Exporting Audio

The last step in audio production with Audacity is exporting your file.

To export, click on the File menu and select either Export or Export Selection. The export selection choice will export only highlighted portions of your audio.

Export menu in Audacity

In the save dialogue, you will have the option to pick the audio format and set additional options based on that format.

Export dialogue in Audacity

For the Format, we recommend you choose .mp3 if your intention is to put this audio up on the Web. If you need an uncompressed copy, say for a presentation, and the size of the audio file doesn't matter, then we recommend exporting in .wav (PC) or .aiff (mac). Unless there is a specific need, you shouldn't have to select the other formats.

This tutorial will show the options for selecting .mp3, exporting for the Web. After choosing .mp3, click the Options... button to view additional options regarding the file format. (Options will only be clickable if you select a format that has additional options).

Export options in Audacity

For the Bit Rate mode, we recommend choosing Constant, which will produce the best quality.

You can think of Bit Rate as the resolution of the audio. The higher it is, the crisper and cleaner the sound will be.

Bit rates that are too low will have a metallic or garbled sound to them. The standard CD quality is 128 kbps, which is what we generally recommend. If you are a stickler about sound quality, you can select 192 kbps for exceptional quality, but the end-user could expect slower loading times if you have really long audio tracks. Expect an hour-long mono audio mp3 file to end up around 30 megabytes if exported at 192 kbps.

For the Channel Mode, you will have the option to choose joint stereo, or simply stereo. Joint stereo combines certain frequencies from both channels to create a slightly smaller file. If you have a mono project, you should choose joint stereo — since it won't affect anything. If you have a stereo project, it is also recommended you choose joint stereo, unless you specifically need both channels to be separate.

The next dialogue box will ask you to type in some metadata in what is called an id3 tag.

Adding metadata id3 to Audacity export

Filling in this information is completely optional, but highly recommended. Most audio software, such as iTunes and Window Media Player use this metadata to categorize audio files. While id3 tags are generally built to support music files, they can be useful even for journalistic pieces.

Processing the exported file

Longer files can take a while to export, an important fact to note when on deadline. Most of the time you can expect the export to take anywhere from half to the full length of audio to process.