Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Foire Aux Questions (FAQ) Oft gestellte Fragen (FAQ) Veelgestelde vragen (FAQ) Domande frequenti (FAQ) FAQ: Perguntas Mais Frequentes Preguntas frecuentes (FAQ)

Tip: To find your answer more easily, try using CTRL + F ( COMMAND + F on Mac ) to search this page.


About Audacity

  1. Is Audacity really free? Why?
  2. Does Audacity contain any spyware, malware or adware?
  3. May I distribute copies of Audacity?
  4. Someone is selling Audacity on eBay. Is this legal?
  5. A search result misled me into paying for an Audacity download. What can I do?
  6. Audacity isn't displaying in the expected or desired language. Can I change this?
  7. Will there be a version of Audacity for iPod, iPad or other smartphones or tablet computers?
  8. Does Audacity work with screen-reader programs for blind users?
  9. What features does Audacity have for speech transcription or speech recognition?
  10. Does Audacity run on 64-bit systems?
  11. Does Audacity support low latency ASIO drivers?
  12. How do I find which Audacity version I have, and if this is the latest version?
  13. Why doesn't Audacity ship with an MP3 encoder?
  14. How can I help to improve Audacity?


Installation, Startup and Plug-ins

  1. What should I do if I have problems downloading or installing Audacity?
  2. What should I do if I get errors building Audacity?
  3. Windows: How do I install Audacity, and do I have to uninstall a previous version first?
  4. Windows: How can I fix "Application configuration incorrect" when first launching Audacity after installation?
  5. Windows: How do I uninstall Audacity?
  6. Mac OS X: Why do I see "unidentified developer", "Mac App Store" or "damaged" messages when I launch Audacity?
  7. How can I solve Audacity not appearing or crashing every time I launch it?
  8. How do I reset my Audacity settings?
  9. How do I download and install the LAME MP3 encoder?
  10. How do I download and install the FFmpeg Import/Export Library?
  11. Why do I receive an error when I export to an FFmpeg format?
  12. How do I install VST plug-ins?
  13. Why do some VST plug-ins not work or display incorrectly?
  14. What are LADSPA, LV2 or VAMP plug-ins and how do I install them?
  15. Linux: How do I install plug-ins?


Recording - Troubleshooting

  1. Why can I not record in Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8?
  2. Why can’t I hear what I’m recording?
  3. Why is there a delay or echo when listening to what I am recording?
  4. Why do my recordings fade out or sound as if they were made in a tunnel?
  5. Why is my new track out of sync with the previous ones, or sounds crackly or at wrong pitch?
  6. Why can't I record my electronic keyboard or electronic instrument using the USB cable?
  7. Why doesn't recording from YouTube (or other streaming audio) work?
  8. Why do I get crackles, pops, or distortion when the recording is loud?
  9. Why do I see a lot of vertical red lines in the track I just recorded?
  10. Why is the Audacity recording slider grayed out on maximum?
  11. How can I record without small skips or duplications?
  12. Why does my recording keep pausing automatically or why is my recording cursor stuck?
  13. Why do I get only a flat line and no sound when I try to record?
  14. Why do I get a periodic noise every 6 - 12 seconds?
  15. How can I prevent a half-volume mono recording?
  16. How can I prevent unbalanced or poorly separated stereo recording?
  17. How can I correct an unbalanced stereo recording?
  18. Why is the recorded waveform not centered on the horizontal line at 0.0?


Recording - How To's

  1. How can I record in stereo?
  2. What is an optimal recording level to aim for?
  3. How do I record from vinyl records, cassette tapes or MiniDiscs?
  4. Can I play a track while recording a new one on top of it?
  5. Can Audacity record YouTube, internet radio or other streaming audio?
  6. What is the maximum recording length?
  7. Can I set Audacity to record at a certain time?
  8. Can I record from a multi-channel device (more than stereo)?
  9. Can I record from two microphones (or even two sound cards) at the same time?


Playback

  1. Why have I lost sound after connecting a USB device on Windows?
  2. Why does playback go quiet when I record or adjust the recording volume?
  3. Why is there a very low level hiss on exported files?
  4. How can I pause playback so I can edit there?


