Making sense of Audacity's file structure

I’m very new to Audacity and also new to sound files in general. Can someone point me to a primer for the basics of Audacity’s file structure?

I’ve noticed there are hundreds of .au files added to my hard drive in four distinct groupings within a “data” folder for every .aup file, the editable file.
My project includes several hours of lectures. I’m editing out the coughs and prolonged silences. What’s good practice of file management on such a project. At what point in the editing process can I dispose of the .au files?


An Audacity project consists of two parts. One is the _data folder which, as you have noticed, contains many small audio files. Then there is the .AUP file, which is a plain-text XML file that gives instructions for putting those audio files together.

You don’t have to worry about project management, at least in terms of keeping track of those little audio files.

You cannot dispose of those .au files until you are finished with the project.


– Bill