Two instances of

I want to use Audacity to perform unattended recordings using Automator/Apple Script. I know that each time Audacity opens, it recalls the last used configuration.
Is there a means to effectively create two instances of the Audacity application, i.e. and, saving them at the root of the Application folder, each with their own specific configuration?
Configuration parameters that would differ between the two instances might be sampling and bit rates, audio host, recording device and project path destination.

Audacity 2.1.2
Mac OS X 10.11.6


Each computer user account has its own configuration. If you set up a new user account, Audacity will create configuration files for that account when you run Audacity in that account.

If you want two independent configurations at the same time, then you either need two computers, or a “virtual machine”, or a computer system that allows multiple users to be logged in at the same time.

Thanks Steve.
Very helpful.
A few follow ups:

  • Is the Audacity user config file editable using a text/xml editor? If so what is the path to it?
    Is Audacity open source? If so, do you know if would be possible to direct Audacity to read either “user_config1” or “user_config2” based on a separate startup script?


Yes it is editable but beware of using TextEdit on recent macOS or you could break the file. Use a plain text editor like TextWrangler or Brackets.

The file is in the user’s Library folder ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/audacity.cfg.


Have you tried Audacity’s “Portable Settings” feature? If you add a “Portable Settings” folder (no quotes in the name) where is, that “Portable Settings” folder will have its own audacity.cfg file (just run Audacity to create the file). Audacity will then look at that audacity.cfg file for its settings.

When you want to use the settings in ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/audacity.cfg, have Automator rename the “Portable Settings” folder to something else before launching Audacity.


If you want to switch between two or more configurations frequently, you could have multiple instances of Audacity, each in separate folders and each with their own “Portable Settings”.

Thanks to you both!
Very helpful information.
This will let me get to the next step in this project.

Best Regards!