Text Selection Widget

Before we start in Audacity, using the right image format is vital to minimise the possibility of an unreadable file. Uncompressed images typically respond much better to editing processes than compressed images, allowing you to be more flexible with just how much you edit the image in Audacity. In short, this means no JPEGs, PNGs or TIFFs.


Two formats stand out with the best results: Bitmap files and RAW files. Both have their advantages and disadvantages which also affect the final outcome after sonification.



When exporting in Bitmap format, make sure to specify either 24 or 32 bit as 16 does not respond as well to editing in Audacity. All files on this website are 24 bit (8 bits per channel, 3 channels).


Headerless RAW:

RAW files are typically very difficult to break when sonnified, even if only a fragment of the original code remains. This is due to a more flexible tolerance for missing bytes and the lack of a header to corrupt. Due to the absence of a header, image details such as dimensions and bit-rate must be remembered manually. A RAW file can also be exported with a header, in which case these details are automatically contained, however care must be taken to ensure that the headers is not edited during sonification in the same manner as a Bitmap. To complicate matters further, in built image viewers such as Photo Viewer on Windows and Preview on OSX are not always able to view these RAW files, requiring another third party application to open or re-save them. For these reasons reason, bitmap is the easier of the two formats to work with.

  • Export image files as 24 or 32 bit Bitmap (.bmp)

  • Headerless RAW files can be used, but image information must be remembered.

  • Do not use JPEG, PNG or TIFF.
  1. File: To import and export you images.

  2. Effect: This is where you'll find effects to 'glitch' your image.

  3. Playback Controls: Pause, play, stop, position cursor, record.

  4. Cut, Paste and Copy Icons: Function as titled.

  5. Selection Tool: Used to select chunks of the track.

  6. Magnifying Glass(es): These allow you to zoom into your track for greater detail.

  7. Track: A visualisation of the image as a waveform.


File>Import>Raw Data>*select file*

  • Encoding: U-LAW or A-LAW (recommended).
  • Channels: 1 (mono) (recommended) or 2 (stereo).
  • Start Offset: 0 (default).
  • Amount to import: 100 (default).
  • Sample Rate: I have used 44100 (default). Anything else requires new testing as the process mechanics are altered. For now stick with the default.



File>Export Audio>*File Extension to .bmp*

  • Header: RAW (header-less).
  • Encoding: Match your input (U-LAW or A-LAW).
  • The header is most often followed by a string of dots in a line.

  • On multiple tracks, only keep one header to avoid corruption.

  • If ever there is trouble finding the header, import a second file of the same type and dimensions but of different image contents and compare the start of the waveforms. The header should be the same on both files. Any data after this is unique to that file and can be safely edited.