Export tracks without losing relative time?

This is my current project. I need to export the tracks individually and import them to another application for the final steps. The problem is, the exported individual wav files are all out of sync. The bottom track is only 2 minutes long and the others are up to 22 minutes long. So when I import them to the other app, they don’t match up.

How can I export them as full tracks instead of just audio snippets?

I think the current Audacity 2.2.2 doesn’t do that any more, but the desperation method is to Generate one long silent track longer than the show and export that in addition to the clip. Export > Selected. The silent track will fill in the holes maintaining the proper spacing and timing. It’s silent, so it doesn’t appear in the show.

There is another way I need to look up.


When exporting, Audacity treats the start of the first audio clip in a track as the start of the track. In other words, any empty space before the start of the track is ignored when exporting.

The easiest way to include leading space (as silence) when exporting, is to insert some silence at the start of the track.
Track starts after zero
Select a bit of the empty space at the start of the track:
Generate menu > Silence
When exported, Audacity will now see the start of the track as the start of the silence. So your exported file will be like this:

kozikowski, thank you. That works for ‘export selected’ but not ‘export multiple’.

steve, thank you, that worked. I had tried that but must have made a mistake since when I tried it now following your directions I got tracks of equal length that overlay nicely in Ardour. I’ll mention this in the Feature Requests area. I’m sure others could use this feature built into the export dialog too.

I’m sure others could use this feature built into the export dialog too.

Be sure and complain about the right thing. The Problem is that Audacity doesn’t preserve leading silences in a project’s clips. It’s not that there are no convenient ways to cover up the mistake.

I’d be surprised if there wasn’t already a complaint about that.


I’m not sure if that’s strictly true. There is no silence to preserve. There is nothing. When I generate a silence, then the problem is solved because Audacity does preserve the silence. It’s the absence of any kind of data; sound or silence, that leads to this issue.

Edit: There is an existing request, you’re right. It’s called “white space”, not silence.

Checkbox here and in Export Multiple window for exporting leading white space as silence

Disregard this request. I will add a vote to the existing request. Thanks!

Vote added.

It’s the absence of any kind of data; sound or silence, that leads to this issue.

The program is failing to meet expectations. When I move a clip to the right on the timeline, I expect silence where the clip was when I play it and I expect that silence to be there when I export the clip. I don’t care what Audacity calls it.


Thanks folks!

And worse still we don’t even tell folks about this “feature” in the Manual on either the Mixing page of the Export page.

Gale (RIP) added an ednote on the Mixing page about this six-and-a-half years ago (I added a similar note to the Export page this morning).

So if we don’t change the behavior of this “feature” I should be able to update those two pages, with the kludge fixes advocated in this thread.

:bulb: But maybe we need a new preference: “Treat leading white space as silence” (default = “on”)

Or maybe it is just a bug and we always treat it as silence.

I’m favouring treating it as a bug and always treat leading white space before audio as silence on export. This would make it more consistent with:

a) Play where the white space plays as silence

b) Mix&Render where the white space is retained in the mix


Note that embedded white space between audio clips is treated as (an made into) silence on Export - which means that if tou re-imported such an audio file you would see silences rather than white space.

And if we did treat white space before audio as silence the export, followed ny a later import would hav the leading white space changed to silence.

I assume that those behaviors are or would not be a problem :question:


Steve and I discussed this at length yesterday - an as a result of that I have logged this issue on our bugtracker: https://bugzilla.audacityteam.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1904

We probably do not have time to address this for the upcoming 2.3.0 release - but hopefully we may be able to for the subsequent releases.


That’s incredible, I really appreciate you putting it on the list. Any time is better than never.

It’s been bothering (some of) us for a long while now - it’s just that no-one had gotten around to putting in the thinking time required.

Hopefully we can get it sorted now that we have articulated the problem and a probable solution.

I did, as promised, update the Manual page for 2.3.0 to document current existing behavior and Steve’s simple workaround - see: https://alphamanual.audacityteam.org/man/File_Menu:_Export