Exports To Documents Not last Folder Used

Audacity 3.0.2 bug, ends up exporting to Document time after time, working from a External drive it will export a few times to the same folder maybe to the same directory, then goes back to Documents, so I’m constantly having to go and find the drive and folder I was working in. This has been in all the newer versions with the new volume meter that did away with the 3db mark, & with now only 12, 6, & 0 db…I don’t like that!

The older version with the 3db meter Exports correctly all the time to the last used folder but constantly makes a new empty folder replica when replacing a current existing flac file, and is why I updated, can’t win!

I hope someone can fix the newer version Exporting problem so that it will export to the last folder used. I know you can specify which folder you want to export to but working with a lot of files makes that option unsuitable, especially when the real older version exported to the last used folder correctly.


In the new version you can specify where you want the default export folder to be: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/directories_preferences.html

  1. float the meter toolbar(s)
  2. make them wider (so the -3dB) shows
  3. redock them


Thanks for the Meter info, that fixed that.
In the Export window it says to leave field blank to go to last folder used, that does not work.
In version 2.2.2 I leave blank and it always goes to that last folder used.
Having to go to Preferences & change destination each time is a real pain!

I assume that you mean here:

That is incorrect for the current version.
The documentation in the manual is correct for the current version:

If you set a default folder for any of those actions Audacity will always offer that folder location when you invoke that action.
If a particular action’s default folder is left blank (default setting) then Audacity will offer the last-used location for that action.
If you leave the entry for Macro output blank then Audacity will default to creating a folder called “macro-output” in:

  • Windows: C:\Users<your username>\Documents\Audacity
  • Mac: /Users//Documents
  • Linux: /home//Documents

I’ll log this as a bug.

I don’t think that’s correct. If I recall correctly, previous versions put the macro output folder into the same directory as the files that the macro was acting on.

I cannot reproduce this on W10 with 3.0.2 or the latest alpha build I have for 3.0.3

With the default export directory left blank the Export offers the folder location last used as its starter - which of course you can change from within the Export dialog.

This also applies if the Macro Output field is left blank.


I too think that is the case.

See also this “bug”
Bug 2734 - Apply macro may not create the macro-output folder in the source directory

Which I firmly believe is not a bug (but just a yearning for “the old ways”) - after discussion and thought the developer who introduced the default directories locations in Directories preferences decided that this changed way for macros output was an improvement.

Note that since we made this change we have had very, very, few complaints from folk who wanted their macro output folder to remain being created alongside the files being processed.

One advantage of doing it the new way is that it opens up the opportunity to make Macros work on audio files in many different locations rather than requiring all the files to be processed to be in a single folder.


but the text in the GUI (highlighted in my previous post) is wrong / misleading as the macro output folder does not “go to the last directory used for that operation”. The text in the manual appears to correctly describe the actual behaviour.
I have logged the discrepancy as an “Issue” on GitHub.

Yes but last-used is an oddity for Macro output - and doesn’t really make sense (not in the old way nor the new way)

  1. If you have used Macros on files in an older version of Audacity then install 3.0.2 and then run Macros on files, the last-used location would be to use the folder that the previous file was in - this may not make sense for the new file.

  2. If the user makes a virgin install of 3.0.2 (or purges their audacity settings folder) then there is no last-sed to use - so …\Audactity\Documents will be used on Windows and …/Audacity will be used on Mac and Linux.

It would make eminent sense to separate the “Macro output” entry from the other 4 in the prefs dialog and
a) pre-populate it with the default
b) clearer explanation of behavior
c) prevent the user from making that field blank ever.


I have commented in more detail in the GitHub thread you created Steve:


There’s several “possible” solutions.
Here is one:

Yes but that solution is a reversion to “the old ways” something you manifestly failed to convince James to do when he was implementing default directories in directories prefs for 3.0.2

By all means post your alternative on GitHub, it could certainly work that way (may require a bit more coding that my suggestion on GitHub) - anyway it’s not our call anymore, it’s a call for MUSE to make.

