How to record and edit a podcast with Audacity

Back to basics! Learn what you need to edit your first podcast and some tips you may have missed if you're already podcasting with Audacity.


  1. Download and install the latest version of Audacity.
  2. Download and install Chris's Dynamic Compressor (optional, but recommended).
  3. Use an external mic.


Into Audacity

  1. Ensure that Audacity has the right input selected from the device toolbar. Try a couple tests.
  2. Press the Record button or the R key to start recording.
  3. Press the Pause button or P key to temporarily suspend recording, but not completely stop it. You can't edit while paused.
  4. Press the Stop button or Spacebar to stop recording.
  5. If you stopped your recording and want to start again from where you left off (called Append Record) without creating an extra track, hold down Shift as you press the Record button or press Shift-R.
  6. Press the Record button or R key again to record a new track.
  7. Go to Transport menu and enable Overdub if you want to hear previously recorded tracks while you're recording new tracks.

Into an external device

  1. Follow your device's instructions for connecting and recording. I recommend recording at 16 bits, 44.1 KHz, uncompressed WAV; or record in the highest-quality MP3 as possible.

With Skype

  1. Download and install MP3 Skype Recorder (free for Windows) or Call Recorder for Skype ($20 for OS X).
  2. Follow the instructions for recording with your choice of software.

As a double-ender

A double-enderis when all cohosts record their own audio themselves and then the producer pieces them all together.

  1. Everyone download and install Audacity.
  2. Everyone follows the above “Into Audacity” steps.
  3. Everyone gives you their Audacity recording .aup and accompanying “-data” folder, or else they give you an exported file from instructions below.


If you didn't record straight into Audacity, create a new Audacity Project from File menu > New (Cmd/Ctrl-N) and drag your recorded files into the project.

How to edit

  1. Activate the Selection Tool if it isn't already.
  2. Select an area with one of the following.
    • Click and drag.
    • Click at the start point and shift-click on the end point, or vice versa.
    • Expand any selection by moving your mouse toward its edge and drag left or right when you see the hand cursor.
  3. Perform an edit.
    • Cut to clipboard with Cmd/Ctrl-X and paste somewhere else with Cmd/Ctrl-V.
    • Copy to clipboard with Cmd/Ctrl-C and paste somewhere else with Cmd/Ctrl-V.
    • Delete and shift the following audio with the Delete key or Cmd/Ctrl-K.
    • Delete without shifting the following audio (Split Delete) with Cmd-Opt-K (OS X) or Ctrl-Alt-K (Windows). This is helpful in multitrack editing.
    • Silence the audio without moving anything with Cmd/Ctrl-L.
    • Trim everything but your current selection with Cmd/Ctrl-T.
  4. Move stuff around.
    • Cut, copy, and paste as above.
    • Split audio into clips by placing your cursor at a split point or selecting an area and pressing Cmd/Ctrl-I. You can also split this clip into a new track with Cmd-Opt-I (OS X) or Ctrl-Alt-I (Windows).
    • Join split clips in a track by selecting through them and their space between and pressing Cmd/Ctrl-J.
    • Move a split clip around by activating the Time Shift tool. This also works for moving a clip to a separate track.

What to edit

  1. Delete the silence at the beginning and end.
  2. Remove any “ums” or “uhs” if necessary. Remember that perfectionism kills podcasting.
  3. Shorten excessively long silences, but keep it natural and don't make things sound mechanical. Effect > Truncate Silence can shorten these automatically, but don't run this on multitrack projects.
  4. Remove mistakes that you self-corrected. For example, stumbling over words and then respeaking it clearly. Again, don't be a perfectionist.
  5. Insert necessary clips such as corrections, sound effects, promos or commercials, or voicemail.

Perfectionism is an enemy to podcasting. So I recommend that you not get excessive with your edits and actually allow some “mistakes” or natural glitches. Some of them may be funny, all of them make you sound more human. Only remove distractions.

