How to do basic audio editing in Captivate?

Posted by Greten on 29 Aug 2020 under Tools

Adobe Captivate allows you to do basic edits in the audio files in the Captivate file library. These basic edits include insert silence, delete a segment, cut a segment, copy a segment, and paste a previously cut or copied segment.

In Captivate, you can edit sound effects, audio narration, and universal background sound. You can edit WAV and MP3 files, but you cannot edit the audio that comes with a video file. This entry will cover the audio functions based on how they work in Adobe Captivate 2019 or Captivate 11, but Captivate 10 (Captivate 2017), and Captivate 9 have similar methods.

Open the Edit Audio window

There are different ways to open the Edit Audio interface, depending on how the audio you want to edit was used. All audio editing in Captivate can be done only within the Edit Audio window.

Slide Audio

For an audio file used as slide audio, go to the slide that uses it. Then, do either of the following:

  • Open the timeline and double click the audio's timeline bar under the slide.
  • On the top navigation menu, select Audio » Edit » Slide.

The Edit Slide Audio window in Captivate, showing Add/Replace, Edit, and Closed Caption tabs, with the Edit as the current tab. It has several buttons, view of audio wave, and preview of the slide.

The Slide Audio interface has three tabs, Add/Replace, Edit, and Closed Captioning.

  • Add/Replace tab provides a red Record Audio button that allows you to overwrite the current slide audio and replace it with the new recording.
  • Edit tab also has a red Record Audio button. However, instead of overriding the existing audio, the new recording is added to it. It also comes with Edit buttons, Zoom scrollbar, and Device that provides a link to audio settings.
  • Close Captioning allows you to control the timing of closed captions. This entry will not cover the audio recording and closed captioning functions.

Object Audio

For an audio file embedded to a slide object, there are two ways to open the Edit Audio interface.

  • Right-click on the object and a menu will appear. In this menu, select Audio » Edit.
  • Select the object. Then, on the top navigation menu, select Audio » Edit » Object.

The Edit Object Audio window in Captivate, showing Add/Replace and Edit tabs, with the latter as the current tab. It has several buttons and view of audio wave.

The Object Audio interface has only two tabs, Add/Replace and Edit. These two tabs work in the same manner as that of the Slide Audio interface.

Background Audio

To edit the background audio, on the top navigation menu, select Audio » Edit » Background.

The Edit Background Audio window in Captivate, showing Add/Replace and Edit tabs, with the latter as the current tab. It has several buttons and view of audio wave.

The Background Audio interface looks exactly the same as that of Object Audio interface except that its header says "Background Audio". Its two tabs, Add/Replace and Edit, work in the same manner as the Slide Audio and Object Audio interfaces.

Open Edit Audio interface through the library

You can also open the Edit Audio interface by going to the Library. You can use this method regardless of how the project or lesson used the audio file.

To open Edit Audio through the Library, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Library. It might be a button on the upper right, or a tab on the right, or found elsewhere in your Captivate window depending on how you configured your workspace.
  2. In the Library, right-click the audio file you wish to edit. A menu will appear; select Edit with Adobe Captivate.

An alternative way of opening the Edit Audio has the following steps:

  1. Double-click the audio file in the Library.
  2. In the Audio Properties dialog box, select Edit.

The Edit Audio interface has only one tab, the Edit tab. It has similar functions as the Edit tabs discussed earlier; the only buttons missing are those under the Select Source group. Since the Edit tab looks the same and works the same, the next section will focus on using it.

The Edit Audio window in Captivate as accessed from the Library. It has Edit tab only, which contains several buttons and view of audio wave.

Basic audio editing in Captivate

The Edit Audio interface has the following parts:

  • Record buttons
  • Edit buttons
  • Zoom slider
  • Device link
  • Wave view
  • Various buttons at the bottom

The focus on this entry is on Edit Audio tab; the Add/Replace and Closed Captioning tabs are topics for another entry. This entry will also not cover recording (which uses the Select Source icons), Audio Settings (which opens when you click the link under Device), and the Audio Processing options under Adjust Volume.

The Edit Audio window in Captivate as accessed from the Library. It has Edit tab only, which contains several icons and view of audio wave. The icons are labeled as Record, Stop, Play/Pause, Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Undo, Redo, Insert Silence, Zoom slider, Wave view, Adjust Volume, Save, and Close.

Find the part you need to edit

The Wave view contains a series of waves that serves as a visual representation of the audio file. It also has a timeline that measures how many seconds away a particular segment is from the beginning of the audio file.

Captivate edit audio topic icon: a speaker emitting wave with CP inside.To play an audio, click the play icon in the Record group or press the space bar. You will see a red vertical line called "playhead" moving across the wave as the audio plays. Listen to pinpoint where you need to edit and pause the audio when you find it. The pause button is in the same position as the play button; play button changes to pause button while the audio is playing so you can play and pause without repositioning the mouse pointer. You can also use the space bar button to pause a playing audio.

If you have an idea or estimate of where you can find the audio part, you do not need to play the entire audio just to find it. You can click a little bit to the left of where you think the part you need to edit is located. The playhead is going to reposition where you clicked. You can then start playing the audio from there.

If the audio is too long or you need to accurately locate the part of the audio that you intend to edit, you can use the Zoom slider to see more of the audio at once or see the waves more distinctively.

Select an audio segment

Selecting a part of the audio is an important step in some of the audio editing functions.

