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Audacity Tech Guide
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Last Updated May 11, 2023

What is Audacity?

Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing. For more information about the product, visit

How do we use Audacity at our school?

Students use Audacity to record themselves while reading and then listen back to hear how they have read. This is a method of practicing to increase reading fluency. Because the recording is saved, students can create goals, teachers can provide specific feedback and it is easier to hear progress over time.

How do I use Audacity?

  1. Download the Audacity program -
  2. If frequently used, make a shortcut to the Desktop.
  3. Determine where audio files will be saved. I suggest creating a folder called Audio Files either on the desktop or in Documents. Here’s why. Once the student saves the first file, it will create the default path to that folder and will keep these files organized.
  4. There are 3 main buttons. (Audacity has a lot of features - only these ones are needed.)

aud buttons.PNG

  1. Record (red) Press once to start recording.
  2. Stop (orange) Press to stop recording or to stop playing. export audio.PNG
  3. Play (green) Press to play recording.
  4. *The colors also help with teaching a pattern for use ie Red, Orange to record; Green, Orange to listen.)
  1. At this time, the audio is just a recording. It is in project form. (People who mix music need this feature to edit their music.) To keep track of the files and be able to share them with teachers, the project needs to be converted and saved to an audio file.
  1. Goto File, Export Audio
  2. Choose the preferred folder location (Audio Files)
  3. Name the file. (We have our students use the month, date and the initials in their name so that it is easy to remember how to name them and easy to find for the teacher.)
  4. We keep the default file extension, but this may be different for other laptops and needs.
  5. Click OK through the remaining prompts.
  1. When closing Audacity, the student will be prompted to Save project before closing. This is not needed. It will only take up space on the computer and cause confusion over which file to open. Select No.

save changes no.PNG

  1. To play the audio file, double click on the file. This is where the laptop needs to be set up with a media player to listen to the recording.
  1. There are many media players - here are a few.
  1. Windows has Windows Media Player
  2. Mac has Quicktime -
  3. VLC works on both platforms -
  1. The audio file should now play.

How does this help students?

How much does it cost (after transition)?

Audacity is a free download.

Does it work on other devices?

It works on PCs and Macs, but not mobile devices or chromebooks.

What do I need to know when a student transitions?

What else is good to know?

Where can I find more information?

6 Essential Skills for Reading Comprehension

*Please note that technology and pricing is always changing. This document reflects the most recent known information as indicated by the Last Updated Date at the top of the page.