If editing multiple tracks

Editing a multitrack recording is a little harder because audio can get seriously misaligned with a single edit. There are a few ways to work around this.

  • Use Audacity's Sync Lock tracks so changes in one track affect the other sync-locked tracks. This only works if there isn't something important in the other tracks in that selection.
  • Whenever deleting audio, select across all tracks and press delete. This only works if there isn't something important in the other tracks in that selection.
  • Use Split Delete (Cmd-Opt-K or Ctrl-Alt-K) instead of delete, so audio isn't moved when you edit. This is useful for editing something happening in one track while the audio in another track must remain.
  • Activate and Envelope Tool to selectively increase or decrease the volume of tracks over time. This is perfect for adjusting intro and outro or background music and effects
  • If editing a double-ender, bring your tracks together before you start editing each other's audio.

Make it sound better

You can do many things to make your audio sound better. I recommend only using Chris's Dynamic Compressor to even out your loud and quiet spots. You can also apply Normalization (I recommend a -1 value) on your sound clips to raise them to the same volume.


Audacity can make its own MP3s with LAME, but I don't recommend it.

  • LAME works best for music encoded at variable bitrate (VBR). This isn't good for podcasting.
  • Constant bitrate (CBR) is best for podcasting, but LAME's CBR is terrible.
  • LAME doesn't accommodate mono files well when you set the bitrate. LAME will make mono and stereo both use 128 kbps when it should split the selected bitrate in half for mono (64 kbps).

iTunes is free software for Windows and OS X and it uses the Fraunhofer software for making MP3s. Fraunhofer is better at CBR, so we'll use iTunes to make our podcast MP3.

  1. Download and install iTunes if you don't already have it.
  2. Go to iTunes > Preferences (OS X) or Edit > Preferences (Windows).
  3. Under General, click Import Settings.
  4. Set Import Using to “MP3 Encoder.” Change the Setting to “Good Quality (128 kbps).”
  5. Press OK twice so you're back to your library.
  6. Export your finished podcast episode from Audacity as a “WAV (Microsoft) signed 16 bit PCM.” There are no options.
  7. Don't add ID3 tags, because you would tag your MP3 later.
  8. Import this WAV file into iTunes.
  9. Right-click on the file and click “Create MP3 Version.”
  10. Drag the resulting file out of iTunes so you can add the ID3 tags.

You're done editing!

Now all you have to do put your new podcast episode on your website for people to download. I'll address this more in a future episode.

New podcast about Once Upon a Time

We're launching an exciting new podcast to talk about ABC's TV show Once Upon a Time. We're still in initial production, but watch for future announcements.

What do you do when you don't feel like podcasting?

I'd like a future episode to share how we podcasters give ourselves a kick in the pants to podcast when we don't feel like it, or how we refocus, or how we get new inspiration to keep going.

Need personalized podcasting help?

I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast.

Ask your questions or share your feedback

  • Comment on the shownotes
  • Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221
  • Email (audio files welcome)

Connect with me


This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
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12 years ago

Hi Daniel, this is just dynamite! In fact this is exactly the type of information I was looking for when I first found your blog. I didn't realize there were so many keyboard shortcuts available for Audacity. Thank you so much. I do have one request though – is it possible that you could cover some of the more advanced material in video format? I would absolutely be willing to help in any way! Thanks again!

12 years ago

Good morning Daniel!

I had a chance to catch you demonstrating many of these techniques during your live feed of this episode. Great content and very useful explanation of several key Audacity features. I look forward to your training product.

Audacity has gotten it's share of knocks for being too basic to be really useful. There are several highly advanced and incredibly useful audio editing / production software apps and suites that can get very pricey. As a free alternative to what can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, Audacity is pretty functional. Certainly there is a lack of documentation and pro features, but for a free app, it's terrific!

I'd encourage those just starting out to take a look at Audacity and give it a spin. You may migrate to more advanced editors like Adobe Audition, Reaper, or Logic Pro in the future, but Audacity may suit your needs for quite some time!

Thanks for the great topic!


