Add "Save changes before closing?" checkbox in Preferences

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Guys and Gals,
Dear hackers and coders,
Dear whoever reads this message,

I would appreciate if anyone could add “Save changes before closing?” checkbox in Edit → Preferences → Warnings to disable showing of the warning/prompt “Save changes before closing?” and let the operator know exactly what they are doing and significantly save their time in their fast paced professional workflow and/or for any other reasons they find necessary.

There is already “Saving projects” checkbox by disabling which changes nothing.

Thank you for paying attention.

Audacity version 2.1.2
Linux x 4.9.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.9.51-1 (2017-09-28) x86_64 GNU/Linux

ref trails

Disabling “Save Changes?” dialog
Posted by wavman » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:06 pm

Can’t disable “Save Changes” popup
Posted by mr_a500 » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:10 pm

Prevent prompt “Save changes before closing”?
Posted by pstein » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:10 am

How can i disable save project prompt?
Posted by kolpotoru » Sat May 25, 2013 11:10 am

prompt “Save changes before closing?”
Posted by Puu » Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:39 pm

Which other professional software allows the user to close without warning about unsaved changes?

Dear Steve,

Now I see the reasoning behind all this.

No other professional software implies changes to an opened file upon the sole fact of it being opened, therefore no other professional software keeps bugging an operator for “Saving changes” which the operator has clearly not made.

I do understand that an .aud file is created automatically for every opened file regardless of its format or contents and THAT is the core issue here.

However, having to respond to every “Save changes?” dialog while navigating through the terabytes in thousands of WAV/MP3 data after listening to each makes absolutely no sense, gentlemen.

Why not use a separate player for previews? Because copy-paste/create new/cut/insert operations are much faster done within the same tool (Audacity) rather than opening a preview, then navigating to this particular file to be then opened in Audacity.

Since it creates new .AUD projects automatically upon opening a file, maybe we should rather be concerned about having a “make new .AUD project upon opening the file?” checkbox / option?

I do rather prefer Audacity over its commercial counterparts for its simplicity and military grade precision.

However, this “Save changes?” thing is really, really, really annoying, gentlemen.

I am ready to invest/donate if this is solved and pushed to the Debian Stretch 9.* repositories for update.

Thank you for paying attention.

This is a common misunderstanding. Audacity is not saying that the audio file that has been “opened” has been changed, it is saying that the “Audacity project” has been changed.
Other (professional) applications that do exactly the same include Steinberg Cubase, Cakewalk Sonar, Apple Logic, Cockos Reaper, Avid Pro Tools, and every other DAW application that I can think of. The difference is that no-one ever considers using these professional DAWs as media players.

One contributing factor for this misunderstanding is, in my opinion, the fact that Audacity’s “open” command allows you to select audio files. When an audio file is selected by the “Open” command, this is what actually happens:

  1. Audacity checks if the current project is empty and clean (no unsaved changes)
    2a) If the current project is clean and empty, then the selected audio file is imported into the current project. (The current project now has unsaved changes)
    2b) If the current project is either not empty, or has unsaved changes, Audacity will:
    A) Create a new project
    B) Import the selected file into the new project. (The new project now has an unsaved change).

In every DAW that I have ever used, importing an audio file changes the project and causes the project to prompt saving before closing, and as a professional sound engineer, it would be reckless to allow a project to close without warning when there are unsaved changes in the project. If I did add a preference option for this, I’d have to label it along the lines of:

[_] Allow me to recklessly discard my work without warning.

Personally I think that a much better (and very much safer) solution, would be to allow audio files to be selected and played before they are imported into the project.

There are several ways that this could be implemented. For example, one possibility would be to have a “File Preview” window, in which a selected file may be played, and optionally displayed as a waveform or spectrogram, and at the click of a button will be imported into the current project. In this case, the Audacity project is not modified until the audio file is imported.

A simpler option could be a button in Audacity’s file browser that plays the selected file. However, we are aware that many users want to “see” the audio as well as hear it.

Another option is that Audacity behaves as if it were “just a player” until an imported file is modified.
This is the simplest solution as it only requires a relatively small change to how Audacity handles its “Undo” stack.
This option would allow you to import a (single) audio file, view it and play it, without being considered as a “project”. Then as soon as any change is made to the file, the project is considered “dirty” (modified). Undo the import and import another file and still no warning. Modify any file, and there will be a warning on close if the project has not been saved.

As a QA bod on the Audacity Team (as is Steve) - I could support this option.

Note to qwertyytrewq: with this proposed change importing a second audio file just to view it and play it would “dirty” the project and cause that warning message to appear. It would only not appear if and only if you just imported a single audio file and just played it and exited from Audacity making no other changes. Or have I misunderstood this Steve?

If I have not misunderstood, then I am acutely aware that if we did make this change it could well make it more confusing for users who get used to doing this with a single audio file and then getting confused/annoyed when they later tried just importing two or more audio files “just for playing” and then still getting the warning message.

I would not support the ability of a user to turn off the warning on exiting Audacity with a “dirty” project - I would consider that far too dangerous, risking the potential loss of unwary users’ project data.

As a QA tester and documenter I probably see that message many many times every day and I don’t see what is so hard about just clicking the “No” button :confused:


More than half the time, when I import audio, I exit without saving. I DO find the extra time and effort annoying. Here’s my take…
Audacity has an option to Normalize on import, I frequently have this turned on. Because of this, I have added an additional exclusion so that if ONLY importing and Normalizing have been done, the warning does not display (if the Preferences item has been checked).

This is only a few lines of code in the Preferences dialog and a fairly small bit of code in the exiting section.

A note: Photoshop assumes if I save anything, we’re done. It doesn’t always assume it knows the goal better than I do.

No, Koz, you can’t possibly be done. You didn’t save the picture in “Adobe Photoshop Image Format®”.

I’m sure the other audio editors do that, but other applications don’t. I only have one sound editor and it catches me every time.


That’s a good point Koz.