"Save Project before Closing" is annoying upon every file close

The fact I have to move my mouse to select “No” to this dialog box after every file I wish to close is a nuisance and friction-y. Couldn’t there be a command to “Don’t ask me again” on this? Or at least a key command (like Cmd-D, the Apple Standard for “don’t save” )?

Editors have been complaining about that since the Eisenhower administration. Shall I add your name to the list?

There is an actual reason for that. Audacity isn’t an audio editor. It’s a Project editor and if you exit without saving a Project, it sees that as an unnatural act to be corrected.

People object to the assumption that Audacity knows their show better than they do.

My personal philosophy target would be as Photoshop which assumes if you save anything, that was your goal and it gracefully exits. Photoshop does get excited if you don’t save anything.


*** I *** have been complaining about it since Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a comedy team.
But only by muttering under my breath, never having plucked up the courage do it it LIVE, as it were, on-forum.

I add my voice to SASPro’s. :exclamation:

My main use of Audacity is editing one-track files, typically lopping the trailing three minutes of applause from a musical rendition. I don’t save Projects. Ever.

However ! do have experience in programming computers, and with the exception of languages such as Turing Machines and the Single Instruction Computer concept, every 3rd-level language has a form of IF statement, and every 2nd-level language has sported a conditional branch.

It follows that it ought to be possible, immediately before the prompt-to-save-project, to implement something along the lines of:-

IF [i]user-is-interested-in-saving-projects[/i] THEN
   Do the project-saving-stuff
   Shrug and be quiet

The value of the flag user-is-interested-in-saving-projects could be held in the CFG file.
Respectfully yours

PS Actually, now that I think of it, even Turing Machines offer the conditional-branching facility, when we think of TMs as State-Transition tables. C

Doesn’t Microsoft Word do the same thing? How about ProTools and Reaper? I know that Gimp prompts to save before discarding a modified project. Isn’t it “normal” behaviour for an app to prompt before discarding your changes on close?

Steve, Quite so. Agreed. notwithstanding the minor point that MsWord allows users to modify its behaviour for Opening, Closing, and New documents. Your other examples I don’t know, but then you could have mentioned Lotus-123, QuatroPro, AmiPro and so on
The only example I can give of a PC-based application not prompting to save is MSAccess, for there, when you offer a record to the database processor, the record is written to disc immediately, leaving no data to be saved to disk.

I can, of course, provide an exception to the exception to the rule - if I change the view such as “column width” in a table, MSAccess prompts me to save the database, so for MSAccess, the database corresponds to a project.

Save-before-close is indeed normal behaviour, and Audacity might/should/will continue to prompt for this.

Here comes the counter-argument :smiling_imp:

We are asking here for a user-switch that toggles the existing behaviour. Nothing need change for the out-of-the-box experience for the inexperienced user.
But for those of us (i.e. self-centred Me!) who do only track-editing, we might save as much time as five seconds a day (I know, I know: The ROI expressed in hours spent implementing modifications is practically zero)

But think too of the number of complaints (Me again!) about Pigabytes of disk space taken up with failed projects, checkpoints and all that “rubbish”. Now we are talking of the time required during a project for HDD access to maintain what sounds like a chain of Edit-Undo data.
Suppose the switch could inhibit not only the prompt, but also all the checkpoints etc.

I think that such a switch would lead to Audacity-Lite, that did away with the Project concept altogether and left a bare-bones single-track editor.
That would be going back to the Lotus-123 for DOS concept where we had but a single worksheet of 256 columns. Almost as much fun as fitting a payroll record onto a single 80-column punched card!

For me the bottom line is that you are correct in (I think) seeing this as a frivolous request. I accept that Audacity is an impressive monster, and that I am no audio engineer. I can’t imagine a city the size of Toronto boasting a transit system of one road-bus, one streetcar, and one underground train-set.

So, I withdraw my support for the idea of a switch to disable saving projects.

