Portable Audacity

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This page describes how you can take Audacity with you (for example on a USB stick) and use it on other computers whilst keeping all your personal Audacity settings.

Portable Settings in Audacity

Audacity provides a way for you to keep your Preference settings with the application, rather than in a global place for user settings. It works as follows:

On launch, Audacity checks if there is a "Portable Settings" folder in the same directory as the executable (audacity.exe, Audacity.app or audacity). If "Portable Settings" exists, Audacity stores its settings there rather than in the user's home folder. Thus, a user can create a portable Audacity as follows:

  1. Extract the Audacity .zip or .dmg download to a USB stick or similar
  2. Create a folder called "Portable Settings" on the USB stick.
    • On Windows this goes at the top level alongside the application and other folders
    • On Mac it must go in the Contents folder for the application on the USB stick

The settings are stored in an editable plain text file called audacity.cfg which contains your Preferences and other settings such as settings for some effects and generators.

When no "Portable Settings" folder is present, Audacity stores user settings in in a home location on the computer as follows:
  • Windows: Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Audacity
  • macOS: ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/
  • Linux: ~/.audacity-data/

Audacity Portable:

An independent third-party has created a portable version of Audacity called Audacity Portable.

Advice Audacity Portable is not maintained by Audacity Team and we can therefore not give technical support for it. For assistance, please contact Audacity Portable Support.

Once the application is installed to the portable medium such as a Flash Drive, simply launch the AudacityPortable.exe file. When you are done, exit Audacity and then wait for the activity light on your removable drive to stop flashing. Then select the "Safely remove device" option from the icon in the System Tray. If you remove the drive while it is writing, you may lose data. With Audacity Portable, Audacity's temporary directory is placed on the local computer within the %TEMP% directory. If there are no problems, this directory is removed when you exit Audacity Portable, leaving no unwanted traces of data on the computer that was used.

Audacity Portable is not a U3 compliant application. It can be installed on a U3 SmartDrive and launched from its location on the drive, but cannot be launched or shut down with the U3 Launchpad software.