To determine what part of the audio you need to select, play it. Listen carefully and look at the timeline to memorize or keep a note of the time you need to select.

The Edit Audio window in Captivate similar to the previous ones. A part of the wave is selected, and it is highlighted by having darker background. The red playhead is on the right end of the highlighted segment.

Click the audio wave at the beginning of the time that you need to select, and drag your mouse leftward—or click at the end of the time, and drag your mouse rightward—until the entire segment that you want to select is already highlighted.

Insert silence to the audio

Sometimes, your narrator ends up talking too fast that he or she did not pause between words separated by comma, colon, semicolon, or period. Another possibility is that you realized there should be a punctuation mark or pause between two words when the recording is complete. In these cases, you need to insert silence between two words.

The Insert Silence dialog box in front of Edit Audio window in Captivate. It has Insert: 1 sec where 1 is a blue clickable link. It also has dropdown menu saying At: Playhead Position. Lastly, it has OK and Cancel buttons, and blue Help link near the bottom.

Play the audio and pause when the playhead is near the two words where you need to insert silence. After pausing, click on a point along the wave between these two words to move the playhead there. Press S or click the Insert Silence icon. In the Insert Silence dialog box, click the "1" link in 1 sec to enter the length of silence in seconds, or leave it if you intend to enter a one-second silence. The smallest you can enter is 0.005 second. Ensure that the dropdown shows Playhead Position. Then, click the OK button.

Delete a segment of the audio

There are two ways you can delete a segment of an audio:

  1. Leaves a silence that has the same length of time as the deleted segment.
  2. Delete a segment and close the gap; the waves before and after the deleted segment become adjacent.

Suppose you have an audio that says "Polly want a cracker. Hello!" and you want to delete the part "want a cracker", select the part of the wave that corresponds to these words. Then, do either of the following:

  • If you want to leave silence, press S or click the Insert Silence icon. You will hear "Polly...[silence]...Hello!". The period of silence is the same as the deleted "want a cracker" segment.
  • If you want to delete the segment and close the gap, press the Delete button or click the Delete (trash bin) icon. You will hear "Polly Hello!" with a gap between two words.

Paste a segment of the audio

The paste icon looks like a clipboard and has gray, white, and yellow colors. It is grayed out until you copy or cut a segment of the audio. There are two ways you can paste a cut or copied segment.

  • Paste and overwrite: to replace a segment with the one you just copied or cut, select that part of the wave. Then, press Ctrl + V or click the paste icon. The pasted segment will replace the highlighted part.
  • Paste and insert: after cutting or copying a segment, position the playhead where you want to insert the segment. When you press Ctrl + V or click the paste icon, the parts of the audio on the left and the right of the playhead will split and accommodate the pasted audio in between.

Cut a segment of the audio

To cut a segment of the audio, select the segment. Then, press Ctrl + X or click the Cut (scissor) icon.

The selected segment disappears, and the gap closes. You can paste the cut segment in another part of the audio. You can use the cut and paste functions to do last-minute narration editing after it's been recorded. For example, if you need to move a sentence from a latter part of the audio to an earlier part or vice versa.

Copy a segment of the audio

To copy a segment of the audio, highlight the segment. Then, press Ctrl + C or click the Copy (overlapping blue and yellow squares) icon.

The copy function is similar to the cut function except that it does not remove the highlighted segment. When you paste the segment in another part of the audio, the segment is duplicated. Copy and paste functions are useful; for example, there is a word or phrase in your audio that is difficult to hear. If that same word(s) appears elsewhere in the audio, you can copy that segment and paste it to overwrite the difficult-to-hear part.

Modify the volume

To increase or decrease the audio volume, press the Adjust Volume button near the bottom of Edit Audio interface. If you want to change the volume of a segment of the audio, select the segment before you click the Adjust Volume button. Otherwise, the change in volume will apply to the entire audio.

The Adjust Volume dialog box opens. Use the vertical volume slider to modify the audio volume: slide it up to higher dB to increase, or slide it down to decrease the volume.

The Adjust Volume dialog box in front of Edit Audio window in Captivate. It has vertical volume slider on the left and Audio Processing options on the right. It also has OK and Cancel buttons, and blue Help link near the bottom.

Higher volume corresponds to higher wave amplitude, and lower volume corresponds to lower amplitude. However, the Adjust Volume dialog box does not provide you a preview. You see changes in the waves only after you select OK in the Audio Volume dialog box. Then, try listening to it. If it's not the audio volume that you want, you can press Ctrl + Z or click the undo icon (curving blue arrow pointing to the left) and repeat the steps with the correct dB.

Saving the audio edits

The edits that you made in the Edit Audio window are not saved in the Captivate file in real-time. To save it, click the Save button near the lower right corner of the Edit Audio window.

To work in other audio files or other parts of the Captivate file, select the Close button. If you have unsaved audio edits when you click the Close button, Captivate will prompt you to save the changes.

When the Edit Audio window closed, the saves you made are not permanent to the Captivate file. You still need to press Ctrl + S to make the edits permanent.

Captivate appends "(Clip)" in the filename of the edited audio file in the Library. Such a change in filename does not happen if you edit the audio using external applications such as Adobe Audition or Audacity. There seems to be no way to disable this name change in Captivate, but nothing stops you from reverting it to its original name if you wish; right-click on the file, select Rename, and remove the "(Clip)" part.

Last updated on 11 Sep 2020.

Share your thoughts

* Required. Your email will never be displayed in public.

Instructional design and educational technology for effective learning