3.1.3 Preferences: "Macro Output" ignored?

Win10/3.1.3

Or else I am misunderstanding the panel.
MacroOutput_001.png
If I have understood and used the Prefernces panel correctly, it tells me that If I fill in a field (with a valid folder, of course), then that path will be used.
I am tired of the Boring and Repetitive task of dragging files from “macro-output” to its parent folder, so I address the parent folder directly as shown above.
MacroOutput_002.png
Audacity however insists on using the “macro-output” folder.

I search the forum and see posts as recently as (I think) July 2021 mentioning this problem. Was it on a list to be fixed by 3.1.3?

Not critical for me this day, but I am now creating DOS batch files to assemble “chapters” of pages, or “books” of chapters, and I will be testing in DOS Batch for existence of files, and panicking if they are not where they should be.
Thanks
Chris

No, because the current behaviour is as intended by the development team. In other words, “not a bug”.

Well, OK. I have a pretty extensive vocabulary, so if it’s really not a bug, I’ll find another word for it. I hope that Audacity 3.1.3 doesn’t have a spell-checker. :wink:

Meanwhile, that sample box from Directories Preferences - Audacity Manual says "Fill in a field to always go to that directory for that operation", which, if I do a simple plain text substitution reads “Fill in a field to always go to the folder ‘L:\Henry Lawson\Short Stories in Prose and Verse’ for Macro output
A second pass yields "Since you have typed in ‘L:\Henry Lawson\Short Stories in Prose and Verse’, always: your Macro output will go to the folder ‘L:\Henry Lawson\Short Stories in Prose and Verse’ "
Third pass “It’s not doing that, is it?”. Fourth pass “It’s doing what it says it wont do, isn’t it?” through “It’s not working properly, is it?”, and the only thing that I can pull out of the hat for the next pass is “It’s a bug

How is your Saturday getting on? :smiley:
Cheers
Chris

The manual has a longer description (which would not easily fit into the dialog screen):

https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/directories_preferences.html

When running a Macro on a project, see the Apply Macro page for details of where the output file will be created.

which leads to:
https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/apply_macro.html#project

  • If the project has been Saved, then the exported files will be saved in a folder named “macro-output”. The “macro-output” folder will be in the location specified in Directories Preferences.
  • If the audio in the project came from an imported file as its initial step (that is, it is a named project), the “macro-output” folder will also be will be in the location specified in Directories Preferences.
  • If the project has not been saved and is un-named, the normal Export Audio dialog will appear enabling you to choose the name and location of the exported file.

Personally I’m hoping that the handling of macro exports is improved (Improvements to macro-output folder · Issue #2168 · audacity/audacity · GitHub)

This page is a bit cagey: "If you leave the entry for Macro output blank (default setting) when running Macros on files, Audacity will default to creating a folder called “macro-output” in: …"
The first four entries are covered by “If you set a default folder for any of those actions Audacity will always offer that folder location when you invoke that action.”, which deludes the naïve novice developer into thinking that if the macro-output folder entry is filled in, then “… Audacity will always offer that folder location when you invoke that action”.
But the documentation page doesn’t say that.
The documentation page offers “empty/full” for four cases, and then only “empty” for the fifth case.
The documentation does not come right out and tell us what happens when that fifth box (macro-output) is filled in.

Apply Macro - Audacity Manual

This leads us to a documentation page which say in part:-
If the project has been Saved, then the exported files will be saved in a folder named “macro-output”. The “macro-output” folder will be in the location specified in Directories Preferences.
If the audio in the project came from an imported file as its initial step (that is, it is a named project), the “macro-output” folder will also be will be in the location specified in Directories Preferences.
If the project has not been saved and is un-named, the normal Export Audio dialog will appear enabling you to choose the name and location of the exported file.

The first two statements suggest that no matter what we do, output from the running macro is going to be saved in a folder “macro-output” somewhere. The “macro-output” folder might be found in a pre-determined place, but the output from the running macro will always be lodged in a folder whose name is “macro-output”. No matter what is keyed in in the fifth box.

The third statement suggests that despite Audacity macros being non-interactive, there can be an interaction with the user during execution of a macro. And still I am left feeling that no matter where I elect to save the project, the folder “macro-output” will be there to greet me.

I can imagine that deep in Audacity code there is something that has been written always to send output to the “folder macro-ouput within ”, and that probably won’t be changed.

That said, I realize now that my “beef” is not with the documentation at all, but with the Audacity Code! That dialogue box shown as the first image in this post displays the text “Fill in a field to always go …”, and that piece of text (which misled me) must be generated by Audacity Code; what misled me is hard-wired into Audacity code. The documentation is probably correct. It is the product of Audacity code that misled me.

(Phew!)

Personally I’m hoping that the handling of macro exports is improved (> Improvements to macro-output folder · Issue #2168 · audacity/audacity · GitHub> )

Me too, Steve; me too!
Thanks again
Chris

This page does not look "cagey to me - it states

If you leave the entry for Macro output blank (default setting) when running Macros on files, Audacity will default to creating a folder called “macro-output” in:

Windows: C:\Users<your username>\Documents\Audacity
Mac: /Users//Documents
Linux: /home//Documents

And when I test that on W10- and macOS 12.2 Monterey it does just that.

And when I create a folder location in the entry for “Macro output” the Audacity creates a folder called “macro-output” in that folder and that is then used for exports from Macros.


I think that James perhaps unnecessarily muddied the water by setting a unique default location for macro output when he worked on upgrading the directories preferences. James will not now be changing this as he no longer does any Audacity work - so if we want this change it will require some serious canvassing with Muse.

But personally I think it is fine the way it is now. The workaround, if you want the macro-output folder to be in the same directory as the source audio files to be processed, is simply to make the source audio files directory the setting in Directories preferences.

Peter.

This section relates to the output from Macros when operating on the project an not not a file or set of files.

And when I test Audacity appears to do “what it says on the tin”

Peter.

This bug that I logged on GitHub last July (and which still remains open and un-fixed) has some bearing on the use cases when running Macros on projects:

Macros run on project are inconsistent in their use of Export commands #1288
https://github.com/audacity/audacity/issues/1288

This is basically a silly inconsistency - there would appear to be no reason for an unnamed project to behave differently from a named project when running a Macro on it, no need to pop the export dialog. And also inconsistent with running a Macro on files too.

Peter

So this led to me spending some time this afternoon finessing the two related pages in the manual (the alpha 3.2.0 Manual that is)

  1. Directories Preferences: https://alphamanual.audacityteam.org/man/Directories_Preferences#Macro_output

  2. Apply Macro: https://alphamanual.audacityteam.org/man/Apply_Macro#project

Peter.

Except that in many cases, where the macro is applied to the project, and the project is unsaved, it will be more convenient to prompt where to save, rather than assuming that the user wants to use the default Save/Export/macro-output directory.

In the case of batch processing, of course we want to avoid prompts.