But yes I agree with you that the dialog as it stands is incorrect in regard to macro-output folder location. IIRC I think I mentioned that to James at the time, but he did nothing about it.


So here’s another solution - the one I posted in GitHub:
Directories prefs mockup.png
It would make eminent sense to separate the “Macro output” entry from the other 4 in the prefs dialog as a separate block (as is the case for the temporary files directory) and:
a) pre-populate it with the default (as shown in the 3.0.2 Manual)
b) clearer explanation of behavior (the text for the other 4 default directories just does not apply to Macros)
c) prevent the user from making that field blank ever.


It actually appears to be more complex behavior that it looks:

  1. If you specify a location in Directories prefs for Macro output that location ONLY appears to be used when you run the Macro on files.

  2. When you run the Macro on a project Audacity causes the Export dialog to appear and the offered location depends on the setting for Export directory location NOT the Macro output location.

So I think I need to update the 3.0.3 alpha Manual.

Steps to reproduce:

  1. Directories prefs

  2. Set Export directory to …Documents\Audacity\MY-EXPORTS

  3. set macro-output directory to be …\Documents\Audacity\MY-MACRO-RESULTS

  4. Tools > Macros

  5. select MP3 Conversion

  6. apply Macro to Files

  7. select any audio file

  8. OK to apply macro

  9. Observe: output file is created in …\Documents\Audacity\MY-MACRO-RESULTS

  10. record a little audio and select it

  11. Tools > Macros

  12. select MP3 Conversion

  13. apply Macro to Project

  14. Observe: Export dialog appears

  15. Observe offered export location is …Documents\Audacity\MY-EXPORTS

So this may or may not be desired behavior … :question:

Update: and of course this depends on whether or not the user is using the normal Export commands in Macros:
a) if they are, then the above is the case,
b) but if they are using Export2 - then the Export2 Macro command defines its own precise location.


In that case it doesn’t create a “macro output” folder does it?
The “macro output” folder “should” only be created when batch processing (processing a batch of files).

It’s actually more complicated than that

The exported files will be saved in a folder named “macro-output”

a) If the project has been Saved, then the “macro-output” folder will be in the same directory location as the project and the audio file name will be the same as the project name but with the extension appropriate to the export type.

b) If the audio in the project came from an imported file or files, the “macro-output” folder will be inside the directory from which the first file was imported. The original files are not altered.

c) If the project has not been saved and no audio has been imported, the normal Export Audio dialog will appear enabling you to choose the name and location of the exported file.

See this page in the alpha Manual (which remains unaltered)

I did make some updates to the Directories preferences page for clarity and accuracy


And testing shows the manual is wrong.

  1. Because if the Project has been saved or audio has been imported (i.e. the project has a “name”) then running a Macro on the project WILL use the location specified in the Macro output location in directories prefs.

  2. It’s only if the project has not been saved and mo audio has been imported (i.e. the project is un-named) that the Export Audio dialog is invoked.

I will fix the Manual.

BUT personally I think it would be much better if when running a macro on a project at the export step the Export Audio dialog was always shown to the user.
Perhaps this should be raised as a separate issue on GitHub?


When a macro runs a normal “Export” command (excluding “Export2”) on a project, it should behave the same as running the equivalent “Export” command manually. Macros in projects are intended to replicate a sequence (a “chain”) of normal menu commands.

I think that Steve and I agree that Macros run on projects should always show the Export Audio dialog at the export step of a Macro when run on a project - in order to give the user the benefit of choice as to where to export the file. I will log this on GitHub.

Mean while I have updated the 3.0.3 alpha Manual to document the current actual behavior (even if we think it to be erroneous) as it may not get fixed for 3.0.3 and may have to wait.


Logged on GitHub #1288

Macros run on project are inconsistent in their use of Export commands #1288