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Podcast Basics

This is a brief tutorial on creating an intro to a podcast using Audacity.

Saving and exporting: screen shot of Audacity

Wrapping it all up

Once you have everything the way you want it, you will want to save a version of your project that others can listen to. It's also very important to save your progress as you work. You'll want to periodically save your progress, but Audacity has an auto-save function that allows you to retrieve your lost work if the program crashes and BandLab auto-saves periodically. There are two types of files you will want to save for your project: the project file and the exported file.

Working File or Project File

Your working file or project file is the file that you can open and edit. This is not a file that you can share with a friend to listen to on their phone -- the working file can only be opened in the program you're using to edit. The usefulness of this file is that you can go back and pick up where left off with your editing: all of your timings and fades and effects can be tweaked and saved as you make progress on your project. Without the project file, you can only edit the whole project as one track -- one segment.


Your exported file will be your finished product that you can share with anyone and they should be able to listen to it on any device. The file extension for this will likely be either .mp3 or .wav. Both of these are good quality formats that are widely supported by devices, operating systems, and apps. However, this is not a project file and you will not be able to open an mp3 and then tweak the volume level of the background music -- you'll need the project file to do that type of editing.

Saving & Exporting in Audacity


In Audacity, you will have a .aup3 working file that allows you to open your Audacity project with the tracks, effects, and everything where you last left them. This .aup3 file contains everything you need to go back and edit your project later. Simply save this file to a flash drive, Google Drive, or email it to yourself to be able to open on a different computer later.

Previous Versions of Audacity

It's important to realize that previous Audacity versions use the .aup file format (note the lack of the '3' in the file extension). This older file format will point to other files that are also created when you save which allow you to continue editing. If you will be using the same computer for all of your editing, those other files will automatically be found by Audacity.

If you use multiple computers, you will need to keep copies of the .aup file as well as the data directory (folder). My project is called 'test,' so I will want to save my test.aup file as well as the test_data folder to my Google Drive account if I'm working on multiple computers. They are both found in the Audacity folder.

The Audacity project files can only be opened in Audacity. If you email someone the .aup3 file, they will not be able to listen to it without opening it in Audacity (and will also need the the data folder).


If I want to have a copy of the finished project that can be played on any audio player, you will want to export your project (File -> Export). There are many export options, but Export to WAV and Export to MP3 are the most useful options. Most audio players and devices can play both WAV and MP3 files. If you want to archive a high quality lossless format, you can choose File -> Export Audio... to select from a wide range of format options. Some podcast hosting services may require a specific format and you can export or convert audio files to most any format with Audacity.

Learn more: Saving & Exporting Projects in Audacity

Saving & Exporting in BandLab


In BandLab, your working file is automatically saved to the web. You just open your project in BandLab to open your working file. When you 'save' your project, you are saving your working file. You can also download each of your tracks, but these will be exported audio files that do not have the timings, effects, and other aspects of your project to tweak later.


You can add collaborators to your project by using the main menu and selecting 'Project' and then 'Collaborators.' You can enter your collaborators' email addresses or copy a link to share.


You can also publish your project to the BandLab community. This will create a page where your project will be hosted and you can share the link to that page. You can also choose to have your project findable within BandLab or you can set it to be unlisted so that people will only find it if they have the link.


If I want to have a copy of the finished project that can be played on any audio player, you will want to export your project (Main menu -> Project -> Download -> Mixdown As). The Mixdown process is where all of your separate tracks, segments, effects, timings -- everything in your project -- is converted into one audio file. There are many download options, but WAV and MP3 are the most widely supported options. Most audio players and devices can play both WAV and MP3 files. The MP3 file will be a smaller file size and for any long projects will likely be a better option to ensure that you don't exceed any upload limits when you go to upload your project to Canvas or another site. The WAV format will be better quality and is probably preferred in most situations, but don't over-think this: as a beginner, either file format should be fine for your project.

Learn more about downloading your BandLab project: How do I download tracks?