Export Audio

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The Export Audio dialog (for export of a single audio file from the whole project) is accessed from File > Export > Export Audio.... When you use File > Export > Export Selected Audio... to export a single audio file from a selection, the Export Selected Audio dialog appears. Both these dialogs are identical and let you specify folder location, file name, format and encoding options for your exported file.

You can use File > Export > Export Multiple... to export multiple audio files (based on labels or multiple audio tracks) in one process.

Warning icon Note carefully that any offset (leading empty space in the track before the audio starts) is ignored and excluded from the export and is not rendered as silence as you might expect. Empty space between clips in the track will be rendered as silence in the export. For Export Selected Audio empty space between clips in the selection will be rendered as silence in the export.
Bulb icon The simple workaround if you want to preserve the offset as silence in the exported file for Export Audio is to insert a short section of silence right at the beginning of tracks that you require the offset for. When the Export is made Audacity will render the empty space between this silence and the audio as silence.

Export Audio or Export Selected Audio dialog

Export Audio dialog with Help button.png

In summary, there are five steps to follow when exporting.

  • Choose the folder to export to in Save in: then type the file name you want.
  • Select the type of audio file to export to.
  • Set the Format Options (if those are available for your selected format) if you want to change the size, quality or other encoding choices for that selected file format.
  • Press Save.
  • The Metadata Editor dialog will then appear (unless you have disabled it for the export step in the Import/Export Preferences). Edit Metadata lets you enter embedded information in the file such as artist, year or genre. Either leave the metadata blank or complete the fields you require, then press OK (not "Save...").

File name

Type the required file name. The correct file extension - preceded by a period (dot) - will be added automatically to the end of the file name, according to the format selected in the "Save as type" list (see below). For example, typing "08 Voodoo Chile" (without quotes) will produce a file "08 Voodoo Chile.wav". For M4A and WMA formats (for which the optional FFmpeg library is required), you can add alternative extensions as specified in "FFmpeg formats" below.

Any other extensions can be added after a file name as required, but Audacity will display a warning that this is not the normal extension for this file type, and that some applications might not play files with non-standard extensions.

Save as type

Clicking in the input box opens a dropdown menu enabling you to chose the file format you wish to export to:

Hover over each row in "Save as type:" in the image to see the tooltip and click in that row to learn more. Skip the image

Dropdown menu for selecting the required file format. Click to learn more.AIFF is a lossless format that can both be played on Mac and Windows computers, though it is far more likely to be selected by Mac users. AIFF 16-bit PCM is suitable whenever you want to burn your exported file to an audio CD. There are no options for this format. Click to learn more.WAV is a lossless format that can both be played on Windows or Mac computers. WAV 16-bit PCM is eminently suitable whenever you want to burn your exported file to an audio CD. There are no options for this format. Click to learn more.32-bit float WAV is a lossless format, a maximum quality "raw capture" file. 32-bit float resolution gives the highest quality of the three uncompressed choices, but takes twice the storage space on disk compared to 16-bit resolution. It will not play on many players or player apps. It is mostly useful as a backup archive of raw captured recordings or finished projects. There are no options for this format. Click to learn more.Other uncompressed files includes all the uncompressed audio formats that Audacity can export, including 4-bit (A)DPCM, 8-bit U-Law/A-Law, 24-bit, 32-bit and 64-bit options. Also GSM 6.10 WAV (mobile) which produces a mono WAV file encoded with the compressed, lossy GSM 6.10 codec as used in mobile telephones. This menu item defaults to WAV (Microsoft) signed 16-bit PCM on Windows and Linux and to AIFF (Apple/SGI) signed 16-bit PCM on Mac. Click to learn more.MP3 is a popular compressed, lossy format producing much smaller files than WAV or AIFF, at the expense of some loss of quality. You must download the optional LAME encoder to export to MP3. Click to learn more.Ogg Vorbis is the compressed, lossy Vorbis codec in an OGG container. Vorbis offers higher quality than MP3 for the same file size, and is useful for good quality small-sized mono files, but fewer applications can play the OGG format.  Click to learn more.FLAC is a compressed but lossless format, giving much larger file sizes than MP3 and OGG but only about half the size of WAV. Click to learn more.MP2 is a compressed, lossy format similar to MP3, producing slightly larger files than MP3 for the same quality.  Click to learn more.(external program) sends audio via the command-line to any executable binary application either for processing or for encoding as a file. This is a method to export using an alternative compressed or uncompressed encoder or to a format not otherwise supported by Audacity. Click to learn more.AAC: Advanced Audio Coding is a compressed, lossy format used in Apple applications, generally achieving slightly better quality than MP3 for the same file size. By default, the exported file will be given an "m4a" extension. Optional permitted extensions: .mp4, .m4r (ringtone) and .3gp (mobile).  Click to learn more.AC3 is the common name used for the compressed, lossy format used in Dolby Digital. Click to learn more.AMR: Adaptive Multi-Rate codec is a patented compression scheme optimized for speech, but also used for mobile telephone ringtones. The wide band variant uses higher bandwidth for higher quality. Click to learn more.WMA: Windows Media Audio v2 is a compressed, lossy format developed by Microsoft. Optional permitted extensions: .asf or .wmv.  Click to learn more.Custom FFmpeg Export allows interface-based export of some additional compressed or uncompressed formats not listed above, and options for exporting formats containing alternative codecs (for example, WAV format containing MP3 or OGG format containing FLAC). Note: not all formats and codecs are compatible, and some exports might result in zero-byte or invalid files if FFmpeg does not support the combination chosen. Click to learn more.File types for Export W10.png
Click for details
Click on the image to learn more


Format Options

Notice with the image at the top of this page, for the default export to WAV format there are no export options. However some formats do offer options for making settings like quality or encoding.

Export options vary from one audio format to another:

Exporting multiple tracks as a single file

If you use Export Audio or Export Selected Audio to export multiple tracks as a mono or stereo mixdown, or as a multi-channel audio file by enabling Advanced Mixing Options.

Warning icon Please be aware that muted tracks are not exported.

Cancelling the export process

You may abort the export process without writing the file by pressing Cancel in the Export Audio / Export Selected Audio dialog, or in the Advanced Mixing Options or Metadata Editor dialogs (if those dialogs appear). If you Cancel in any dialog, any changes you made to the "Save in:" directory or file type will not be preserved for next time you export.

Export progress dialog

Once you have clicked the Save button in the export dialog and OK in Edit Metadata, Audacity will display a dialog displaying progress of writing the exported file:

Export Audio progress dialog partial completion.png

The colored bar is a visual indicator of how much of the file has been written. The Elapsed Time and Remaining Time are estimates and may change as the export progresses.

Stop and Cancel

Clicking the:

  • Stop button will halt the export where it is now, leaving the partially exported file in place,
  • Cancel button will abort the export leaving no exported audio file.