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Making Audio Clips With Audacity

Audacity is an entirely free and open source program for editing and recording audio.


A complete manual for audacity can be found at

Download Making Audio Clips with Audacity.

1. Downloading Audacity

Download Audacity at


This is what Audacity looks like when you open the program:

Audacity 1.png

There are six buttons in the top left-hand corner. These icons are similar to any other media player:

Audacity 2.png

Generally, we will only be concerned with the cursor, zoom, cut and paste buttons. You can learn more about the rest of the tools at

Audacity 3.png

2. Importing Audio

Before you do anything else, go to Edit > Preferences > Warnings and tick the last box Importing uncompressed audio files. Click OK to save.

To import that sound file into audacity, go to: File > Import > Audio, or drag it into the workspace.

Audacity 4.png

A popup should appear asking you if you would like to copy the audio files into Audacity or read the files directly.


This is important – if you select the ‘read the files directly from the original’, any changes you save will edit the original sound file, which you do not want. You need both the original copy (master file) as it was recorded and the edited copy.

Audacity 5.png

Wait while the program imports the audio. Once it is finished, you should have a blue sound wave file in your viewer similar to the following image:

Audacity 6.png

To listen to the sound file, press the green play button. You will see that a bar indicated by a green arrow will travel across the sound waves. Use the cursor tool to drag across parts of the audio to make selections. If you make a selection, when you push the play button, only the selected parts of the audio will play. Use the magnifying glass tool to zoom in on certain parts of the sound waves.


3. Creating audio clips.

The master file should not be edited in any way.  However, there may be times when you want to select a standalone clip from within the master.


To edit your audio, you must have ‘stopped’ the audio entirely by hitting the brown stop button. Hitting pause will not allow you to edit the file, even though the sound has stopped.


To edit sound, you will ‘clip’ out sections of the audio:


  1. Select the magnifying glass from the toolbar to zoom in on a section of the audio (if you are using a mouse, hold down ctrl and use the scroll wheel)

  2. Zoom in where you want the clip to start.

  3. Use the cursor tool and drag across to create the section of the sound that you want to clip.

  4. Go to File > Export > Export selected audio.

  5. From the dialogue box, choose a location and filename – the filename should be the same as the master file, with the addition of _clip_1 etc., and a few words describing the content (this will save people having to listen to the clip to identify the subject).  File type MP3 should be selected by default.

  6. Do not enter anything in the Edit Metadata Tags dialogue box.  Click OK.

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