Stop "Save changes before closing"? prompt.

I am currently modifying 100 sound files and this feature is making things inefficient. Any way to remove this? Didn’t find it in options or must to have missed it.

You didn’t miss it and there’s no way to get rid of it. Audacity’s natural close is to Save a Project. If you don’t, Audacity gets upset.

Did you notice Audacity will not save a sound file? That’s part of the same idea. To get a sound file you have to Export one from the Audacity environment.


Most other apps do this when you try to exit with unsaved changes:

  1. Microsoft: Excel, Word, Project etc.
  2. Apple apps
  3. Adobe photoshop
  4. even my lowly Suunto Dive Manager app
  5. etc etc

It’s done as “safety -first” to help users avoid losing data - and thus, this is not likely to ever change in Audacity.


Although the “safety-first” approach can be a lifesaver, I totally understand how it can be an annoyance for some workflows.

The open source image editor “Gimp” frequently faces the same criticism.
In Gimp, the “project format” is XFC, and the “export formats” include JPG, PNG, GIF, and many other image formats.
This is one explanation for why they do it (taken from their “issues” page)

The reason that the native xcf format is treated differently in the UI is that it is different functionally. xcf is the only format that accurately records the full internal state of the image, all other formats have the potential to loose data eg. layers get flattened, masks applied. This is why there’s a distinct separation between saving and exporting. Any design choice that increases the risk of user data loss is unlikely to be looked upon favourably.

Having said that, there are workaround to improve workflow, and there has even been talk of developing a “direct edit mode” that bypasses saving projects (though it has not yet progressed beyond initial discussion).

If you are applying the same modifications to each of the files, it may be possible to “batch process” with a Macro. See:

If you are individually modifying the files one at a time, a workaround is to either:

  1. Import a file to be modified
  2. Make the modification
  3. Export
  4. “Undo” (Ctrl + Z) back to an empty project
  5. back to step 1 and repeat.


  1. Import a file to be modified
  2. Make the modification
  3. Export
  4. Delete the track
  5. back to step 1 and repeat.

    The advantage of the second method is that it requires less key presses.
    The disadvantage of the second method is that the Undo history is never removed, so the “temporary” (Undo) data keeps increasing, which can eventually cause Audacity to slow down, and ultimately fill the hard drive.

I regularly use the second method when working with a lot of small files.

  1. Adobe photoshop

I would kill to have Audacity work like Photoshop.

My Photoshop allows me to Save many different picture formats including the Photoshop native formats.

Screen Shot 2021-07-07 at 06.31.13.png
If I save anything, Photoshop assumes we’re done and closes with no nagging.

This Photoshop does have Export and is reserved for non picture work.

Screen Shot 2021-07-07 at 06.30.35.png
Audacity is my only app that tries to force me to use a native Project format, particularly ironic given the brittle nature of Projects.


Missed one.

Photoshop does have error capture. If I fail to save anything, it posts a warning.

Screen Shot 2021-07-07 at 08.03.34.png
So it’s settled then. We’ll make Audacity work like Photoshop.


I do sympathize with your POV Koz - but it does beg a few questions.

So the user works on an imported file or a recording and then exports without Saving a project:

a) what happens if the user only exports only part of the project, selected tacks or selected time region,

b) what happens if the user exports in a compressed format say 192 MP3 and not WAV or AIFF,

c) if they do export as WAV should it be 16-bit or 32-bit float,

d) what if the project also contains MIDI tracks ?

Do any of those keep the (unsaved) project “dirty” ?

Just some idle thoughts …


excellent info, again I am working from the scripting side. I think would be great idea if the “Exit:” command had a parameter like “Exit: Force=true” so it doesn’t prompt for unsaved activity. Or maybe “Exit2:” just for scripting

I like that idea, though it can take a very long time for a feature request to be implemented (if ever), so perhaps worth considering alternatives.

If you are running scripting commands from a language that can delete files, then a fairly simple workaround comes to mind:

This first part could be made into a macro so that you can call it when required:

  1. Select All
  2. Remove Tracks (project is now empty)
  3. Select 1 second (any small amount will do - we don’t want to be using a lot of disk space)
  4. Generate silence (or generate anything else - this is just to avoid being prompted about saving an empty project)
  5. SaveProject2: (save it somewhere convenient)
  6. Exit:

Then from your scripting language, delete the AUP3 file created in step 5.

