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Importing audio files:

Either drag the files into the current project window, or choose File > Import > Audio.

Files can be imported into a new project window with File > Open.

The main formats Audacity plays as shipped are AIFF, AU, FLAC, MP2, MP3, OGG Vorbis and WAV. On Mac, Audacity as shipped can also import Apple formats like M4A (AAC) and MOV.

For most other cases (including audio from video files), you can install the optional FFmpeg library to import your file, as long as the file is not protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM). For details of how to obtain FFmpeg and workarounds to import DRM-protected files, click here.

To import a CD:

Extract it to WAV or AIFF using Apple Music/iTunes, Windows Media Player or similar. See importing CDs.

Playing audio:

  • Press the Play button Play button to start playback.
  • Press the Pause button Pause button once to pause playback, and again to resume.
  • To stop, press the Stop button Stop button.
  • Space can be used to either play or stop.
  • After stopping, playback resumes from its last starting point.
    • Alternatively, use X or Transport > Playing > Play/Stop and Set Cursor to stop playback and set the cursor there. Playback will resume from the stop point on pressing Play.
  • To change the starting point to anywhere you like, click in the track at your desired starting point, then use Space to play from there.
    • Alternatively, click and drag a selection region in the waveform, then use Space to play from the start to the end of that selection.
  • To Loop-Play a section repeatedly until stopped, select a region and press the loop button. This will add a looping region in your current selection. The looping region from then on is independent of the selection region.
  • The Skip to Start Skip to Start button and Skip to End Skip to End button buttons can be used to skip to the start or end of the track respectively.
There are other ways to to play specific regions or drag the playback cursor and special playback commands that can make it easier to find and play the exact audio you need.

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