Some Basic Editing Advice

Please forgive my technical ineptitude but I have never used Audacity before and would appreciate some advice on editing a sound file. I record quite alot of radio programmes of differing lengths. I have sorted out how to move the cursor to highlight the whole file, but how do I move it back to the actual end of the programme and cut the remainder?

I have a basic editing thing in shards and fragments. Like I write it more or less fresh every time somebody asks this. Wouldn’t it be a terrific idea if I wrote one good version and pasted it each time with custom notes?


You can edit any track you want, but sometimes it’s a little magic to select the portion to edit.

First I would turn off Auto Update Screen. Update can be handy when you’re recording—to have the screen and blue waves keep up with the live performance—but during editing that can make you nuts.

Audacity > Preferences > Tracks > [_] Update Display… (de-select).

Zooming is essential. The idea is to start with the whole show and zoom into the portion you want to work on.

– Drag-select something on the timeline and zoom into it. Control-E
– Zoom out a little bit. Control-3
– Zoom out full. Control-F

– Shift-ScrollWheel or Shift-TouchPadScrub will shift the timeline view left and right (sooner and later).

You should also know that clicking in the time bar along the top edge will start playing at that point.

Spacebar flips between Stop and Play.


Those are basic editing tools. As noted, there are pages and pages of editing commands used by people who edit nine hours a day and are accoustomed to the work and in general, you can’t see their fingers move. I’m not one of those people. I cut one show a week and sometimes not even then.

Open the show. Turn screen update off.

Control-F to make sure you’re seeing the whole show. Drag-select the end of the show. Zoom into it Control-E. Spacebar play it to figure out where you are. Zoom in more if you need to. When you get the portion you want to delete on the screen, drag-select it (spacebar play it to make sure) and DEL delete key.

Zoom back out to the whole show Control-F. Export.


To select from a specific point to the end of the recording:

  1. Click on the track (on the blue waveform) at the point where you want to start the selection)
  2. Shift + End key

Selecting audio is such an important part of using Audacity that there are many ways to do it. See here for a full description:

at the point where you want to start the selection)

If you can find it. That’s where zooming comes in handy.


Thanks for the replies, and my apologies for such a late acknowledgment. Various events have happened , but such is life. Hopefully I can now put the advice into practice.