:smiling_imp: :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp: But I might launch the idea of a programmable language - let’s call it Visual Basic for Audacity, or VBA for short - so that users can customize all aspects of the program :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp:

Sincerely, Steve, with thanks for clarifying this issue :smiley:

First, thank you all for your comments, it’s helpful to at least see why this is the case
Steve, Audacity prompts me to save even if all I’ve done is LOOK AT the file. If you make no edit, ProTools, MS Word/Excel, etc. gracefully close. Audacity doesn’t. I at least feel this should be standard behavior.
95% of the time I open Audacity without changing the original file. 99% of the time I’m not needing to save the project as an .aup, b/c I usually just export wavs, mp3s and leave. All I would like is a way to disable the “Save Project Before Closing” warning every single time I close a window. Or at least make a shortcut (Cmd-Delete) so I don’t have to drag my mouse over to say “No” to the save prompt every time.

It doesn’t for me. If I only open a project file, I can close it again without being prompted to save.

Perhaps you mean looking at an audio file (rather than an Audacity project). In this case you are not “only opening the file”, what you are doing is creating a new Audacity project and importing the audio file into it. In this case, Audacity will ask you if you want to save the project.

Also see: Selecting Audio in current 3.2.2 beta marks project as changed. Regression on 3.2.1.

I would be perfectly happy if it didn’t ask to save unaltered WAV and MP3 files. I mean what is the point ?

It doesn’t ask you to save an unaltered WAV or MP3 file. It asks if you want to save the new project. If you select “No”, then the new project is deleted forever.

It seems to me that the problem mostly affects people that want to use Audacity as a “viewer” while the app is designed to be an “editor”. A possible solution would be for Audacity to have a File menu option: “Import as Read Only”, and an additional toggle option: “Read Only || Read / Write”. When in read only mode, you would never be prompted to save.

I stand corrected. :slight_smile:

I would be perfectly happy if it didn’t ask to save projects containing only unaltered WAV and MP3 files. :smiley:

Maybe not a common case, but consider…

You launch Audacity and import 73 audio files.
You carefully arrange the files for your podcast / radio show / mashup / interview /…
You intend to save the project.
The phone rings and you have to go out briefly for something urgent.
You dash out, expecting it will only take a few minutes.
Hours later, you return. It’s now too late to continue working on the project, so you close it (assuming that it was already saved).
Audacity did not prompt you to save because none of the audio files imports had been modified.
Next day, no sign of your project. (You hadn’t saved it).

Although the above is obviously not common, there’s an infinite number of other examples that could be given.

The point being, that to avoid destroying your work without warning, Audacity must have clearly defined rules to cover every possible situation.
Currently, the “rules” are intended to be very simple - just one rule:
If the project has been changed, prompt to save, otherwise don’t prompt.

You don’t need to drag you mouse anywhere - on Macs the initial focus in the dialog is on the Cancel - so hitting Tab twice will shift focus to the No - then just hit the Space key and boom your project is closed without saving and with no mouse movement needed/

BTW it’s even simpler on Windows: the initial focus in the dialog is on the Yes - so Tab followed by Enter will close the project without saving


I think I posted once before about shutting my machine down quickly because I had to leave the house. When I got back much later the machine had halted the shutdown and the screen was stuck on “Save Project?”

I’m in the group that wants to make that a user option. Make the default Save and make it really hard to turn it off. If Failure to Save bites you, it’s your own fault.


You are of course, right; as always. :smiley:

Yes. :smiley:

Most other DAWs require that you name and save the project before doing anything else. That would resolve the problem of “I was only looking at the file” because then it would be obvious that you were actually working with a “project”.

