Directories Preferences

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Accessed by: Edit > Preferences > Directories    (on a Mac Audacity > Preferences > Directories )
Devices PreferencesPlayback PreferencesRecording PreferencesMIDI Devices PreferencesQuality PreferencesInterface PreferencesTracks PreferencesTracks Behaviors PreferencesSpectrograms PreferencesImport/Export PreferencesExtended Import PreferencesLibraries PreferencesDirectories PreferencesWarnings PreferencesEffects PreferencesKeyboard PreferencesMouse PreferencesModules PreferencesClick on this in Audacity to get helpPreferences Directories.png
Click for details
Click in the left column for other preferences
Directories Preferences dialog showing the default temporary session
data location on Windows.

Default directories

This enables you to specify the directories (folders) to be used for each of the Audacity actions:

  • Open
  • Save
  • Import
  • Export
  • Macro output

If you set a default folder for any of those actions Audacity will always offer that folder location when you invoke that action.

If a particular action's default folder is left blank (default setting) then Audacity will offer the last-used location for that action.

If you leave the entry for Macro output blank then Audacity will default to creating a folder called "macro-output" in:

  • Windows: C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Audacity
  • Mac: /Users/<your username>/Documents
  • Linux: /home/<your username>/Documents
Note carefully that this diverges from previous behavior with 3.0.0 and earlier where a "macro-output" directory was created/used in the same directory as the files to be processed by the Macro.

We believe that a single rationalized folder for all Macro output from processing files with Macros is a more sensible approach.

The default setting is for all to be blank.

Bulb icon Make sure the folders are located on a fast (local) disk drive with plenty of free space. Avoid using network drives as these are likely be too slow for reliable recording.

Temporary files directory

  • Location: Sets the location of Audacity's temporary directory for session data. This is used whenever there is audio data that has never been saved as an Audacity project.

    To change the location of the temporary directory, press Choose..., select the directory you require and click OK. Audacity will then create a session workfile sub-directory in the directory you selected. Alternatively type the path required for the temporary directory into "Location" and Audacity will use that exact path, creating the new directory if needed.

    Exit and restart Audacity for changes to the temporary directory to take effect.

    Make sure the temporary directory is located on a fast (local) disk drive with plenty of free space. Avoid using network drives as these may be too slow for reliable recording. A RAM drive will always be quicker than a hard or solid state drive for recording and editing, but unless the RAM contents are saved to a physical drive the data will be lost when the computer powers down.

Default location of Temporary files directory:
  • Windows: C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Local\Audacity\SessionData
  • macOS: /Users/<your username>/Library/Application Support/SessionData
  • GNU/Linux: /var/tmp/audacity-<your username>
Bulb icon If your drive does not have sufficient space, you can reduce the space taken by temporary data by going to the Quality tab of Preferences and reducing the default sample format and sample rate. Reducing the sample rate will noticeably reduce higher frequencies, so is only recommended for speech data.
Warning icon It is NOT advisable to set your temporary files directory to be on an external USB stick/disk as it is unlikely to be fast enough for satisfactory recording or editing.
Warning icon You cannot use a FAT or FAT32 formatted device as the location for the temporary files directory.