Creating a macro from the current steps

Audacity 2.3.3
Windows 10.0.18362 Build 18362
I am fairly new to audacity so I may misunderstand the workflow.
I have edited a sound file by applying two effects. I had to tweak the parameters of those effects (noise reduction, amplification) to get the voice to rise above the background noise. I have many other files with very similar characteristics so I thought I would create a macro.
From what I can tell, I would need to create a new macro, and then specify each step with parameters. It would seem common to want to save the steps performed on the current track as a macro but I don’t see how.
I also don’t see an easy way to view the steps that have been performed on the current file. So this is what I think I need to do but it would seem to be very difficult if there were a lot more steps involved than my first simple job.

  1. remember what effects I applied
  2. for each one go back into the effect and write down the parameters used
  3. Add a new macro
  4. for each step add the effect and set the parameters in the macro window

Am I missing something or is there an easier way to create a macro from what basically is in the undo stack for the current file?

Most (all?) effects remember the last used settings, so when you add the effect to a Macro, it will have the settings that you had just used.

If you’d thought about it at the time, you could have created the macro while you were doing the job the first time. Each time you apply an effect, open the Macro Editor and add the effect to a macro, then close the Macro Editor and decide what the next step of the job will be.

The Noise Reduction effect is not well suited to Macros, because of being a 2 step process. The first time that Noise Reduction is used, it creates the noise profile, and every time after that it applies the noise reduction. When used for “batch processing”, you have to ensure that Noise Reduction has the correct noise profile before you start processing the batch of files.

Unless someone corrects me, you can’t easily put Noise Reduction inside a Macro. Macros can’t make decisions (If This, Then Do That) and Noise Reduction Profile step demands that you tell it where typical or target noise is. If you don’t supply a Profile from somewhere, Noise Reduction just stops working.


There is an “easy” way to use Noise Reduction in a Macro, but it is not “convenient”.
The simplest way is to put Noise Reduction in the Macro (once), with the settings required for the noise reduction step - the inconvenient part is that you must remember to (manually) create the noise profile before running the Macro.

create the noise profile before running the Macro.

And if you don’t? When I try to run Noise Reduction without a Profile, I don’t get the OK button. Does the Macro just stop, or worse, try to go around it? I swear there are posters who “think” they’re running Noise Reduction and really aren’t.


If you don’t remember to get the profile, one of two things will happen:

  • If Noise Reduction has been used since launching Audacity, then whatever noise profile it used will be used in the Macro.
    This is likely to be suboptimal.
  • If Noise Reduction has not been used since launching Audacity, then the Macro will create the noise profile from the first file in the batch process.
    This is likely to ruin every file created by the Macro (fortunately, Macros do not overwrite the originals).

Thanks for the replies. I see the noise reduction problem. But forget that for a moment, I don’t always use that one.
The main problem I have is that I usually end up experimenting a lot before I find the right set of effects to get the desired outcome. Many times I don’t know whether its good until I’ve done three or four steps in different orders. It just seems like it should be easy to capture every action done on the file and record them.
I’ll try and use the method posted above and keep track as I go.

The exception that I know of is Amplify - which always opens with a “New Peak Amplitude” of 0dB - and calculates the “Amplification” required to get there.

So unless you want to achieve 0dB then it is better to use Normalize in Macros.


Ah yes, that’s the one :slight_smile:

The old “Cool Edit Pro” program had a “Macro Recorder” function, rather like what you describe. Yes it was useful, but perhaps not as helpful as one might imagine. It still had the “problem” that you had to start recording the macro before doing the steps, and if you changed your mind about the steps, then you would have to deleted the macro and start again. More often than not, one would do a series of steps and then think “Oh, I wish I had recorded that as a macro”, and then you’re in the same situation as with Audacity.

The main benefit of the Cool Edit Macro Recorder, compared with Audacity’s Macro Editor, was that once you had decided what was going into the macro, it was easier to select the effects because you would just select them from the normal menus, rather than selecting the commands from one big list.

The developers intend to make improvements to Audacity’s Macro Editor in the future, though at this stage there is no definite decision about what those improvements will be.