Project and file naming conventions

I’m new to audacity and podcasting. Trying to anticipate future needs, I’m wondering what file and project naming conventions people find most useful. Since I have a lot to learn, I expect to have lots of extra audio material that I don’t end up using, or that I may want to use later. I expect to need to do lots of editing, so think I’ll end up with multiple different versions of things. What’s the best way to not end up with a mess of hard-to-identify projects and files?

Thanks for your opinions, personal systems, etc.

Some fuzzy opinions and observations.

Step one. Make the computer reveal filename extensions. There’s just nothing quite like seeing three of the exact same name and trying to decipher from the pretty graphic which one goes with what.

.WAV are the perfect quality Microsoft wav files typical of raw performance, protection backups and archive storage. .MP3 are the audiobook submissions and/or on-line postings. .M4A are the video tracks, etc. All this by one simple environment setting in Windows or Macs.

[X] Reveal Filename Extensions.


As usual, the admonition to not use punctuation marks in filenames other than -dash- and underscore. I understand your computer knows all about slashmarks, but your client’s computer may not.

That’s basically it. I never had to manage thousands of individual performances, edits and versions, so that basic structure has worked well. I recently had to go back and search through several years of individual jobs with no real idea of the dates and only a fuzzy idea of the name. I found it by variations on the performer/show name. “RadioInterview?” No. “BroadcastSplit?” Nope. “JMASoundShoot?” Bingo. The rest of the filename gave me the dates.

An obsessive archival quirk leads me to never use spaces. That will probably never be important again, but I instinctively do it.

That ISO date has variations. 2020-02-15 > 20200215 > 200215. I like the middle one. ISO dates always search correctly: Year, Month, Day.

In a pinch, you can get the creation time from File INFO. Making the computer search by that, however, can be amusing.


Her’s an example for you - the folder taxonomy that I created when I started out with Audacity a dozen or so years ago - and it’s served me well over that time:
folder taxonomy.png


I use a top-level folder for each podcast which has a common assets folder for things like images, intro, incidental and outro music clips etc. Beneath this folder I have individual episode folders (Episode 0 is a general introductory thing) which are seperate Audacity projects.

Inside the episode folders I always retain the raw audio from my recording device and then produce individual tracks for each participant for later down-mixing. I name the final episode files with an EpN- prefix to distingush downloaded files on podcast clients, media players etc.



That’s the formal version. The day-to-day version may look a little more like:


It’s the winter show and between “Raw” and the .wav extension, I know that’s the perfect quality protection WAV sound file I exported after sitting in front of the microphone and reading the script. I can Save an Audacity Project in addition to the WAV. That’s handy for later editing, but Projects are big and complicated. If the computer or Audacity crashes or manages files badly during editing, that failure can take the show right into the trash bin. If that happens, I can always open a copy of the Exported WAV file and keep going. I don’t have to announce the show again.

It’s a New User error to shoot a performance, Save a Project, edit that Project and export an MP3 for upload. That’s quick and easy as long as nothing goes wrong.

– MP3
You can’t edit or change an MP3 without causing sound damage. MP3 is a compressed format and causes some sound damage every time you make one. Making an MP3 from an MP3 doubles the damage. Once you make an MP3, that’s the end of the road. MP3 is an end product. Never do production in MP3.

– Audacity Projects
See forum postings: “I’ve been editing my AUP for weeks. I turned my computer on today and it won’t open.”

The AUP is just the Audacity project manager file, not the whole show. Any number of things can cause a show to not open. If you hit the crash jackpot, the show will never open again and the WAV file is the only surviving copy. If the show is an important interview, for example, it is very, very, very strongly recommended that you Export a WAV copy of the recording and make a copy onto thumb drive or other media.

File > Export > Export as WAV

Screen Shot 2020-02-16 at 3.24.48.png
– Pocket Pod USB –


I use a top-level folder for each podcast which has a common assets folder for things like images, intro, incidental and outro music clips etc. Beneath this folder I have individual episode folders (Episode 0 is a general introductory thing) which are seperate Audacity projects.

What he said.

That’s what might happen if you have complex and dense podcasts. I generally never get that far. I turn recordings and media over to the real editors to produce the final show.


Thank you to each of you who replied! Each answer had something helpful for me. Just to be clear about my status, I am starting this podcast out of personal interest (not for my job), I will be doing all my own editing and I’m not very techy, so I am trying to learn everything all at once by recording some audio and then using that to teach myself what I want to know. I know my first episode doesn’t need to be as good as I eventually will want it to be, but I still have a long way to go to have a single episode.

I have a feeling I am going to post a lot of questions here! Feel free to tell me to RTFM :slight_smile: My personal learning preference is to be interactive, so I’ll probably gravitate here.

Thanks again everyone!