Align An Audio Track With A Video In Imovie

Aligning your video and audio may require some careful attention.

While Apple’s iMovie program offers only a limited number of effects and options for your audio tracks, the program allows you to separate your audio from your video tracks and move them to other places in your video. If you’ve detached your audio track from your video track, or you just have an external audio file that you now want to sync with your video, it is possible to do in iMovie; it may just take some careful fine-tuning.


1. Open iMovie, then open the video project you want to work with by clicking “File,” then “Open Project.” The project should then open in the iMovie Timeline.

2. Import the audio track you want to align with your video, if it’s not already attached to your video. Click the musical notes icon under the iMovie Video Viewer, then select the audio track you want to use from the iTunes folder or a CD inserted into your computer. If your audio track is attached to the video file, you’ll want to “detach” the audio portion from the video portion of the file. Do this by highlighting the video in the timeline, then select “Edit” from the top iMovie menu, then “Detach Audio.” When the audio is detached, you’ll be able to move it to various places on the timeline without the video moving with it.

3. Show the audio waveforms in your Project. Click “iMovie” then “Preferences,” then “Show Audio Track Waveforms.” This will cause the audio “waves” to display in a visual format on the timeline.

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4. Click on the audio track you want to sync with your video. Drag the audio file to the left or right on the timeline, while at the same time watching the Video Viewer window in the top right section of iMovie to see the exact location where your audio should start. Looking at the waveforms of your audio file may give you an indication of where certain words stop or start. Use those visual cues to drag your audio file to the desired place on the timeline.

5. Click your cursor over the section you want to preview in the timeline, then press the spacebar to preview the adjustments you just made. If the audio is not quite aligned, move the audio track to the left or right and preview again until you get it in the right place.