[…] Did I mention once again that Audacity is FREE? Head on over to check out Daniel’s great post HERE, and while you’re at it, download Audacity as […]

12 years ago

Great podcast! I have been using audacity for about 2 years now and I learned tricks that I never knew about. Thanks for sharing! #ipoducate

12 years ago

Thanks for this podcast – I'm learning a lot! I also would like to start adding video to my site (book reviews, short how-to's, etc). Do you know if there is an open source "Audacity-like" app for video editing?

12 years ago

I'm on windows, just curious if you knew of anything.


[…] article: How to Record and Edit a Podcast with Audacity by dannymorton1973 posted under 01, 12, and, audacity, first, Learn, Need, podcast, podcasting, […]

Cd MaN
12 years ago

Regarding the Audacity / Lame issues:

– if I understand correctly your issue is that when you select 128 Kbps and mono it uses all that bandwidth (128 Kb) for one channel instead of halving it – personally I find this behavior more logical and intuitive than the presented alternative (setting 128 and getting 64)

– CBR issues: I couldn’t find any other references (or maybe I was just using the wrong search terms :-)) to substantiate the claim that LAMEs CBR mode has quality problems. In fact in every article I found the claim was that LAME is better than anything else (CBR/VBR/ABR) – a little slower maybe, but better quality

I’m asking because if we can narrow it down to a specific issue we could send some info to the developers to improve the program, but as I see it the iTunes exporting / importing isn’t really bringing anything substantial to the process and it overly complicates it.


[…] and tutorials about podcasting. This is a link to a blog titled, The Audacity to Podcast. Enjoy! How to Record and Edit a Podcast with Audacity. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]


[…] is a good podcast on how to use Audacity to record and edit a podcast. Check it […]

Maritza Breitenbach
Maritza Breitenbach
11 years ago

Brilliant! Thank you so much! I am no computer fundi, but the instructions were clear and easy to follow. Well done and thank you!

11 years ago



[…] Big thanks to Daniel for letting us post this article by him here. See the original post at: […]

Lex Starwalker
9 years ago

I realize this is an old post, but isn’t your dislike of using Audacity’s LAME with VBR to compress to mp3 a moot point, as these days all mp3 players can handle VBR?

8 years ago

I’ve just posted my first couple of podcasts and the feedback I’ve been given is they’re not loud enough and I tend to agree. I applied Normalization to -1 as suggested here. Should I use Amplify or adjust the Normalization level?


[…] consiglio essenziale che mi sento di darvi è quello di eliminare le cosiddette distrazioni; ad esempio gli “uhm…”, “eeeh“… o tutte le pause in […]


[…] Using Audacity to start a podcast. […]

Lucky Read
Lucky Read
8 years ago

I just got new update for my Mac, and now for some reason, converting to MP3 in iTunes is NOT an option. Is this do to the update, or have I inadvertently changed something?


Lucky Read
Lucky Read
8 years ago


Thank you. ????????


[…] your podcast is as simple or as complex as you make it. Daniel Lewis recommends only editing out distractions—in other words, you don’t have to get rid of “ums, “ahhs,” or long […]

John King
7 years ago

Thanks for this, super helpful!


[…] Training Creating a podcast on iPhone (Video) Podcasting with Garageband Podcasting with Audacity Podcasting with Audacity Complete guide to podcasting with Audacity Build a Podcast with Audacity […]


[…] doing the audio editing yourself, there are excellent free software options available, such as Audacity. To call people for interviews, you can use Skype and a third-party recording […]


[…] Yeti microphone, pop-filter and headphones. We use Skype to connect with remote guests, and we use Audacity to record and […]


[…] Yeti microphone, pop-filter and headphones. We use Skype to connect with remote guests, and we use Audacity to record and […]


[…] bit messy. If you plan to edit your podcast yourself, you’d be smart to first take a look at some in-depth tutorials on podcast […]

Rob Portinga
4 years ago

How current is this info? Is there an alternative to using iTunes?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

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