that file to perform the installation.

  3. Find the Audacity icon (shown in the next image) in the Application or Programs folder, to open the program.


You can use Audacity with GNU/Linux operating systems (and other similar operating systems), but you should download the correct installation package for it. Currently, there are a number of distributions available for the following types of systems:

You can download the installation packages for these and others from the Audacity Linux or Unix web page, at


In this book, the screenshots are specific to the Mac OS X software. However, don't be concerned if this is not your computer operating system of choice. The software itself is very similar between operating systems, and any notable differences between the Audacity software screens for different operating systems, are noted, so you know what to look for.

In the interest of saving you some time, there are some things that Audacity can't do in comparison to more specialized audio editing software. Audacity:

  • Can't play or record files in the MIDI audio file format.

  • Doesn't natively play or export audio in propriety or restricted file audio formats, such as WMA or AAC. Additional plug-ins must be installed to do this.

  • Has less plug-ins and effects than a specialized Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

  • Can't apply sound effects in realtime. This means that you have to record the track and then apply sound effects to the track.

  • Isn't a specialized audio editing software package, so there are some limitations on multi-track editing and mixing features.