Saving .aup files

I’m new to this and it’s a bit overwhelming, but perhaps someone can help me with a answer to a simple question:

I need to do a lot of editing on my audio files. It can take several days to put a podcast together. So, how do I save my work in order to come back to it the next day? Today I worked on a file for 6 hours. I put in different tracks and added sound effects. Then I saved the project as an .aup file. There were two parts - a Windows folder and an Audacity file. However, later when I tried to open them it’s no go - It says " Couldn’t find project data folder". Then it says “Could not load file”.

Anyone got any suggestions? How do you peope save such files? What’s the best way? The .aup seems to act in funny ways. If I save it as a wav it mixes the files into one and I cannot separate the bits if I need to when I come back to it.

I looked through the FAQ but didn’t find and answer. I realize I may be overlooking something basisc here but it’s been one of those days! I’d appreciate any help as I’m under serious pressure to get this one.


There is an overview of Audacity projects here:

Save the project.
Note that projects save the current state of the project - the Undo History is not saved.

Yes that’s right, and both parts need each other.
Avoid renaming either the file or the folder.
When naming the project (when you Save it the first time), avoid punctuation marks or any “special” characters in the name - To be safe, stick to letters, numbers, space, underscore (_) and hyphen (-)
Be very careful if you need to move the project (read the article above first). The .AUP file (Audacity project file) and the data folder need to be able to find each other.

Note that if you import WAV files (or other uncompressed files) using the “faster” method, the Audacity project may still require those files after it is saved. See here about “project dependencies”:

I get the sense that you are really close to having this all correct but missing some small detail (perhaps the bit about dependencies). Hopefully this information will fill in the missing piece, but give a shout if you still have problems.

By the way, check that you are using the current version of Audacity (2.0.3). You can check the version in “Help > About Audacity”. The current version is available here:

the Undo History is not saved.

That’s important. You can change your mind and UNDO any of your actions as long as you never close Audacity. Even if you save a Project, UNDO is not saved.

For long, complex projects we recommend that you save different projects during the course of the show production.

20130321-1600 that would be a Project I would save right now. It’s 4PM Pacific time. The next save would be a later time and a different filename.

You can also Export a WAV sound file for backups. That’s a perfect quality sound file (do not use MP3) that you can use if the rest of your show goes into the trash. It doesn’t retain cursor positions, sizes of the menus or other Audacity configuration, but if you worked on the show for 6 hours and the power goes off that’s a lot better than a blank screen.

When I do a high-end recording, I export two different WAV files of the show and a Project, and then copy one WAV to portable media.


Thanks so much for this help, both of you. I found the problem and recovered the lost file. For the record, here’s what I did wrong: I saved the recording throughout thue day but at one point but I changed the name of the file to include the additions I had made. At that point the .aup had a different title - I just added a “1” - than the data file. When I took that away the “1” the file recovered and everything was there. I’m just trying to figure out if changing .aup and data file at the same time with the same changes will work. Or dies it mean you should never change the name of the files once you choose?

In the meantime, you guys’s help was really appreciated. Thanks so much.

The easy and safe way to change the name of a project is to use “File > Save Project As” and save the project with the new file name. This will make a new copy of the AUP file and a new copy of the _data folder.