WDL Guide to Audacity

Recording Audio

When Audacity is first opened, you should see the screen below. If this window isn’t opening, try closing and restarting the program. If issues persist, try reinstalling Audacity. The Audacity user interface can be intimidating, but we’ll take it piece by piece, starting with the section highlighted in red below.

Overview of the Audacity Window

Detailed view of the buttonsThese buttons are probably familiar from using other audio applications and work as you would expect. Note that the “stop” button stops both audio playback and recording.
What the screen looks like while recording.
If you click the record button and have a microphone plugged in, you’ll see the screen change and a new track appear in the window, as pictured. When you’re done recording, simply click the stop button to halt the recording process. Note that it’s good practice to leave about five seconds of silence at the beginning of your first recording so that you can later eliminate background noise. Also, if you don’t like what you’ve recorded, you can delete the whole track by clicking the track’s delete button, highlighted here with a red circle. If you like most of your recording but dislike a small piece, don’t delete the whole thing. You can cut out that small piece during the editing process.


Recording Tips

  • Record in small chunks. If you’re reading an essay you’ve written, consider recording one paragraph at a time.
  • Practice reading out loud before you record. It’s common for something that looks fine on paper to sound odd when you read it aloud. Try to catch your mistakes before you’re actually recording.
  • Save often. If your computer freezes, you can lose a lot of work if you haven’t saved.
  • Try to keep a constant distance from the microphone during your entire recording session.