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A few years ago I was standing in a queue at a bank when an elderly woman’s mobile phone rang loudly with the crazy frog ringtone. I have never seen someone blush so brightly.

The moral of the story, of course, is to never be caught out with an embarrassing ringtone. You can play it safe by using one of the standard ringtones that comes with your phone, but who wants to use the same ringtone as everyone else?

With the Lumia smartphone you can easily make your own ringtones. There are apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace to help you do this, but we think you’ll get much more satisfaction if you can do it yourself!

So, in the latest of our practical guides, here is how you can create custom ringtones for your Lumia.

The ringtone file

The first thing you will need is a media file – the song, tune or sounds that you want to be your ringtone. This file needs to meet the following criteria:

  • It must be in the MP3 or WMA format
  • Less than 40 seconds long
  • Less than 1MB
  • Not protected by digital rights management (DRM)

I have come across several fun homemade ringtones that may inspire you to do something similar. A friend of mine recorded his daughter singing; a Formula 1 fan recorded the sound of the cars speeding past and a cricket fan used the shout of ‘Howzat’ as their custom ringtone.

Let your imagination run wild, but always be mindful that your file meets the requirements above.

Depending on your computer or laptop, you can probably record audio using the built-in microphone, external headset or webcam.Audacity is an excellent audio editing suite for both Windows and Mac.

Alternatively, record with your Lumia using a voice recorder app. I would recommend Pocket Recorder, which is free and also lets you assign your recorded files as a ringtone, but wouldn’t you rather learn how more about the manual process?

Setting your file as a ringtone on your Lumia

Once you have the media file on your computer and you are happy with how it sounds then you need to synchronise it to your phone and assign it as the ringtone on your Lumia.

If the file is already on your Lumia, then you still need to assign it as a ringtone first.

The steps are slightly different on a PC and a Mac, so we’ll them each in turn.

Zune for PC users

  1. In Zune, find the media file you want to turn into a ringtone
  2. Right-click on the file and select Edit
  3. In Genre list, click or type ringtone and press OK

Connect your phone to your PC with a USB cable and transfer your file to your Lumia. Then on your Lumia:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Ringtones + Sounds
  3. Select Ringtone and then scroll down to the file that you’ve created to make it your ringtone.

Windows Phone Connector for Mac & iTunes

  1. In iTunes, find the file you want and right-click and select Get Info
  2. On the Info tab, find genre and type ringtone and click OK.

Open Windows Phone Connector for Mac and synchronise the file to your phone and then repeat the three steps above on your Lumia.

Making custom ringtones sounds like a daunting task but hopefully this guide demonstrates that it is relatively straightforward and simple to do.

Let us know if you have been making custom ringtones for your Lumia and if you’ve created something unique.

Image credit: Ernest Vikne and MacKinnon Photography