Set Starting Track Number for Export

I have V 2.0.5 on WinXP SP3 installed from .exe

I have found a couple fairly-old posts related to setting the starting track number for export.
The replies are all workarounds so the issue has been around for quite some time.

However, it seems to me it should be a built-in export option.

I have seen some words to the effect that it currently sets track numbers based on labels.
However, it does not appear to literally set them based on label names (unless I am missing something).
I have tried prefixing label names with two-digit numbers, for example.
Rather, it appears to always just assign them in ascending sequential order beginning with one.

There are probably many different ways of supporting a starting number.
Perhaps the most central would be on the Metadata Editor screen which, I think, is used for all exports?
Not to confuse it with the current ID3 Track number field although perhaps that could be overloaded.

OR… really use number prefixes on label names… OR?

What is it exactly that you want to do, in as much detail as possible?

Is this about Export Multiple, exporting audio from all the labels, but setting the “Track Number” metadata tag so that the “Track Number” of the first exported file is not “1” and the “Track Number” of the second exported file is not “2”? You say “not to be confused with ID3”, but if you do want what I described, you will have to turn on the Import / Export Preference to show the Metadata Editor before the export step, and type in the Track Number you want for each track at export time.

Setting a starting ID3 Track Number which would then increment automatically from that number in each exported file would be a feature request. Please advise if you want to vote for that.

If you have one song with a label “Andante” and a second song with a label “Moonglow”, then you can prefix the file names with a number starting at 01 by choosing “Numbering before Label/Track Name” in Metadata Editor. You then export “01-Andante.MP3” and “02-Moonglow.MP3”.

If you want to start with another number than 01, you have to type each label manually then choose “Using Label/Track Name”. As always, see .

In case you meant choosing the label to start exporting from, drag-select each region you want to export, label each region, then put the labels for the audio you don’t want to export in a second label track underneath the label track you want to export from.


The basic requirement came from simple laziness on my part.

I had two separate projects each containing one side of a cassette tape recording.
Each project had on the order of 30 labeled segments.
The label names had the intended 2-digit track numbers for exporting both to one MP3 album.
So, project one had labels like 01 xx thru 30 xx and the other had labels like 31 xx thru 55 xx.

Rather than take the time to combine them, I just wanted to export-multiple the first one with auto-track-numbering starting at 1
and export the second one with auto-track-numbering starting at 31.
I apparently did not understand that I should have been able to get what I wanted by selecting the “Numbering before label” option for exporting since I had taken the time to prefix the labels with 2-digit track numbers.
I originally wanted the track-number label prefixes for OS file sorting reasons as much as anything at the time.

It sounds like the situation where I would still want the ability to set the starting track number for export multiple would be when I did not want 2-digit track number prefixes for my labels. I understand I should always be able to just combine everything into one project for single export-multiple operation.

I don’t think your suggestion of typing the desired track number for each consecutive track during export multiple would work very well though.
You responded to an earlier post of mine requesting automatic population of album and title that was not happening when the metadata editor is set to come up for each track. So, anyone going that route would have to type all that label stuff too for each track.

Thanks for your insight and suggestions. I am a newbie and, when under time pressure to get something done, it can be hard to find and/or understand how things work or are intended to work. In general, I think the program documentation is very good. And, I do try to find what I think I need there first.

I will look some more into your last suggestion about using multiple label tracks for certain situations. I had an earlier post about not being able to export just one selected track. Maybe I did not understand that it was the top-most label track that was controlling everything.

Given you had prefixed the labels with two-digit numbers already, then if you wanted exactly what you had typed, just choose “Using Label/Track Name”.

If you choose numbering before, Audacity adds consecutive numbers before whatever your label text is - even if that label text already starts with or contains a number. The added numbering starts from “00-” if you chose “Include audio before first label”, or from “01-” if you did not. If you choose numbering after, Audacity ignores the label text completely and adds consecutive numbers after whatever you enter as the “File name prefix”. The numbering starts from “00-” or “01-” (as above).

What you can’t currently do is have a second label track for the second side, export multiple the first side using the first label track, remove the first track, move the second label track to be uppermost then tell Audacity to add consecutive numbers before the label text or after the "file name “prefix” where the numbers start at “31”. That’s a reasonable feature request though.

If your labels are text without numbers, what would you want numbering to do, bearing in mind my explanation above?


You may need to clear up some of my misunderstandings.

Track numbers are what players use to determine the desired order for sequential play, right? Gotta have for books and other order-dependent tracks.

I’ve always thought the main reason we prefixed file names with their associated track numbers was so file-system browsers like Windows Explorer would, by default, also display them in track order. Are there any other reasons? Do players sometimes use the title or file name text to control sequential play order?

The situation I was thinking of is where you want the label names to be just descriptive text (to also become file names) but you want the tracks numbered in ascending order from an arbitrary starting number. Maybe, in reality, no one really wants that.

A lot of times what’s missing from product documentation is what I think of as background or “big picture” or best practices. In other words, what’s generally considered the conventional way of, in this case, preparing and packaging the end product and (most important) why?

Lots of times I think I know what I want to do and why only to find out I didn’t know what I didn’t know.


Yes they might, if the file name or title text does not contain any numbers. CD burners would add consecutive numbers to the CD tracks based on the ordering you chose in the burning program.

As I said, that’s a reasonable feature request. Do you want to vote for that? If we implemented it, then there would probably be a checkbox that applied to both “Numbering before” and “Numbering after” where you would enter an arbitrary number from which consecutive numbering started.

If this was implemented you would not add the numbers into the labels as you already had. If you typed “31” in the checkbox and the first label of the second side said “Lullaby” then the file exported would be “31-Lullaby.wav” or whatever audio format it was.

If you had already typed “31-Lullaby” in the label name then you would not choose “Numbering before” because it would export “31-31-Lullaby.wav”.

It might be thought of as verbiage in the Export Multiple page, but could be worth a mention on Splitting a recording into separate tracks .

If you wanted to number tracks, the most common numbering would start from 01. Audacity already provides for that if you follow the recommendation on Basic Recording, Editing and Exporting to use the Pause button between sides, so as to keep the recording on one Audacity track.


Yes, I vote for adding the starting-number boxes.

I did see the suggestion about using the pause between sides… WAY after when I needed to know.
See, I only read enough to get the tapes recorded one side at a time before worrying about figuring out how I even wanted to edit them or how much or how I wanted to export them. I had no clue yet that it mattered.

Typical learning user problem I guess.

OK, thanks your vote will be added in due course.

That depends where you start reading. If you started at Tutorial - Copying tapes, LPs or MiniDiscs to CD you should have seen the recommendation about Pause.