Editing question = compressing silence

I’m working on an e-textbook with lots of embedded audio files and trying to get my overall file size down. Many of the audio clips have silences between utterances so that students can repeat what they hear. These silences are necessary but are lengthening the clips and increasing the file size.

I see there is a feature called Compress Excess Silence. Will this compress just the silent parts of the clip but leave the parts with sound the same quality?

Any advice about how to get the file size down without reducing the quality too much is appreciated!

Use a compressed audio format such as MP3 or OGG.
Also, ensure that the audio is mono rather than stereo.

That feature will reduce the duration of the “silence”.

Reducing the sample-rate will reduce the file size. IMO 22050Hz is good enough for clear speech.