Help! I can’t open .aup file after compressing into ZIP

Hello, I am trying to help my nephew with his school project. We are not familiar with Audacity so it may be an easy fix. Basically he created an audio file about 1 minute long, and his teacher wants him to save as project.aup but then compress it into a ZIP file. When we compress the other project.aup with the data folder, and then try to open the project.aup (to check if it works) a pop up says “couldn’t find project data folder:” and “could not load file: project.aup”. What could we be doing wrong? Or is it normal? Could it just be the schools laptop? The audio is saved into an “assets” folder, could that be it? It plays just fine when it’s not compressed. Help please!

Basically he created an audio file about 1 minute long

Make a safety copy of that file on a thumb drive or some other storage. This is a terrific habit to get into. If your edit goes into the mud, you should still have that valuable file saved somewhere.

This is an Audacity Project.

They have to be in the same location or folder, they have to be named the same and it has to be the name you gave them inside Audacity. You can’t put one inside the other.

Select them both for inclusion in the ZIP.

It should be possible to unzip them back to those two items. Double click the AUP file and the show should open. Or open with, or launch Audacity first and then File Open, etc. etc. Your choice. If you got the original file and folder back, I do expect the show to open.

If this part is foggy, save the Project (make the AUP file and the _DATA folder). Close Audacity, and see if you can open up the project without the Zip step in the middle.

You should be careful not to unzip the folder somewhere where the old and new files might collide. Some computers don’t like that.