Display the file extension?

Recently I had three different versions of the same file open in different Audacity windows. Let’s call them name01.wav, name01.aif and name01.mp3. Despite each window’s GUI showing the file name in up to four different places (five, if you also click to rename the track), not one of them shows the file extension, making the different windows indistinguishable from each other. How in the world does one tell between them at a glance? I actually can’t find the complete file name anywhere in the GUI.

I see this issue has persisted for several years now. Please don’t bother to mention renaming them all with the file type included.

Again, I’m new to macOS and the new Audacity, so I’m hoping that I’m just overlooking something.

I dont know MacOS, but in windows I can see the file extensions in windows explorer if I choose the view option to show them and also that carrys through to the File Open page in Audacity so I can see .wav or .mp3 or .aif or .aup3 etc etc so I know which one I am opening.

When it is opened in Audacity it is not really a file it is an Audacity project…there is no File Save option so If I open a namefile.wav in Audacity I cannot save it back to the same namefile.wav because there is no option to do that. I can save it as a project and give it a new name and it will have the extension of .aup3.
If I want to save it as a .wav I will have to export it and give it a name with the extension .wav.

So yes as you say if you open 3 instances of Audacity for aaa.wav and aaa.mp3 and aaa.aif each will be a different project based on the particular aaa.??? and you can save them as 3 different projects. If you give them the same name it will tell you an .aup3 file of that name exists so you can choose to overwrite or not. OR as said earlier you can export them each as .wav or .mp3 etc etc.

From the Mac desktop.

Finder > Preferences > Advanced > Show all filename extensions.

This is an old Mac, but I can’t believe the newer ones are that much different. Yes, hiding filename extensions gets really unhandy when you start to do anything complicated, or you run into trouble.

Right. Audacity is not a sound file editor. It’s a Project editor. You can force Audacity to convert one of its Projects into a plain sound file through File > Export Audio.


Thanks for replying. I’ve used projects a few times, but generally have no need of them. Most of the files I work on are CD rips, so I just tweak the sound till they sound better to me, then resave them as WAVs in another folder. Nothing very complex.

In the past on Windows when I opened different file types of the same song, I’d remember which was which by their relative position in the taskbar. It was only today that I noticed the old Audacity (2.3.2 iirc) on my PC has the very same issue of not displaying the file type, and I’d simply never noticed it before. The problem on the Mac is that there is no taskbar in the same sense. It shows thumbnails of open windows instead, with the file name appearing when you mouse over one. Unfortunately, Audacity doesn’t display the file extension there either; so with no file type displayed, all the windows are identical. I actually should have mentioned this in my first post, so I appreciate your firing up more of my ol’ brain cells.

Oops – my reply was to the post above yours. I understand what you guys are saying about Audacity being more of a project editor. Fair enough. I’ve used it for many years and it’s done pretty much everything I’ve needed. I was hoping it would continue to once I’m over these few new humps in the road, but maybe I need to widen my search for a solution. Thanks for your post.