Audacity FAQ – Editing

Editing
1.1 Why can’t I use the effects or other menu items?
1.2 Why can’t I select less than one second or click between whole seconds?
2.1 How do I combine two files into one longer file?
2.2 How do I mix two tracks together?
2.3 Can I remove the vocals from a recording to make a Karaoke track?
2.4 Can I create Ringtones with Audacity?
2.5 Why do I see a lot of vertical red lines in the track I just recorded?
2.6 Can Audacity preview or apply effects live, in real time?

Why can’t I use the effects or other menu items?

Many menu items and other functions are disabled while playing, recording, or paused. To enable them, press the yellow Stop button The Stop button.

All effects, most Edit Menu items and Cut, Copy, Trim and Silence in Edit Toolbar require you to select the audio you want to change.

  • To select a specific region of audio, click and drag with the Selection tool enabled so as to highlight the selected track.
  • To select all the audio in the project, choose Edit > Select > All.
If you choose an effect or other menu item requiring a selection without making a selection, Audacity will by default select all the audio in the project.If preferred you can disable this behaviour in the Tracks Preferences by unchecking Select all audio in project, if none selected. Menu items requiring a selection will then be grayed out if there is no selection.

 

Why can’t I select less than one second or click between whole seconds ?

Uncheck Snap To in Selection Toolbar. If Snap To is checked, the selection must be an exact unit of length or the cursor must be placed at an exact unit of time, according to the current Selection Format.

If Snap To is enabled and set to seconds and you are zoomed in with less than one second of track visible, you won’t be able to click or select in the track until you zoom out or turn Snap To off.

 

I’d Like To…

How do I combine two files into one longer file?

Follow these steps to splice two files together:

  1. Import both files into Audacity
  2. Select the second one by clicking above the Mute/Solo buttons on its Track Control Panel
  3. Choose Edit > Find Zero Crossings
  4. Choose Edit > Remove Audio > Cut
  5. Place the cursor at the end of the first track by clicking in it then pressing K
  6. Choose Edit > Paste.

You can press the green “Play” button to hear the result, and use the File > Export… command to save it as an audio file.

 

How do I mix two tracks together?

To mix two files, import both of them into Audacity. They will appear in separate tracks.

When you press the Play button, you’ll hear both tracks play together. Because this adds the sounds together, the end result may become too loud and distorted. To fix this, turn down the -…+ gain sliders on each track until you see no clipping light on the Meter Toolbar. Use the L…R pan sliders to adjust the spatial position of each track in the mix. You can also use View > Mixer Board to display the controls for each track together in a separate window.

When you use File > Export…, the tracks will be automatically mixed to an audio file for use in other applications. If you want to mix tracks together explicitly before export, so that they are replaced with a single mixed track, select the tracks, then Tracks > Mix and Render.

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Can I remove the vocals from a recording to make a Karaoke track?

This is only possible for certain stereo tracks. When the vocals are exactly the same on both stereo channels, you can remove them by “subtracting” one channel from the other. This works for recordings where the vocal track is mixed exactly in the center and stereo reverberation has not been added. See this tutorial: Vocal Removal and Isolation.

 

Why do I see a lot of vertical red lines in the track I just recorded?

This happens when you have an oversaturated recording, where clipping has occurred, that is, the signal has exceeded the maximum allowed level. The vertical red lines show where clipping has happened. The clipping indicators can be turned on and off (Audacity’s default setting is “off”) by selecting View > Show Clipping.

See the Audacity Waveform page for more explanation of how the waveform is displayed.

 

Can Audacity preview or apply effects live, in real time?

Audacity cannot yet apply effects in real time while you are previewing or recording. This is one of the most commonly asked for Feature Requests, but it requires substantial changes to Audacity to implement it. If you would like us to add your vote please either e-mail our feedback address or post on the Adding Features to Audacity section on the Audacity Forum.

Advanced users can apply effects to recordings in real time by applying the effects in a VST host and routing the effect output to be recorded by Audacity.