Export Overwrite Default button changed

Audacity 2.4.2 MacOS 10.14.6
So I have searched and not found anything on this.
I just updated to 2.4.2 from 2.3.3.
When exporting to overwrite a file of the same name, the dialog pops up that says “filename already exists. Do you want to replace it?” And the default button highlighted is now Cancel. Well, it used to be Replace, and simply hitting the enter key would proceed.
This change has interrupted my flow, and I’m looking to change the preference back to having Replace be the default button.
I looked in audacity.cfg, but do not see any flag I could change. There’s clearly nothing in the actual Preferences dialog.
Any help here?
It’s killing me.

For me on W10 with 2.4.2 (and with the latest test alpha test build I have for the upcoming 3.0.0) the default button in the dialog is the Yes for allowing overwrite:
Overwite default.png

In contrast when Saving a project the default is indeed do not overwrite (and this was very deliberately chosen as the default for projects:
Overwite project  default.png
Personally I find the “Yes” overwrite as the default for audio file exports a more dangerous default choice as that risks a permanent overwrite and thus loss of the original file.


Thanks for the reply @waxcylinder

The issue for me is flow.
I am working on many small wav files.
I make a copy of the source files into a working directory before opening in Audacity, so there’s no “danger” of losing my work.
In 2.3.3, I can hammer through keystrokes and not have to grab the mouse, navigate to a button, back to the keyboard, etc…
There’s not even a keyboard shortcut totoggle the focus of the default button choice, so the mouse is a must.
My flow in 2.3.3 would be:
Open multiple files at once. Do an edit that is not macro-able to each of them.
Cmd+shft+W to Export to wav (shortcut I setup)
Enter to Save
Enter to Replace YES
Enter to OK metadata
Cmd+W to close the window/project
Mouse navigate to the NO button and Click for “Save Project?” (would LOVE for this to be just another Enter stroke with the default set to NO)

See the video below with subtitles for how quick this can be.
While I understand the “safe” defaults have been set to not overwrite files or close a project inadvertently without saving, (although I’m not sure why Windows defaults to YES and Mac defaults to NO for “replace?”)…I am hoping there’s some preference or code I can edit to my own “fork” version of 2.4.2 to have the buttons default to how I like.

Thanks for your attention to this.

Video link with subtitles:

As there are only two options you don’t need to “grab the mouse” just use Tab to switch to the other button then use Enter


Hmmm when I test that on my Macbook Pro with Catalina 10.15.7 I see

a) the initial focus does indeed seem to be on Cancel

b) and the focus gets shifted to the Replace button with Tab but pressing Enter then does not effect the replacement export :confused:

@Bill and @Steve - what happens on your Macs ?

Update: and on Mac in the Export Audio dialog although I can Tab to highlight the “Cancel” button - BUT when I hit Enter Audacity tries to proceed with the Export and does not cancel :confused: :frowning:

Further update: I’m thinking this looks like a bug on Mac - I’ll wait to hear what Bill (QA Mac) and Steve (QA Mac & Linux) think.


I have similar problems on Mac when I try to use mouse-less keyboard controls when exiting Audacity with a “dirty” (unsaved project).

These issues a re a pain for us sighted users - but a real bummer for VI (Visually Impaired) users who rely on the keyboard.

This does not seem to be a regression - I have the same problems on 2.3.1 - and that’s the furthest back I can regression test as with Catalina Mac prohibits 32-bit apps.


Tab does not toggle to the other button in any dialog boxes. Only moves through fields in the metadata box (expected).

It does Tab through the buttons on Windows - on Mac it looks like its tabbing properly there is a visual change but it does not activate.


A little light went on :bulb:

Mac kindly disables that for you by default - you need to turn on tabbing to buttons - See:

I already have my Mac set that way - and that’s why I could apparently tab between buttons, but the focused button doesn’t seem to work.


Ok Thanks. Interestingly, the dialog box buttons now look like this, with a light blue boundary box, (new since turning on Tab affects All Controls in Sys Prefs) ) and it’s around Replace when it comes up. But the Cancel button is the normal “I’m selected currently” blue, and as reported above, hitting enter chooses Cancel regardless of which button the boundary highlight is on.

Yes that’s exactly what I see too - and even with that Focus ring round the Repce button Mac effects a Cancel and not a Replace.

I tested again on W10 and there it works fine - and Replace os the default button - actually it’s a “Yes” there.

I’m still waiting to hear from other QA Mac-folk to see if thay think its a bug or a “feature”


When you have set the system keyboard (shortcuts) pref to tab between controls you need to press space, not enter, to “click” the highlighted control.
– Bill

Thanks Bill - it’s easy when you know how :wink: :nerd:


Thanks, yes that works. Any chance it will just be the same as the Windows port in the future? Replace was the default button in 2.3.3 and Enter flowed with the other dialogs of Save and OK.

Great :sunglasses:

Nope, because that is a “feature” of macOS - those helpful folk at Apple just decided to so it differently - just like they insist on using Cmd instead of Ctrl - annoys me all the time as I switch between W10 and macOS - oh and switching the close window to top left rather than top right :imp:


Sorry, Maybe I was unclear. I’m talking about Replace (overwrite) being the default button like it used to be. Can I edit a bit of code or preference somewhere to make it so?

“Replace” is the selected button. Press spacebar to save, or press Enter to cancel.
I know it’s weird, but that’s Mac.

I can work with that. Thanks so much for your reply.