Opening and Saving Files

  1. How do I save my audio for use in other programs? Does saving a project (AUP file) do that?
  2. Why does Audacity create a folder full of .au files when I save a project?
  3. Audacity crashed! Can I recover any unsaved data?
  4. Can Audacity import or export formats like WMA, AC3 or iTunes files (M4A/MP4)?
  5. Why do exported files not include Album Artist or BPM metadata, Album Art or Lyrics?
  6. Why can’t I play MIDI files?
  7. How do I import tracks from an audio CD?
  8. How do I save my recording on an audio CD?
  9. How can I split a long recording into multiple files or CD tracks?
  10. Why does Audacity warn about the name or nothing happens when I export?
  11. Why does my file import with a hatched pattern then slowly change to a waveform?
  12. I copied the .aup file to another computer or sent it by e-mail to a friend; but now when I open it there's no sound, why?
  13. How can I backup my Audacity Projects?


Editing

  1. Why can't I use the effects or other menu items?
  2. Why can't I select less than one second or click between whole seconds?
  3. Why do I hear clicks when I remove or paste audio, or at the start or end of the track?
  4. How do I select audio in one track?
  5. How do I extend or move the selected region into other tracks?
  6. How do I combine two files into one longer file?
  7. How do I mix two tracks together?
  8. Can I remove the vocals from a recording to make a Karaoke track?
  9. Can I create Ringtones with Audacity?
  10. Why do I see a lot of vertical red lines in the track I just recorded?
  11. Can Audacity preview or apply effects live, in real time?
  12. How do I convert a stereo track to mono, or mono to stereo?


Errors

  1. Why do I get "Error while opening sound device"?
  2. Why do I get "Error: not well formed (invalid token) at line x"?
  3. Why does the computer reboot or show a blue screen message when I play or record in Audacity?
  4. Mac OS X: Why do I see "Critical Nyquist files cannot be found"?
  5. I found a bug! Or Feature X is not good enough or missing! Now what?


Ideas for new FAQs

ToDo develop responses for these proposed FAQs and migrate them to the published part of the page.

Peter 14Aug14: ToDo-2 I'm minded to think that a new FAQ on "Actual Rate" would be useful, as it is not really documented anywhere (apart from this new page) afaict. I'll look into kicking that off in the next few days.

  • @Gale: which FAQ section would you put an "Actual Rate" FAQ?
  • Gale 14Aug14: Good question. A new section about Toolbars? Or about "Audacity Interface" (which could be relevant in future). Other questions could be:
    • "How do I rearrange the Toolbars?"
    • "Can I hide some of the Toolbars?"
    • "Why do I see a white stripe in the waveform or bars at its left and right edges?"
    • "Can I make tracks less tall or fit multiple tracks into the vertical space"?


  • Steve 18Aug14: "MP3 sound quality is poor". Outline solution: Click on the "Options" button in the Export dialog and select a higher quality setting. Link to article about lossy compression.
    • Gale 18Aug14: Or make the track mono.
  • Steve 19Nov13: Trebor posted a useful link in a forum post to a Wikipedia article about Generation Loss. We frequently get asked about loss of sound quality when editing MP3 files and MP3s increasing in size after editing in Audacity. "Generation loss" is an important part of the answer. Should we have a FAQ about it?
  • Steve 19Nov13: Should we have a FAQ section about "Sound Quality"?
    • Or "Why did my exported MP3 get larger after I applied an effect to it?"
  • Peter 18Aug14: From the forum - and this crops up with monotonous regularity "Basically, I want to take one track. A sample track if you will, and then have all my other audio tracks match up as closely as possible with this original track. Match up in terms of volume mostly, just tweaking a bit." - but maybe this would be a tutorial ??
  • Why does Audacity hang when I launch it?
  • Why do my longer projects always crash but not the short ones?
  • New Troubleshooting Recording FAQ for Mac - why does my external interface record silence or give "error opening" in Audacity?
  • New FAQs in the "Errors" section:
    • Project "not recognised" (using File > Import or AUP only has NULL's)
    • Can't find _data folder
    • Waveform is silenced.
  • Peter 11May14: Background hum or hiss - this comes up a lot on the forum. See these two pages in the Wiki: Improving Recording Quality and Reducing Noise
  • Steve 26Jul11: Perhaps there could be a section for using Audacity with other applications, such as Skype, YouTube, DAWs and Games
    • How do I record Skype or other VoIP programs with Audacity?
It's hard to capture both sides of a Skype call with Audacity - Koz always recommends Pamela
  • How do I avoid the echo when using my USB microphone? (software playthrough)
  • How can I record in the same track?
    • This could cover Append-Record and ways to "punch-in" too
Gale 29Jan13: I have pasted in a brain-dump of information that has been used to answer questions about this:

