Macro Manager

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Macro Manager allows you to edit, remove or rename existing Macros or add a new Macro and to apply Macros to you project or a set of files. Any Audacity, LADSPA, LV2, Nyquist, VST or Audio Unit (Mac) effect shown in the Effect Menu can be added to a Macro. You can also add plugins in any format that are shown in the Generate or Analyze Menus (including Vamp analysis effects), the built-in Find Clipping analyzer and a number of export commands.

Macros may be applied to either the entirety of the current project (or a Selection within it) or to a selection of files using the Tools > Apply Macro command.

It is possible to use Noise Reduction in Macros but see Noise Reduction Tips for how the Noise Profile is captured.

Tip When applying a macro to files it is recommended not to process more than 500 files at a time.
Tip The full list of all Macro commands, with descriptions, is available at Scripting Reference.


  1. Accessing Macros
  2. Select a Macro
  3. Edit Steps in the Macro
  4. Macro output
  5. The buttons
  6. Macros Examples
  7. Error: Batch command not recognized
Tip It is strongly recommended that you set parameters for the commands that you use in a Macro.

Otherwise Audacity will use the last-used parameter setting(s) when you ran the effect(s) manually.

Also note carefully that settings used in Macros will not affect or change the last-used parameter settings for any effect when next run manually.

Basically to paraphrase: "What happens in Macros stays in Macros".

Accessing Macros

Accessed by:
Manage Macros 3-0-1.png

For help with what the Macro effects do and how to set their parameters, see Effect Menu

Select Macro

Select Macro contains a list of already defined Macros. You can define the name of a new Macro and select which Macro is active.

The left hand box in the dialog (labeled Select Macro) contains a list of already defined Macros. Until you add a new Macro, it only has built-in "MP3 Conversion" and "Fade Ends" Macros.

Use left-click (or use the Up or Down keyboard arrows) to select the Macro you want to work on

  • New: Create and add a new Macro to the list.
  • Remove: Remove the selected Macro from the list - grayed out when the Macros that ship as part of Audacity are selected.
  • Rename: Rename the selected Macro - grayed out when the Macros that ship as part of Audacity are selected.
  • Restore: Resets any Audacity provided Macro to its default settings - grayed out when user-provided Macros are selected.
  • Import: Imports a Macro TXT file.
  • Export: Exports the selected Macro to a TXT file.

Edit Steps in the Macro

Edit Steps lists the sequence of commands in order of first to last (End) for the Macro selected in the "Select Macros" box to left.

  • The Macro can include a number of common Audacity functions and effects to be executed in any order you specify.
  • To create an audio file as part of the Macro process you must include an "Export" command (such as Export as WAV).
    • The Export command will use the settings you used that last time you used the same command from the File > Export Audio menu command, or default settings if you have never used that command from the menu.
  • In many cases the parameters for each command in the Macro can be specified within the Manage Macros dialog.

You can:

  • Add or remove commands for the selected Macro
  • Change the order in which the commands execute in the Macro
  • Edit the parameters for some effects in the Macro


  • Insert: Insert a new command into the list
  • Edit: Edit the parameters of the currently selected command
  • Delete: Delete the currently selected command in the list
  • Move Up: Move the currently selected command up in the list
  • Move Down: Move the currently selected command down in the list
  • Save: Saves changes, this button is only active when you have made edits to a Macro.

Editing an existing command

To edit an existing command double-click it, or use the Up or Down keyboard arrow to select it then press Space. The parameter settings dialog for that command will be displayed.

Inserting a new command

A few commands are intentionally omitted from the Macro Manager (such as "Close:") because they are unsuitable for use in Macros.

To insert a new command in a Macro, left-click or use the Up or Down keyboard arrow to select an existing command. The new command to be inserted will be placed above this selected command. Then press Insert.

  • The "Select Command" dialog appears, listing all the available commands. Click on a command from the list to insert it in the "Command" box, as shown in the image below.
  • Alternatively, use the Up, Down, Left or Right keyboard arrow to select the command.
Tip After clicking on any of the command entries you can type the first letter or first few letters of the command you want to select.
Macros Select Command 3-0-0.png
The full list of all commands, with descriptions, is available at Scripting Reference.
  • Some 'scriptable' commands are particularly useful for Macros. See these pages for details:
  • If the command has editable parameters, the Edit Parameters button will be active. Clicking this button will bring up the dialog box for the effect where you can set the parameters as if you were applying the standalone effect.
  • If you have previously created user presets for an effect you can use the Use Preset to select one for use with that effect in the Macro.
  • Choose OK in the effect dialog to accept the parameters you entered, or Cancel to revert to the default parameters.
  • Choose OK in the "Select Command" dialog to add the command to the Macro.

Macro Command Parameters

Tip It is strongly recommended that you set parameters for the commands that you use in a Macro.

Otherwise Audacity will use the last-used parameter setting(s) when you ran the effect(s) manually.

