Mindy McAdams gives a very helpful and easy to understand tutorial on Audacity which is a free program that can be downloaded from the internet and has to have the LAME encoder for it to work correctly. The audio that is edited has to be on the hard drive and not on an external source such as a USB or external hard drive.
The interface is very basic. There is a play, pause, stop, record button to help edit the audio. The 2 buttons that I think that will be the most helpful are the skip forward |<< and the skip to the end >>| buttons especially when working on a long audio program such as a podcast.
The way deleting audio is explained in a way that any college student would understand and the metaphor McAdams uses is Microsoft Word. To delete audio all that needs to be done is highlight the part that should be deleted and simply press the delete button on the keyboard.
Just like in Microsoft Word if the wrong thing gets deleted that can be undone by simply clicking the undo button, and on the other hand what has been undone can be redone by clicking the redo button. I personally tried this and it sure came in handy because unlike Word you can’t see the physical words. I caught myself listening to the same phrase 3 or 4 times until i got it right.
When editing a file that is 1 continuous blue blob with no pauses to separate a specific word or phrase just use the magnifying tool. They look like to magnifying glasses one with a plus sign to zoom in and one with a minus sign to zoom out. The example that McAdams uses is deleting the word “uh” to make it sound natural.
Moving audio is also very simple all that needs to be done is highlight the word or phrase that needs to be moved and cut it than move the cursor where it should be placed than paste it. Just like in Microsoft Word.
One thing I found very helpful is if the pause button || is on that a lot of the editing tools are not usable, so if there is that issue be sure to see if it is clicked or no. Because it can save a lot of frustration.
Exporting audio is quite simple. Make sure that the project is saved and know where it’s saved at and click the export button under the file menu. Also when saving the exported file be sure to save the file as an mp3 for the best quality.
Overall i found this tutorial very helpful because McAdams gives a nice basic but informative on the use of Audacity. I have found out in the past that the best way to get to know a program on a computer is just spend some time with it and play around until you are comfortable with it. Lastly, have fun!