Audacity icon with blue headphones and waveform

How to Fade In and Fade out in Audacity

Fading is a useful tool in a podcaster's arsenal and one you'll likely use on most episodes you edit. The effect allows you to create smooth transitions between your audio clips to make a seamless listening experience for your audience.

There a few ways to add a fade effect in Audacity, depending on your needs. We'll start with the simplest method and work our way up from there!

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#1. Linear fades  

The easiest way to create a fade within Audacity is to use the classic Fade In or Fade Out effect. These basic fades are also called Linear fades and apply constant speed and amplification throughout the selected portion of audio. In these fades, the amplitude of the audio goes from zero to full volume, or full volume back down to zero.   

To apply this effect, grab your Selection tool (looks like a cursor), select one second of the audio file (you can adjust the length to whatever you want), and go to Effect > Fade Out.

Fade Out with red box around it

Adding this effect creates a Linear Fade starting at zero and will amplify the track to full volume over the course of one second.

You can make your audio selection longer if you want the fade to come in more gradually, or select a smaller section to make the duration of the fade shorter (the same thing applies to fade-outs.)

Apply fade out to individual clips

Press Cmd + I (or Ctrl+ I) to split a track into multiple sections so you can apply a fade to an individual segment of audio. In this example, we split the clip at eight seconds and moved the second portion over with the Time Shift tool. To apply a fade out the first clip, highlight the section of audio you want to fade, go to Effect > Fade Out

Split clip with a Fade Out applied to the first clip

#2. Studio Fade Out 

The Studio Fade Out is a less abrupt version of the classic fade and follows an s-shaped curve instead of a line. This type of fade is used mostly in musical tracks, and while some creators think the effect is less jarring and more artistic, others can't tell much of a difference. 

To apply the effect, select your portion of audio, go to the Effect menu, scroll way down to the bottom, and click Studio Fade Out

You can play around with this feature and see if it makes a difference to your final product. If you feel the effect is smoother and easier on the ear, you can stick with it! But if you can't tell the difference, the classic fade mentioned above works just as well.

#3. Crossfade

A crossfade is an effect applied to two separate clips that makes one section of audio fade out while another fades in. Audacity merges the two clips so they overlap, which can help create smooth transitions. There are two ways to apply a crossfade in Audacity: Crossfade Clips and Crossfade Tracks.

Crossfade Clips

To apply a crossfade across two clips on the same track, make sure your two clips are next to each other using the Time Shift tool. Use the Selection tool to select the area you want to crossfade, then click Effect > Crossfade Clips to merge the selected audio. 

Crossfade Clips

Crossfade Tracks

When creating a podcast episode, you'll likely work with multiple clips across at least two different tracks. To apply a crossfade between two clips on separate tracks, take your Selection tool and arrange the clips, so they line up.

Use the cursor to choose where you want the fade to start, drag it across the tracks you want to Crossfade, and go to Effect > Crossfade Tracks

Crossfade Tracks with green sound waves

The Crossfade Tracks Menu will pop up with options to create a Custom Curve or adjust the fade direction. Unless you're a digital audio expert, we recommend leaving the default settings as they are. 

Click Ok to apply the crossfading effect. Upon playback, you'll hear your first track get softer at the end and the second one get louder at the beginning. 

#4. Create a fade using the Envelope tool

If you want total control over your fades, the Envelope tool will be your best friend — especially when working with multiple tracks. This tool allows you to manually adjust the volume level at any point along the track to create precise and fully customized fade shapes.  To get started, go to the toolset at the top of the workspace and select the Envelope tool.

Red arrow pointing to the Envelope tool button

You'll see dark grey bars appear above and below the waveforms on the Timeline — these represent the volume of each track. With the Envelope tool selected, click on the grey line and a white box should appear. You can click on this white box to adjust the volume level at that specific time point, and create new ones across the Timeline wherever you want. 

Envelope Tool showing sound adjusted across various time points

Now, you have full, second-by-second control of your track's volume level. For instance, in this clip, we made it louder for the first second; then, we dipped the volume lower at four seconds. You can add as many adjustments as you want, allowing you to customize your fades completely to your unique needs.

This feature is especially convenient if you're editing several types of clips strung together like an intro, music segues, narrated portions, and interviews. It gives you full control of the effect and can save you time, once you get the hang of it.

More Audacity tutorials

Hopefully you now have a good idea of the different fade options you have within Audacity. You can keep it simple with basic Linear fades, use Crossfades to transition, get artistic with Studio Fade Outs, or take full control and create your own custom fade shapes!

Audacity is an excellent audio editing tool, widely used by digital audio creators. These tutorials can help you get more comfortable, so you can use Audacity to confidently edit your own podcast!