I’ve proposed this on GitHub:

Or maybe “Exit2:” just for scripting

Or maybe an Expert Mode where normal users can make nagging go away. I think that would be an insanely popular option.

Past the reluctance of Audacity to save a sound file (and forcing new users to use brittle Projects) it’s the assumption that it knows my job better than I do—to include taking over my machine. Try to shut down a machine while that message is displayed.

This smacks of an annoying process foisted on all users forever because of one user error in the beginning days.


If we had an “Exit2:” scripting command, then experts could use it to make the nagging go away. (any Audacity expert should be able to work out how to do that without publishing instructions that may get non-experts into trouble :wink:)

I disagree. As waxcylinder wrote, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Project, many Apple apps, Adobe photoshop, and “even my lowly Suunto Dive Manager app” consider it sensible to prompt users to save before closing the app. I could add dozens of other apps to that list to demonstrate that it is considered “best practice” to prompt users if they have unsaved changes.

So all we need to do for conformance with other programs is make Audacity, the sound editor, save a sound file.

Piece o’ cake.


After my recent dive trip I’ve been doing a lot of work with Adobe Lightroom (I use the online version normally).

In order to create an out-put image I have to use File > Export

In order to get images in for editing I need to use File > Add Photos

There is no File>Open and certainly no File>Save either (Adobe saves the images and my edits automagically in the “cloud” space that comes as part of my Lightroom monthy/annual subscription).

And I just looked at my copy of Lightroom Classic (the offline app) - that uses File>Import… and File>Export to get images in and out - it too seems to have an internal storage space, presumably somewhere on my PC, where LT native internal format of WIP is invisibly, automagically “saved”,


Steve! Just what I was looking for. I found that to get this to work i needed a “NewMonoTrack” in there, but this may be because Audacity 3.1.3 is a little different?

SaveProject2:AddToHistory="0" Filename="name.aup3"

The batch file to delete aup3 file and load Audacity

REM AudacityExit.bat 6:56 PM 02/01/2022
set pause=PAUSE
:: Remove a dummy project file (if it exists)
del "T:\Pers\Audio Books\_LibriVox\Henry Lawson\Short Stories in Prose and Verse\name.aup3"
:: Invoke a local copy of Audacity.
:: Remove a dummy project file (if it exists)
del "T:\Pers\Audio Books\_LibriVox\Henry Lawson\Short Stories in Prose and Verse\name.aup3"
REM end of AudacityExit.bat

I ran the batch file repeatedly to check that I was indeed removing the AUP3, otherwise I would get a “corrupted project file from previous session” type of message the next time I loaded Audacity.

del "T:\Pers\Audio Books\_LibriVox\Henry Lawson\Short Stories in Prose and Verse\name.aup3"

The path above shows my operating folder; I run Audacity 3.1.3 and the BATch file from the command prompt set to that path.

del "T:\Appl\Audacity\audacity-win-3.1.3-64bit\audacity-win-3.1.3-64bit\name.aup3"

Then I found that I should have used this path to delete the “name.aup3”.

And now (tears out hair) Audacity seems to favour one path or the other on a whim!
In my batch file I was deleting just the name.aup3 file, and about 75% of the time that seems to work. Then The Audacity macro protests that the file exists and the project can’t be saved there at all.
Here is the relevant section of my Audacity macro.

I can work around this by writing a small “delete file and check to see that it is deleted” BATch file and call it both before and after invoking Audacity.exe; three calls - one each for the “aup3”, “shm” and “wal” files.

I seek conformation that I am doing the right thing, and not missing something here.
I run the Assemble BATch file and then the Assemble macro in a mechanical way for about 20 triplets of files, absorbing 20x3 FLAC files and exporting 20 MP3 product files, a process which I will automate tomorrow. I don’t think I am doing anything else between calls. The process ought to be mind-numbingly boring!

Thanks for any tips.