How about a compromise user option (in Preferences) to choose whether the save on exit prompt defaults to Yes or No. You could then quit Audacity with:
Default = No: Ctrl + Q → Enter
Default = Yes (safer): Ctrl + Q → Tab → Tab → Enter

You don’t need to drag you mouse anywhere - on Macs the initial focus in the dialog is on the > Cancel > - so hitting > Tab > twice will shift focus to the > No > - then just hit the > Space > key and boom your project is closed without saving and with no mouse movement needed

Waxycylinder— Really? This doesn’t work for me. On all my Macs (and in fact most apps), the focus when I ask to close is on the Yes, not the Cancel . And, regardless, the only key that does anything is Enter which of course prompts me to save a project, which I have no intention of doing.
Is there no way to get a simple Cmd-D (or something) to shift the focus to No like you claim the tab key does?

The point being, that to avoid destroying your work without warning, Audacity must have clearly defined rules to cover every possible situation.

Steve, I do understand that. And we’ve all had a situation where we’re thankful such a “wait— you sure?” prompt exists in this and other apps. But as I said, I rarely open Audacity to save a project. I mainly use Audacity to make quick conversions of files-- say changing the sample rate, format or optimizing the audio. And many times I’m just checking to see if a client sent a file correctly before I import it into my DAW. Or listening to it to make sure it’s the intended file. And I can do many at a time like this, so I’d really just like Audacity to sit there and not care that I keep closing and opening new audio files.

Currently, the “rules” are intended to be very simple - just one rule:
If the project has been changed, prompt to save, otherwise don’t prompt.

All I do is double-click on an Audio file, it opens Audacity, I look at the file, no editing, no touching anything, press close and the prompt comes up. I would love at least a quick-key to get me out quickly. Or, better, a preference to consider simply opening a file and closing it not a “project change”.

Yepper really …

I just retested with 3.2.2 on my Macbook Pro running Monterey 12.5.1 and yes: Tab, Tab, Spacebar does indeed exit without saving the project.

I am really a Windows guy (who happens to have a Macbook for QA testing purposes) so I.m not really a Mac user. I find the Exit dialg GUI on Mac somewhat confusing:
1) So this is what I get when I exit Audacity

So the “Yes” is Blue background, but the Cancel has the blue border - so which is the focus ??

2) My first press of the Tab key moves the blue ring to the “Yes” key - which also remains blue

3) My second press of the Tab Key

So now the blue ring (which I assume is the focus even though the “Yes” remains blue) is round the “No” button
and then when I press Spacebar Audacity exits honoring the “No” and does not save the project.

BUT if I press Enter instead of spacebar - Audacity Exits and saves the project - despite the blue ring around the “No” button

So what do I take from this? My assumption, my inference, is that Mac has two different focuses one of which responds to Enter and the other responds to spacebar. Confusing or what?

4) Windows for comparison

This is so much more transparent and easier on Windows where the focus is clearly on the “Yes” button and a single Tab takes the focus to the “No” button and then the Enter/Return key closes the project without saving.


… creates a new project and imports the audio file.

Do you want to save the new project? In your case, No, so you click on “No” and Audacity quits.

Sorry but that seems totally reasonable to me. Most other apps that work with “projects” behave in the same way, so it seems that there’s consensus in “the industry” that that is how apps should behave when closing an unsaved project.

I doubt that I have anything more to add, other than it’s not my decision and I have no sway on design decisions.

Actually not entirely true in Apple’s case …

I’ve just been testing on my Macbook with Apple’s Pages and Numbers apps.
a) It appears that if I open an existing file in either of those apps and make changes and then close the app I do not get asked if I want to save the project but apple just goes ahead and saves the changes without giving me the option to abort/abandon those changes.
b) If I open a new file in either of those apps and create data and exit without saving - then I do get a Save/No/Cancel dialog.
So I would see that as Apple being a little slack there in use-case a).

In Contrast Microsoft can be quite strict about what makes a file “dirty”. If you

  1. open an existing spreadsheet (I have one for accented characters and special characters in Excel)
  2. select some data in one of the cells
  3. Press Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard
  4. Exit
    5, Observe: a Save/No/Cancel dialog - even though no changes have been made to the contents of the file.