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This page provides a detailed description of various ways of controlling recording in Audacity, including how to control where and which track you record in and keyboard shortcut commands.


  1. Setting up
  2. Recording a new track
  3. Recording a region in a new track
  4. Continuing recording in a new track
  5. Continuing recording in an existing track - Append Recording

Setting up

  1. Connect your input source to your computer and verify that you are getting sound into your computer using your computer's sound input control panel or the custom mixer application that came with your particular soundcard.
  2. Tell Audacity which source you have selected to record from.
  3. Set the recording level using the input slider on the Mixer Toolbar while watching the indications in the Recording Meter. Try to aim for a maximum peak of around –6.0 dB (or 0.5 if you have your meters set to linear rather than dB). Tip: enlarging the Meter Toolbars by clicking and dragging them helps with this task.

To listen to what you are recording you have two options.

  1. If you computer's sound control panel supports sending the audio input to the computer's audio output then make this setting there.
  2. If that is not possible, click on Transport > Software Playthrough (on/off) so that it is checked.

Alternatively, if you are using an external soundcard or mixer you may be able to monitor the signal directly from that device.

For further information on setting up see: Audacity Setup and Configuration.

Detailed step-by-step instructions for setting up for recording are provided in the Your First Recording and the Copying tapes, LPs or MiniDiscs tutorials.

Warning icon As soon as you have made a recording it is strongly recommended to File > Export... it immediately to WAV or AIFF (ideally to an external drive) as a safety copy before you start editing the project.

Recording a new track

Every time you click the Record button The Record button on Transport Toolbar, Audacity will create a new track and begin recording on that track from the current cursor position (or from the left edge of a region on the Timeline). There is no need to create a new track before starting to record. If you want recording to start from the beginning of the project, click the "Skip to Start" button The Skip to Start button on Transport Toolbar or press the HOME shortcut. Press the Stop button The Stop button (or use its shortcut Space) to Stop the recording.

Recording a region in a new track

If there is no Timeline region, Audacity records until you stop the recording. To record only the Timeline region in a new track, use Tracks > Add New to create a new track if there are no tracks yet, select the region required in any track and ensure Transport > Overdub (on/off) is enabled (on) which is its default setting. Overdub may also be enabled in Recording Preferences. There is no need for the track containing the region to be selected.

Continuing recording in a new track

Instead of stopping the recording with the Stop button The Stop button or SPACE, you can stop the recording with the Play / Stop and Set Cursor shortcut X. When you record again, recording will start in a new track at the end-position of the track above.

Continuing recording in an existing track - Append Recording

There are two methods to continue recording on an existing track instead of starting a new track:

  • Instead of stopping the recording, click the Pause button The Pause button to pause recording, or use the P shortcut. Click to release the Pause button or press P to continue recording. Effects and edits cannot be applied until the recording stream is stopped. By default, Stop will happen automatically if you are paused then click on most menu items (including most built-in effects).
  • Select the track you want add the recording to and, while holding down the SHIFT key, click the Record button. Alternatively, use the SHIFT + R shortcut. This is called "Append Record", When you hold down the SHIFT key the red Record button will change to the Append Record The Append Record button button.

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