save project is for an audacity project not an audio file

When I click on"save project as" I get the message above. I have never seen this message before. This has started today. Has there been an auto upgrade? Have I altered some parameter without realising? I run 2.1.1.

The full warning message reads:

“Save Project” is for an Audacity project, not an audio file.
For an audio file that will open in other apps, use “Export”

I have tried this but I seem to go round in circles by being told I cannot do this because it is a “wav” file.

Can anyone shed some light on this please?

Thank you.

The current version of Audacity is 2.3.0. Audacity does not auto-upgrade, so you have to manually download the new version and install it over the top of your previous version. You can get the current version via the Audacity website: Audacity ® | Download for Windows

An “Audacity Project” is a format that is unique to Audacity. It supports multiple tracks, envelopes, labels and other Audacity features, but it is NOT an “audio file”. There are two parts to an Audacity project; the “project file” that has a file extension “.aup”, and a folder that has “_data” at the end of the name. Both parts are essential. The _data folder contains the audio data, and the .aup file tells Audacity what to do with that data. The “Save” command saves an “Audacity Project”.

If you want to create a normal audio file (such as a WAV or MP3 file) you need to use one of the “File menu > Export” commands.

More information for the current version of Audacity can be found in the manual: File Menu - Audacity Manual

You did not shed light on this problem. I’ve had it too. The audacity project itself won’t save as a new project. It calls the full project a wave file and refuses to save. Installing the latest version doesn’t fix it.

“If you want to create a normal audio file”

That isn’t what we are trying to do. We are trying to save a audacity project under a new file name and the program is glitched.

The full warning message reads:

“Save Project” is for an Audacity project, not an audio file.
For an audio file that will open in other apps, use “Export”

If you click OK you should be able to save the project. And in the current version, there is a check-box that says, “Don’t show this warning again”.

This is not an error message. It is just informing you that “Save Project” is for Audacity project, not for an audio file.

I think geographic splitting should work. Audacity has had troubles with Save As in the recent past.

You can copy the current project, AUP file and _DATA folder, to another isolated drive (thumb drive?), eject the drive, put it in your pocket, and then Save normally. That should give you two identically named projects with different shows. Old and New. You can keep track of who’s who by the date and time stamps. Keep good records.

You are warned, if you didn’t know already, that you may not change the file and folder names of projects outside of Audacity.

It sounds like you may have a damaged Audacity. Once you have everything saved and isolated, blow the program away and update to 2.4.2.

There is a new Audacity under development that doesn’t have these split component problems.


I am an audiobook producer. I just upgraded my desktop, and I’m running Windows 11 and downloaded the latest Audacity, version 3.0.3.

Before today, I recorded each chapter in an audiobook and saved it as an .aup file. Any changes I made to the file–added material, corrections, whatever–when I was finished, I just hit save and it saved it as the same aup file. If I wanted to make an alternate version, I hit “save as” and gave it another name, but it was still an aup file. I did all my work in aup files, including mastering. The aup file was the official version of record.

When I was done working on that chapter, I exported it to the publisher either as an MP3 or a WAV for final review. If there were changes, I re-opened the original aup file, fixed the issue, then exported it back to the publisher in whatever final form they required, mostly MP3 or WAV.

I’ve been doing it this way for almost ten years.

But apparently things have changed. Now Audacity will not let me save back to aup. It wants me to export it. Does this mean that I have to export a revised aup to a new folder of WAVs. I habitually save after I make any change. If I have six or eight changes in an aup, does this mean I must export six or eight times, just to be safe? How would you suggest I manage my production under the new protocols so that I maintain production efficiency and file security? My first impression is that the changes involve creating new layers, with numerous extra steps.

Are you in the middle of a book and do you still have the old system?

I tried to recreate your process and I couldn’t do it, but for a different reason. We are investigating.

I expect your system to work, although my personal preference is to Export the first pass raw chapter as WAV—mistakes and all—before I do anything to it. That’s the protection backup. You have the first Project doing that, but Projects are more brittle and prone to damage than WAV files.

We are about to experience time shifts. I’m in Los Angeles and many of the senior forum elves are in Britain, 8 hours that way (pointing to the right).


Koz –

Thanks for your response.

I must shamefacedly admit that I left out a step, which is how I record. I lay down my originals in a tiny booth, using an iPad with Twisted Wave, and reading the document from the same iPad by switching screens. When I finish a chapter, I send it as a WAV to Dropbox, then download from Dropbox to my Windows desktop, where I edit in Audacity. That original unedited laydown WAV is saved untouched, fulfilling the function you recommend. More than once, I have used that original WAV to locate a word or a phrase that I clumsily edited out while working in Audacity.

– Milton Bagby

I am new to using audacity, and I had the same problem. Thanks, it was shared on this forum. I’ll try it out

I can confirm that under Windows 11, Audacity 3.2.2 will not save a file as a project. It shows an error message that audio files must be exported. I did not have this problem before, although I used Windows 10 previously.

Please see this post: Cannot Save Project - at all, even a blank [SOLVED] - #2 by DVDdoug