Also note carefully that settings used in Macros will not affect or change the last-used parameter settings for any effect when next run manually.

Set Track Status 2.png

Commands that call Effects, Generators, Analyzers or Tools, use the same familiar graphical interface (GUI) as appears when they are used from the normal top level menus.

Many of the other commands provide a simple GUI comprised of checkboxes and text entry boxes. Typical examples can be seen in the Scriptables I and Scriptables II menus.

This example shows the "Set Track Status" command.

The tick boxes on the left determines whether a feature should be used. When not selected, that feature does nothing.
The second tick box determines whether the feature is set to "on" or "off".

This shows:

  1. The track name will not be changed
  2. Track selectedness will be set to "not selected"
  3. Track focus will be set to "focused"

Selections in Macros applied to Project

Macros will work on pre-existing Selections you make in your project prior to running the Macro.

But the selection can be over-ridden by your Macro itself as there are Macro commands available to effect selections in the audio.

  • In particular All(Select All) will select the entire project
  • Select which is parameterizable (see the provided Fade Ends Macro for an example where the first and last one seconds of the audio are selected for the fades).
Tip If you want to select all tracks, maintaining your current time selection, use "Select: First=0 Last=100". It will not waste time twiddling its thumbs on the tracks that are not there.

Selections in Macros applied to Files

When applying a Macro to files there is no pre-existing Selection so you will need to create a selection in the Macro if your Macro requires audio to be selected to act on (and most Macros do).

Commands for Exporting audio files

  • There are four basic Macro export commands available: Export as WAV, Export as MP3, Export as FLAC and Export as Ogg.
    • See Apply Macro for details of naming and location of exported files.
Advice Parameters for export formats cannot be set in "Manage Macros". To configure export parameters for the Macro, click File > Export Audio to access the Export Audio Dialog, click Options, set the parameters, press OK then Cancel the export. An audio track must be on screen in order to open the Export Audio Dialog.

Special Export command

  • Export2: there is also a special Export command Export2 which enables you to export to a specific target file and format. When using Export2 you have to give the full file name (including path and file name extension).

    Note carefully that the file name is not dynamically changeable when running the Macro, once set in the Export2 parameters, so you may wish to create several Macros the Export2 each targeting different file locations, names and file type.


"C:\Users\<username>\Desktop\my file.flac" (this works)

Not: C:\Users\<username>\Desktop\my file.flac (the file name is not quoted)

Not: "my file.flac" (no path given)

Not: "C:\Users\<username>\Desktop\myfile" (no file extension)

The quote marks around the file pathing are supplied by Audacity once the Export2 command has been edited in setting up or editing the Macro

When entering the pathing data in the edit parameters dialog for the command you do not put the quote marks for example: C:\Users\<username>\Desktop\my file.flac

Comments in Macros

Comments be added to Macros to enable you to document what is happening in the Macro.

Use the "Comment" command in the Macros command to set and edit its parameters to type the text of your comment.

Macros comments.png

Macro output

If your Macro has an Export command the location for any exported audio files is specified in Directories Preferences.

If you set a default folder for Macro output Audacity will create a folder called "macro-output" in that folder and that will be used for exports from Macros.

If you leave the entry for Macro output blank (default setting) 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
When running a Macro on a project, If the project has not been saved and is un-named, the normal Export Audio dialog will appear enabling you to choose the name and location of the exported file.

The buttons

Shrink - reduced Macros Palette dialog

Use the Shrink button to show a reduced Macros Palette dialog with a simple list of the existing Macros, enabling you to apply the Macros but not edit them.

This smaller version is useful for presets. It stays open after applying a macro, so it is a palette of custom functions, and you can pick another and apply that.

Using the Expand button on this reduced dialog will return you to the full Manage Macros dialog.

For more details see the Apply Macro page.

Apply Macro to

Apply Macro to makes a Macro operate on either the current open Project or a set of selected external Files.

Tip It is recommended not to process more than 500 files at a time.

See Macros Palette for details of how these two buttons operate.

Close to exit the dialog

To dismiss the dialog simply click on the Close button.

If there any unsaved changes you will be asked if you want to save them or not.

Macros Examples

See the Macros Examples page for examples of using Macros.

Error: Batch command not recognized

This error may sometimes occur for one or more commands in a Macro when updating from a previous Audacity version. The error may also occur if users sharing Macro have different Audacity versions or different versions of the plugins used in the Macro. The error will occur if:
  • any command in the Macro uses a different text format than that recognized by the version of Audacity in use
  • any plugins listed in the Macro are missing, in an incorrect location or are incompatible with the version of Audacity in use.
To resolve these errors, ensure you have compatible versions of all required plugins and that the plugins are installed correctly. If necessary, use the "Manage Macros" dialog to delete the command that fails then insert a replacement command for the same effect from the "Select Command" dialog.

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