Gale's text: There are various ways to record a correction and insert it into the middle of existing audio, depending on the material and how accurate and unblemished you want the result to be. One simple (and rough) method to punch in a recording would be to temporarily remove the part before which you want to insert, Append Record at that point, then paste back the removed audio at the end of the appended recording. Select the area to be corrected, with a little silent space either side. Use SHIFT + RIGHT to expand the selection rightwards or SHIFT + LEFT to expand leftwards. CTRL + SHIFT + LEFT contracts the selection from the right and CTRL + SHIFT + RIGHT contracts from the left.

Make sure Transport > Overdub is "on" (checked).

Record (which records just the length of the selection into a new track underneath).

Press the "Silence button" in Edit Toolbar to silence the original mistaken audio or use CTRL + L. Then if necessary, press F5 on your keyboard then drag the recorded correction to the required exact position. If you do repetitive corrections it is recommended to perform a Latency Test to determine your system's recording latency, then set "Latency Correction" in Recording Preferences to the observed latency. This helps to ensure your correction slots into the original audio correctly.

If it is not practicable to select silence either side of the mistaken audio then you may hear clicks at the edges of the corrected result. In that case you need to crossfade both joins thus: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/User:Stevethefiddle/Fade_and_Crossfade#Creating_a_Crossfade .

You can use CTRL + ALT + K to "Split Delete" the mistaken audio instead of silencing it. Here is a slightly more complex set of steps that labels and split deletes the mistaken audio http://forum.audacityteam.org/viewtopic.php?p=168245#p168245

Text of that Forum post (Steve's answer)

The "punch in. punch out" concept goes back to the days of 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 (or tape) usage.

This is copied and pasted from a previous post so the shortcuts will not be quite right for a Mac.
When it says to press the "Ctr" key, it is usually the Command key on a Mac.

Doing a simple "punch in / punch out" with Audacity 1.3 (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.
    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, then 
    "ENTER" to close the label and "ENTER" again to deselect the label track.
    "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,
    Click on the name of the label ("bad bit") to select the labelled region of the
     new recording.
    "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.

When 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),.
In the case where you are recording and make a mistake, you can press Stop, click in the waveform at a silent point before the mistake, then hold SHIFT on your keyboard followed by K to select from the click point to the end of the track. Delete the mistaken selection. Now press SHIFT + R (or SHIFT + Click on the Record button) to record at the end of the track and so re-record your mistake.
  • First track is being recorded onto the next track (Windows sound card set to record Stereo Mix).
  • How can I import WAV files from portable players?
  • How can I make my recording so it plays back in both speakers?
  • Can I use parts of Audacity source code in my school project?
  • Can I include screenshots of Audacity in my book, or link to Audacity on my web site?
  • Why does my MP3 file not loop smoothly in Audacity? (suggested by Steve)
    • Gale 12Jun12: Parking suitable text for responding to requests about an academic citation. There are other types of requests here - citing Audacity in films/videos, producing an article about Audacity for a magazine which has a cover mount CD of Audacity, hardware bundlers providing Audacity documentation...
Please make a citation to Audacity starting with the name and 
version number of Audacity and giving our Trademark (R). 

Please quote the full three-section version number of Audacity 
as found at Help > About Audacity (or Audacity > About Audacity 
on a Mac computer).   

Examples could look like:

(A) "For this work I used version 1.3.14 of Audacity(R) recording 
and editing software[1]."

(B) "Audacity Team (2012). Audacity(R): Free Audio Editor and 
Recorder [Computer program]. Version 1.3.14 retrieved
December 20th 2011 from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ [1]." .

[1] must link to the following verbatim citation: 

 "Audacity(R) software is copyright (c) 1999-2012 Audacity Team.
 [Web site: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/. It is free software
 distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.]
 The name Audacity(R) is a registered trademark of Dominic Mazzoni."

The section inside [ ] is optional. Note the first and last sentences must 
be presented exactly as above, without any additional text interspersed 
into them. 

The citation could be in a footnote, or linked to on a Credits page or 
similar. Alternatively you could append the citation verbatim underneath
the arbitrary text for version number. 

Also we would ask you to present the word "Audacity" on its first 
appearance in your actual research text as "Audacity(R)".
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