Proposal File Menu Reorganization
|Proposal pages help us get from feature requests into actual plans. This page is a proposal to reorganize the File menu to provide distinct clarity between Audacity Projects and audio files, separating them in the menu.|
Proposal pages are used on an ongoing basis by the Audacity development team and are open to edits from visitors to the wiki. They are a good way to get community feedback on a proposal.
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Users, new users in particular, are Confused about what 'export' and 'save' mean.
We need to clearly maintain the distinction between native and non-native formats; it is important that we retain the "Import" and "Export" words to clarify that Audacity is not a WAV editor or an MP3 editor.
We should take the split between "projects" and "audio" to its logical conclusion and completely separate them in the menu structure. Better use of fly-out submenus.
- 'Open' will be renamed 'Open Project' and ONLY open an Audacity project. If you try to open a wav file it will tell you about projects and tell you to import instead. This will help reduce the risk of users thinking they are genuinely opening and working on a wav file directly.
- Recent Files will continue to operate much 'as currently'. If you import a file it will be added to the recent files list. If you select a non .aup file from the recently opened list it is imported.
- Drag-and-drop opening of a .wav file will import the dragged audio into your current project.
- It was previously suggested that'Check Dependencies...' should move to the proposed Tools menu, as it is a diagnostic tool. However although it isn't directly a "file" operation, it is intimately associated with saving projects. Moving it out to the Tools menu would potentially discourage its usage.
Peter 8Oct13: We don't actually edit WAV/MP3/any audio format, rather we edit Projects. Even if you use the Open command on an audio file what happen is the Audacity opens and then Imports the audio for editing and subsequent Export. As we know from many past discussions this loose usage of terminology like this causes confusion among our uses many of whom think Audacity is a "WAV editor" or an "MP3 editor". For my money only native format i.e. Audacity Projects should be openable and saveable - non native formats should only be importable and exportable for clarity of purpose.
Gale's File Menu proposal
This assumes we do not allow an "Open" menu to open audio files. If we do this we should probably stop "Recent Audio", opening audio files in the file manager and dragging audio files to the Audacity icon opening new project windows.
The key thing for me is that the item that does "export" has "audio" or "audio files" in the title.
This scheme lets us have a root menu item for straight export and import.
This schema is supported by Peter, Steve and Ed.
Previous Feature Requests relating to this proposal
There don't appear to be any.
- At this stage we are NOT proposing a mode where Audacity can switch over to using a wav file as if it were its project (for which there is a Pending Feature Request) - much as Microsoft word can open a txt file, but then warns when you try to save it that 'some features/formatting can't be saved in text format'. It's not that hard to add, but it would go outside the scope of this proposal. This could be a good feature though and solve a lot of user confusion. If we were to do it, we'd list in the warning dialog what would be lost.