can't export multiple files


SUMMARY: I have about 60 audacity recordings that I want to export as FLAC and I do not want to have to laboriously export each one by one. I thought “export multiple” could do this but it’s not behaving as expected.


Audacity Version 2.3.0
Mac OS Version: 10.11.1 (El Capitan)


I do File > Open.

I select select multiple files. (For this example, suppose I want convert three recordings that are in three files called file1.aup, file2, aup and file3.aup…So I click on file1.aup, then shift click on file2.aup and then shift click on file3.aup)

NOTE: there are about 60 .aup files. Also, for each file foo.aup there is a corresponding folder called foo. I am not able to select and open these. (It appears that the .aup just have meta data (xml?) and that I suspect the “real” audio data is in each of the subfolders, foo).

I press the “Open” button.

Audacity opens three windows, one for each file.

I do File > Export > Export Multiple

Audacity throws up a dialog box thingy with the label “Export Multiple”. I leave all the settings alone. (i.e. format = FLAC files, Level = 5, Bit depth = 16 bit. For “Split files based on”, “Labels” is chosen (not “Tracks”). For “Name files”, “Using Label / Track Name” is selected.).

Audacity throws up a dialog box thingy that says “Edit Metadata Tags”. Thee are 8 rows in this dialog box with labels like “Artist Name”, “Track Title”, “Track Number”, etc. All are blank except “Track Title” which has what appears to a human transcription of one utterance. Also “Track Number” has the number 1.

I press the “OK” button. (In other attempts on other files I sometimes have to hit the “OK” button many times before it finishes. After each “OK” the “Track Number” increases by 1).

Audacity then throws up a dialog box thingy that “Successfully exported the following 1 file(s)”. And then it gives the path of only one new FLAC file it created.

MY CORE PROBLEM IS that it only creates one file. I opened three files at the start of this whole thing. I did export multiple. I would have thought i t would produce 3 not 1 FLAC file. WHY DOESN’T EXPORT MULTIPLE (files) actually EXPORT MULTIPLE FILES?

NOTE: Above I said I let the default of "“Labels” remain for “Split files based on”. In other attempts I set it to “Tracks”. I get essentially the same behavior.


This is a meticulously created set of audio recordings from people with dementia. A bunch of expert linguists appeared to have annotated the heck out of these files. I do not know much about precisely what they did. I can probably ask the and get more info.


Maybe these annotations are interfering with “normal” operation of export multiple?

Maybe I need to somehow delete the annotations or do some other processing on the folder containing ~ 60 audacity recordings in order to be able to export multiple.

Maybe I need to somehow do this all as a “Project” in order to make export multiple?

Maybe “export multiple” is not clearly documented. In other words, the documentation seems to say it exports multiple files but this is misleading?

Maybe the functionality is not supported and I will either have to:
(a) just suck it up and manually convert each one
(b) find another approach to batch convert from .aup to .flac (if so, any suggestions on an easy tool? hopefully a command line thing - I’m decent with unix and python.)

Maybe I have missed something plain as day? If so what?

Maybe there is a bug?


Thanks! (-:


The Export Multiple functionality is for exporting multiple files from one Audacity project.

You could save yourself a bit of time by disabling the Metadata Editor dialog before export:

FYI, an Audacity project consists of a .aup file and a corresponding _data folder. So if you have foo.aup, the actual audio in a folder called foo_data.

There is no other way to convert “aup to .flac” since, as you’ve discovered, a .aup file is just xml. I’m afraid you’ll have to “suck it up and manually convert each one”

– Bill

Thanks so much.

Oh well, I guess I will have to suck it up.

But, I did find a python based module called audiotools.

If you look at this piece of the documentation…

…it says it can handle a variety of formats including “Au Sun”.

In sub sub sub dirs of each _data folder there appear to be a bunch of .au files.

Are these .au files possibly the same format as “au sun”?

More generally, is there any hope that this python audiotools python module might rescue me?

So far hope appears dim. I tried some incantations using this module to convert a .au file to .flac but I got this error message:


So, I realize chances are low that the python audiotools module (or any other module?) could save me. But I thought I would ask, holding out some small hope.

(Is it worth it digging around on the internet for some piece of code that will do this? Maybe the format of Audacity is some opaque / proprietary thing?



No, they are different. They are AU-dacity data files.