Have 2 Audacities open at the same time?

Is there a way to have 2 Audacity sessions open at the same time so that I can “cmd+tab” between them? It would be useful for experimenting with different noise-reduction settings, comparing different settings to the pre-NR version. The icon in the dock doesn’t seem to have a way of letting 2 of something be opened. Once Audacity is opened, its dock icon just takes you to that opened instance. Thanks for any info.

I do that with two instances of the same show on different timelines, one above the other. It’s possible to switch rapidly back and forth with the MUTE and SOLO keys.

Command-D duplicate the show and only apply corrections to one of them.


Thanks – I can see that that would work, but I was hoping for a way to actually have 2 Audacities open at the same time – actually I guess it’s more of a question about OS X – how can you have 2 of ANY program open at the same time if its dock icon becomes useless for opening a second instance? (Trying to launch from Launchpad acts exactly the same way.) My old Windows 7 desktop could launch new instances without batting an eyelash.

You can open a new Audacity window from the File menu: “File > New”, or to open another saved Audacity Project in a new window use “File > Open”.
However, Audacity is designed to be a multi-track audio editor, so in most cases it is much better to work with multiple tracks in one project (one Audacity window).

I’ve never run two instances of the same Audacity version, but I do sometimes run two portable installs of 2.1.1 and another version. Have a look at the manual:


Yes Audacity “unofficially” supports running two instances if at least one instance has a “Portable Settings” folder and if they are different versions of Audacity.

For example, you can run 2.1.0 and 2.1.1 together, but not one instance of 2.1.1 in one folder and another instance of 2.1.1 in another folder.

Running multiple instances may have stability implications, so File > New or File > Open… is to be preferred as a general rule.

Use open -n from the terminal to open another instance of the same app, but it still won’t work if the app doesn’t support it (Audacity doesn’t, as above, nor does Firefox). See Launch & Run Multiple Instances of Any Application in Mac OS X.

No, double-clicking the Audacity icon was just a shortcut way of opening a new window in the same instance of Audacity. And that no longer works in current Audacity, due to a bug.

Double-clicking the app icon on OS X is meant to switch window to it, so that is what Audacity does.


Thanks, Gale. I actually never used Audacity in Windows – I was using Adobe Audition (and, earlier, Cool Edit). So it sounds like Audacity isn’t “alt+tab”-able in Windows either. It does seem like there should be a keyboard shortcut (talking OS X now) to switch Audacity windows if 2 are open rather than having to go to “Window” up at the top and select the other window. That would be fine with me! – no need for multiple instances per se. It would be great for comparing 2 waveforms of the same passage, one processed in some way, the other not. But I’m sure I’ll get used to working with the feasible alternatives.

That was me writing that down Koz - most useful, thanks :slight_smile:

I also made life easier for myself by changing the Preferences>Tracks Solo Button setting to Simple rather than the default Standard - this means you can just toggle by just using the Solo button alone.

See this page in the Manual: Audacity Manual

I’ve never bothered altering that setting before as I didn’t understand it but your post, Koz, made me go to the Manual and read up on it :sunglasses:

It’s simplified my use of Audacity a lot.

It seems to me that Simple would be a better default setting for most users, it says on that page in the Manual: “Standard” will suit those used to mixing desks and other professional audio software which to me, at least, implies expert users and certainly not “Standard” usage for a lot of our users. In fact I’d go so far as to change the labelling of that entry in the dropdown menu to Expert as well as not having it as the default. In contrast it says on that page In “Simple” mode, “Solo” means as it does in common parlance - a track made solo is the only one that can be heard. i.e. more like “does what it say on the tin”.

Unless anyone can convince me that “Simple” would not be a better default I plan to submit a Bugzilla enhancement for this.


We had a long discussion about this on audacity-devel years ago. The mixing desk usage won the day. I think it’s a clear split - developers want it as now, the support/QA side want Solo to be default. :wink:


Yes I remember, and as an experienced user of mixing desks I remain as convinced now as I was then that the “Simple” behaviour would be a much better default. I’m not sure how much “developing” I need to do to be classed as a “developer”, but I have the same code commit rights as other developers and the only thing that has held me back from changing the default behaviour was that I thought that “Quality Assurance” was strongly opposed to that. If that is not the case then I would be more than happy to change it, which will allow waxcylinder to spend his time on something more productive than writing proposals - just logging it as an “Enhancement” on bugzilla will be sufficient for tracking purposes.

Just to be clear this doesn’t work on Windows, because of the bug I mentioned - any method of opening any version of Audacity just switches to a window in the current instance of Audacity.

The Windows Task Bar has an icon per app window, not per app as on OS X.

So if you have two windows open in one Audacity instance on Windows, you can ALT - TAB between those project windows.

Just use the Mac shortcut of COMMAND + backtick, which will cycle through all an app’s open windows. In any case, the upcoming Audacity 2.1.2 release does not have the “Window” menu, due to a bug.


:slight_smile: :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

How about the idea of relabelling “Standard” to “Expert” or even “Mixing-desk” - such a re-labelling may encourage exploration and experimentation :sunglasses:


When you are listed in credits as a Developer, you are counted as being on that “side”. :wink:

If the “other side” is unanimous that the default is wrong, as we are, then we have a solid case for an “enhancement” issue on Bugzilla.

If we are going to rename the button labels, it may be better the labels say what happens, which they don’t now.

For example we could have “Solo button behaviour: Only one track soloed/Multiple tracks soloed/No Solo button.”


If this were hardware, it would probably be a push button labelled something like:
“Solo: single / multi”

“Solo button: Single track/Multi-track/None” might be clear enough. Clearer than now.


I can live with that, and I agree, better than now.

I could buy that nomenclature, seems a lot clearer than what we have now - “does what it says on the tin”.

We do need to remember that when existing users come round to installing the version of Audacity that contains this change that unless they check the “Reset Preferences” (and many won’t) they will not get the benefit of the new default. So we should, I think, make this change abundantly clear in the Release Notes.


Is that how it would work? I don’t recall. If the user never changed the default, they have no preference set in audacity.cfg, so would the behaviour not change to the “Simple” behaviour in the release that changes the default?


What appears to happen is that if the user has never visited the Preferences and OK’d any pane then there is no settting showing in audacity.cfg.

But if you go to Preferences, any pane, make no changes and then click “OK” then the (default) preferences settings, including the Solo setting, are written to the .cfg file (does not happen if you only click “Cancel” on the visit to Prefs).

There will be some users who have never visited Prefs and they should be ok - there will be those who reset their Prefs and they will be ok - but others (and there could be many of them) will not.

But note that even if you reset prefs on installation or are a non-visitor to Prefs ever - if you are used to using Solo/Mute buttons then the (default) behaviours will change for you - which gives us another reason to carefully draw attention to the change.


Do we feel sufficiently strongly to force the change to the new default for everyone? It would help those who don’t like the current default but never worked out how to change it and who never reset preferences (which could be the majority).

On the whole though I don’t feel that strongly. It would be an unexpected change for everyone else.