After handing my personal manual on this (based on Audacity’s but with local tweaks) to a new volunteer, I’ve been challenged about some entries, so I decided to go through the whole thing. I just realized that my manual - and the Audacity manual - both say that to open a new audio file you should type File > Import > Audio.. We record music sessions as WAV files on a TASCAM DR-05X, then import them into Audacity for cleanup. When I do this, I’m using Windows 11. Some of my volunteers have Macs.
I just realized that I haven’t been following those instructions to import the files. I’ve just been typing File > Open and then picking the one I want from the Windows File Explorer. Frankly, it seems to work fine, and the online manual (which I just checked) says I can also drag and drop to an icon in File Explorer. What’s the difference between these 2 methods of getting a WAV file into Audacity?
I may have some other questions as I work through this. I’ve always gotten very useful and helpful advice here.
What’s the difference between these 2 methods of getting a WAV file into Audacity?
As of the last few versions of Audacity, I don’t think there is one. It used to be a big deal that you had to get Import and Open right or Audacity would start waving its hands and blowing spit bubbles. Now, the work just opens.
It helps that WAV (Microsoft) is the default Export format, so it knows what it is, and WAV will open on all three common computer platforms. Should you decide to play one of the odder formats, you may need to actually Import. I’m not sure.
I’m pretty sure you can’t Import an Audacity Project. That will not go well.
You’re supposed to complain that Audacity, the audio editor, won’t save a sound file.
I’ve been challenged about some entries
Now you know why we don’t produce or recommend instruction videos. It’s just about impossible to keep current with updates and changes. It’s all we can do to make the official manual track properly, and even that is under development.
Thanks for the clarification, Koz, that’s very helpful.
Yes, writing doc on an actively developed program is tricky, but I need it to try to teach other people how to do this particular sequence, and some of the people I’ve taught have not been technically adept.
Fundamentally Audacity does not “open” an audio file like a WAV or MP3 with the File > Open command.
What it actually does is to “Open” a new project if it needs to (that is, if you use the File>Open command from a new empty project) and then actually makes an invisible File>Import into that project.
This is important to understand as the ability to use File>Open with audio files can encourage users to believe that they are directly opening the audio file and acting on it directly. This is NOT the case as what Audacity does when it imports your audio file with the File>Open command is to make a converted copy of that file in its own internal project structure. You then work on that project and later File>Export the required audio file output.
And this is precisely why the Manual says (and has long said): “to open a new audio file you should type File > Import > Audio”
Just to avoid that misconception of operating directly on the audio file.
There is difference in how the two commands work if you already have a project open - File > Open on an audio file will create a new project with that audio file in; File > Import > Audio will import the selected audio file into the current project.
And this is exactly in line with waxcylinder’s excellent explanation.
[And reading it again I think he already said this …]
Thank you, that explains why File > Open has been working for me - because it’s always how I start a new project, and if I’ve had a project open, I’ve always closed it before I start the new one. I’ll keep that in mind, it’s important.
I forgot to include my version of Audacity - it’s 3.1.2, sorry.
waxcylinder » Fundamentally Audacity does not “open” an audio file like a WAV or MP3 with the File > Open command.
… And this is precisely why the Manual says (and has long said): “to open a new audio file you should type File > Import > Audio” SecretCode » … File > Import > Audio will import the selected audio file into the current project.
Agree, and agree, and add this:
For most of my life I have used Audacity as a “file editor”, which of course opened a new project, then let me edit the file, and then of course prompted me to save the project file (“Quit pestering me” is dealt exhaustively in a different thread)
This afternoon I am back to editing a couple of dozen files, general tidy-up, and I find another advantage of Import:
Once my file=track=clip is tidied up, the export command (File, Export, …) has retained the original name (used in File Import) and loaded my Export dialogue with that name, which I find not only handy, but a great safeguard. With dozens of existing files in he folder, it would be easy for me to "yes, Overwrite!) the wrong file.
I think, too, that this clears up an earlier plaint of mine. I suspect that back then I was starting a new Project by double-clicking on the audio file (WAV or MP3) in a folder.