punching in

I have not been able to figure out how to “punch in” in the middle of an existing track. IE= to fix up a mistake in the middle of a vocal line. The best I’ve gotten so far is that Audacity creates another track with the correction, but does not delete the old part.

Is there a way to Punch In???

Tom Rasely

Not as handy as you think it should be. Open the replacement sound, highlight and Copy (different for different computers). then open up your damaged track, highlight the damaged part and Paste.

You can kill yourself completely if the two sound formats aren’t the same. In my case, both tracks were 48 KHz, 16 bit, Stereo.


What I do is cut out the bad part on the original track, record the correction on a new track, trim it down so it fits exactly in the hole and mix the tracks together and voila! No mistakes :slight_smile:

Rather than actually “cutting out” the bad bit, you can use the envelope tool to “mute” the bad bit. This is a non-destructive process (until you mix down) and also allows you to cross-fade - sometimes useful if you have trouble making the joins “seamless”.

Thanks everyone-

So what y’all are sying is that there isn’t a way to punch in on the original track. I realize that Audacity is a somewhat limited program (although I am amazed what I AM able to do), and this is apparently beyond the limits. So I’ll continue to correct in the manner that I’ve been doing, which is more like the cut and paste from a new track, as suggested above.

Thanks again.

Not really - it’s not so much a “limitation” as a “different way of working”.

The “punch in. punch out” method that you are asking about goes back to the days if tape based recorders - if you have only 4, 8 or 16 tracks available then “punching in” and overwriting a previously recorded track is often the only practical option. However with Audacity and modern computer hardware, the number of available tracks is enormous, so there is no longer the need to be frugal with track usage.

Lets do a simple “punch in / punch out” with Audacity 1.3.4 (note that if you are not familiar with the shortcuts (hot keys) all the commands are also available from the menus):

  • Record track 1
  • Let’s say we’ve messed up a section approximately 1 minute into the track.
  • We find a sweet point just before the mess to “punch in” and a sweet point just after to do the “punch out”.
  • Click on the track info box to select the track.
  • “Ctrl D” to duplicate the track, mute it, collapse it, and drag it up or down out of the way - this is our backup track (we can also use “Export Selected” to give us a proper backup).
  • Click & drag from the punch in point to the punch out point
  • “Ctrl B” to label the region - type “bad bit” as a name for the label.
  • “Ctrl Alt K” to “split delete” the offending bit
  • Click a few seconds before the punch in point
  • “R” to record - play and re-record the new bit on audio track 2 - press “stop” at the end.
  • If you mess up again, “Ctrl Z” to undo and try again.
  • When you have got it right, click on audio track 2 to select it, then click on the name of the label (bad bit) to select the labeled region.
  • “Shift Click” on the track info for the label track to deselect it
  • Go up to the right hand edge of the selected region of audio track 2 and drag the selected region to the left so as to include all of the recorded section prior to our “punch in” region and “Ctrl Alt K” to “split delete” it.
  • Repeat this method to delete the trailing region of the new track after out “punch out” point.

You now have a perfect “punch in / punch out”.

This may seem like a lot of steps, but I’ve put in all the details - once you are familiar with the short cuts it’s as simple as

  1. mark it
  2. delete it
  3. re-record it
  4. trim it.

Using labels to mark the positions, you can also use cross fades between the old and new recordings - brilliant if there are no good punch in / out points (and something that is just not possible with traditional punch in punch out), and of course we’ve also got that back-up in case we really screw things up.

I think this deserves to be promoted to an entry in the main Audacity Help reference (WIki), and at very least in the FAQ.
Whether or not it has been asked many times, I feel sure that it must be a common problem for anyone doing their own speech, vocal or instrumental entry.

Knowing how to phrase the question itself can be a challenge.

Just one point, in the second-last bullet: wouldn’t it be the left side of the track outside the labelled selection that needs to be deleted or silenced?

Go up to the right hand edge of the selected region of audio track 2 and drag the selected region to the left so as to include all of the recorded section prior to our “punch in” region and “Ctrl Alt K” to “split delete” it.

Yes, it’s a fairly common question. Why don’t you sign up to the wiki and have a go at creating a page for it? If you don’t get it quite right there are people on hand to help.

Absolutely - “Punching In” or “How to punch in” is a bit technical for anyone that is not familiar with this term. Any ideas?

Yes, though a quicker way to trim the selection is Ctrl+T, which trims the selected region (both start and end) in one go.

Any recording suite that does not punch in is useless. This is the first I’ve seen that does not. Goodbye. I’m going back to Magix studio 7.

You can punch in, but Audacity does it non-destructively by placing the punched in audio onto a different track.

Any program that is limited to destructive punch-in recording (over-writing the original take) is far less useful for me, so I’ll stick with Audacity.

See also…Simple explanation of punch-in (and resolving result to a single track) by “steve”:

I figured out a super-easy way of doing this, without having to mess around with labels.

This will move a snippet from one track to another. I’m assuming you have two tracks: One with the mistake, and one recorded next to it that contains the fix.

  • Select a region containing only the fix
  • ctrl-alt-X to split-cut
  • ‘enter’ to deselect the track with the fix (the selected region should still show up on the time-scale)
  • up/down to navigate to the track that needs fixing
  • ‘enter’ to select that track
  • ctrl-V to paste


Even easier, this will copy a snippet from one track to another:

  • Select a region containing only the fix
  • ctrl-C to copy
  • up/down to navigate to the track that needs fixing
  • ‘enter’ to (also) select that track
  • ctrl-V to paste


You can also do this with ‘shift-click’ on the tracks’ info box to select/deselect them. (Its info box is the region at the left which contains the mute/solo buttons, level sliders, etc.)

You are absolutely correct - but why bother moving / copying everything to the same track? Audacity has multi-track capability, so why not use it?