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Edit a file

This task covers zooming, selecting, cutting, pasting, and trimming in Audacity [25mins]

Read the following, at the end is a task for you to complete. 

You edit audio files in Audacity in much the same way as you would edit text in a word-processing document. When you are editing text you first select the text you want to change and then choose what you want to do with it. You might want to cut or copy the text, delete it, paste new text in it's place, or change it to bold. You can do the same kind of thing in Audacity with audio files.

Before you edit an audio file you will need to zoom in to the area you wish to edit.

Image of edit toolbar with zoom controls highlighted

The image above shows the Edit Toolbar with the Zoom buttons highlighted. This image of zoom in button is the Zoom Intool, and this image of zoom out button is the Zoom Out tool.

Use the Zoom commands to see as much detail as you need, or to make sure you see the entire file when necessary.

Selecting regions

The easiest way to select a region of audio to edit is to use the 'select tool' and click and drag. First you choose the Selection tool Selection tool from Tools Toolbar, below:

Tools Toolbar

Now click the left mouse button anywhere inside of an audio track, and drag to the other edge of your selection, and release.


Some tips:

  • You can drag from left to right or from right to left, it doesn't matter.
  • If you move the mouse past the left or right edge of the window while dragging, Audacity will scroll the window in that direction as long as the mouse button is down.


If you want to delete everything except for your selection this is called trimming, it is a type of editing. Make sure you have pressed Space to stop if the track is still playing then click on Edit > Remove Audio > Trim.

If you make a mistake, you can always click on Edit > Undo


You can also cut and paste audio. You need to know select a small part of your audio file as described above. To delete the selection and copy it to your clipboard click on the Edit menu and choose 'cut' :


When you release the mouse button you will see that the selected area has disappeared and the length of your file will have been reduced.


To paste the segment you have just cut click on the audio file at the point you where you want this audio to be pasted.


Choose the Edit menu and select Paste:


The audio will now be inserted and you if you look at the Audacity window you should see the selected audio in its new place :



  • use the Zoom In and Zoom Out functions to get a closer look at the audio file
  • use the Select tools and the Trim function to choose one part of the file and get rid of the rest
  • select a small part of the file and paste it into another point in the file

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