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Using Macros to Automate Frequent Tasks

A Macro is a sequence of pre-configured commands (mainly effects) in a set order that can be applied automatically to projects or audio files.

What are the main uses for Macros?

Macros in Audacity can be used for:
  • Batch processing: Apply one or more effects to multiple audio files and export the processed audio into a new file.
    To use this select the Apply Macro to: Files... button in the Macros Palette or the Manage Macros dialog.
    For more detail on batch processing please see this page.
  • Effects automation: where the selected audio in the track or tracks in the current project is subjected to the same prescribed sequence of effects, and optionally, a file exported from the entire audio.
Macros can contain Select commands to make their own selections as the Macro runs
  • Effect presets: where selected, commonly used, effects are stored with your preferred settings for quick re-use.

How to access Macros

You can manage and apply Macros using the Tools Menu:
There are some examples of Macros and tips on using them.
Use Tools > Macros... if you need to create a new Macro or to edit an existing Macro.
The left side pane displays existing macros and the right pane list the steps for the selected macro

Macros Palette dialog

Use the Shrink button to show a reduced Macros Palette dialog which lists the existing Macros.
This dialog is also available directly via Tools > Apply Macro > Palette...
Macros Palette showing several user-added Macros as well as the as-shipped MP3 Conversion and Fade Ends Macros
Click Expand on the Macros Palette to return to the full Manage Macros dialog.

Apply Macro to

Both the Manage Macros dialog and the Macro Palette dialog have Apply Macro to buttons:
  • Project applies the selected Macro to the current project.
  • Files... applies the selected Macro to selected external audio files that are in a single directory.
It is recommended not to process more than 500 files at a time.
For more details see the Macros Palette page.

Macro Command Parameters

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.
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".
Please see Manage Macros for more details.

Sharing a Macro

You can export a Macro as a TXT file using the Export button in Manage Macros and send it to another user, or copy it to another computer for use there
You can import another user's Macro, or a copied macro of your own, into your Macros folder by using the Import button in Manage Macros.
You can also edit Exported Macros with a text editor and Import them back in if required.

Where Macros are stored

Each Macro is automatically saved as a separate text file with TXT extension in the Macros folder in Audacity's folder for application data:
  • Windows: Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\audacity\Macros
  • Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/Macros
  • Linux: ~/.audacity-data/Macros
In order to see the Macros folder on Windows, macOS or GNU/Linux, you must show hidden files and folders or type the folder location into your file manager's address bar.
  • Windows: In the tree on the left of Explorer, double-click "Users" then double-click your username, then on the right, double-click the AppData or Application Data folder and navigate through that. If necessary, show hidden files and folders on Windows or type %appdata%\audacity\Macros or shell:appdata\audacity\Macros into the Explorer address bar then press Enter on your keyboard.
  • macOS: Open Finder, use the Go menu, choose Go to Folder and type ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/Macros, or set Finder to show your User Library folder.

Macros Examples

See the Macros Examples page for examples of using Macros