How to Edit an MP3 File

MP3 is an audio encoding format that is widely used as a standard for digital audio compression. It is the most commonly used file format for playback and storage on consumer digital audio devices. MP3 files can be easily edited with audio editing software to perform tasks like encoding or decoding, creating mixtapes, shortening or fading out a song, and volume normalisation. Continue reading after the jump to learn how to edit an MP3 file using audio editing software on your preferred platform.


1. Download the audio editor of your choice. In this example, the free and open source editing software Audacity is used. Most other audio editors and DAWs offer similar features and support for MP3 file editing.

Go to the Audacity download page and select the operating system you’re using to get the most up-to-date version of the software. The most recent Beta release is recommended for the most recent versions of most operating systems, including Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X 10.6.

Double-click the downloaded Audacity installer file and follow the on-screen instructions to install the software.

2. Click the “File” menu > “Import” > “Audio…” or press Ctrl + Shift + I on your keyboard to access the import audio dialog.

3. Browse for the MP3 file on your computer and double-click it to automatically import it and create a new region in Audacity’s timeline.

4. Press the space bar to start and stop playback of the audio. You can also you use the transport controls located in the upper left corner of the application.

5. To keep only a portion of an audio file, click and drag your mouse from the beginning to the end of the audio file. This selects that segment of audio and allows you to edit it.

To “Cut” or delete the audio region you’ve selected, use the scissors icon in the toolbar. This method can be used to remove sections of a song, shorten the length of an audio file, and more.

6. Click the “Edit” menu to access the majority of other editing functions including “Split Delete”, “Join”, “Duplicate”, and “Silence Audio”.

7. Experiment with other toolbar functions to perform similar editing tasks.

To keep only the selected region and cut the rest of the audio, click the “Trim” button.

To silence the selected region of audio without removing it from the timeline, click the “Silence” button.

8. Add effects to your audio by clicking the “Effect” menu followed by one of the effects from the context menu such as “Change Pitch”.

9. To export your edited file from Audacity, go to the “File” menu and then select “Export” or “Export selection.” Please keep in mind that clicking “Export” will export the entire edited audio file from the Audacity timeline. “Export selection” will only export the currently selected audio region. Depending on the type of editing you’ve done, either option can be useful. NOTE: You will only be able to save a.wav version of your edited file until you purchase the software. The free version does not allow you to save it as an.mp3 file.

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