Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Please note: Off-campus access to many library resources is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Hope Library Guides

Podcasting: Audacity

This guide provides information about getting started with podcasting in programs like Audacity and GarageBand.

Getting Started with Audacity

1) Determine where you will be using Audacity. It is loaded onto most computers across Hope College's campus, but if you are planning on using a personal computer, you must download it from the app's official website. Check out the Downloading Audacity documentation below on this page for more help.

2) Launch the app. If you are planning to record content directly within the app instead of importing pre-recorded tracks, make sure that your microphone is properly working before you begin recording. At the top of the screen you will see a series of buttons to pause, play, stop, etc. Below this you will see a drop-down menu that says "Core Audio." Make sure that whatever device you are using to record is selected in the menu directly to the right of "Core Audio." 

Hope College's Library Tech Desk regularly rents out audio recording devices that you can use in Audacity. A list of available devices can be found here. Some of these devices can be used in Audacity, while others are stand-alone devices from which you can import your content onto your computer.

3) To import content, you can go to File > Import > Audio, and then search in your system's file explorer, or you can drag and drop a file into Audacity from an open window. 

4) Recording and Editing

a. Pause - Record: At the top left corner of the screen, there are six different buttons that are important in the recording process. From left to right, Pause allows you to pause a recording, play allows you to resume, stop allows you to stop a recording before editing can begin (this will turn into fast-forward once your track has been recorded), the back arrow and forward arrow allow you to go back to the beginning of a track or go forwards to the end, and the red circle is your record button.

b. Editing tools: These six tools are directly to the right of the recording buttons, and are the main tools for trimming and editing your tracks once they are recorded. The Selection tool allows you to highlight a portion of a track before deleting, adding effects, etc. The Envelope tool allows you to adjust the volume of your track at different points. The Draw tool allows you to edit sound on an extremely precise level to remove specific sound bytes.The Zoom tool allows you to zoom in on the timeline The Time Shift tool allows you to move a track anywhere across the project's timeline. The Multi tool allows you to use any of the other tools based on which one Audacity thinks is best in the context.

c. Splitting Clips: To break up a track into multiple clips, you can click on the area you want to break using the selection tool, then go to Edit > Clip Boundaries > Split (Control + I on PC or Command + I on Mac).

5) To save your project, go to File > Save Project As, then name your project and select where to save it on your system. If using a Hope computer, be sure to have a flash drive or an external hard drive handy.

6) To export your project when finished, go to File > Export > Export as [File Type of Your Choice], then select where to save it on your system.

That's it!

How to Use Audacity

Downloading Audacity

1) Navigate in any browser to audacityteam.org/download/

2) Select the version that corresponds to your computer's operating system: Windows, Mac, or GNU/Linux.

3) On that version's webpage, click on the blue link that resembles the image below (this example is for Mac):

4) The download will begin and once it is finished you can follow your operating system's directions for finishing the installation. 

Now, you're all set!

Tips and Tricks

Here are a couple of tips and tricks for creating a great podcast!

  • To listen to one or a few of your tracks, but not all of them, click the "Mute" button under the name of the tracks you don't want to listen to. 
  • Consider your audience when exporting your project! .WAV files can be much larger than .MP3 files and may not always be the best choice. However, always continue using .WAV during the editing process!
  • Use the Draw Tool to get rid of small pops of sound that you don't want to show up on the final recording.
  • Include music in separate tracks to be able to use fade-in and fade-out and give your podcast some personality. Consider adding in sound effects in their own tracks to give your podcast that extra pop!