Auto-Save Feature on Office 365 #
Microsoft 365 has a great feature called AutoSave. If you have a license for Office 365 Apps, then you have one TB of OneDrive Storage space available for you to use. This storage location is in the cloud and can collaborate/integrate with Microsoft services such as Teams, SharePoint, etc. Best of all, there is a feature called Auto-Save available when using any of the Office 365 apps.
“Save early, save often” is a thing of the past because AutoSave saves your file as you work on it every few seconds so that you don’t have to. When working with a document, to enable this feature when saving, just select save-as and then OneDrive. Moving forward, it will always be enabled on that document because the file is on your OneDrive now. Here is a snapshot of where the auto-save feature is enabled – a small icon on the top left of the Title Bar. It looks like this:
My computer ate my document and it is gone! #
When you enable AutoSave, the file is no longer stored locally, or on any other location (mapped drives, etc…) it is stored safely on the cloud in your personal or business OneDrive. Once you enable this option for any document, it automatically saves your changes to the cloud as you are working. And, if other people are working on the same file, AutoSave lets them see changes in a matter of seconds. Without AutoSave enabled, users collaborating on the same document at the same time will not be able to see each other in real-time. Instead, they will continue to see Updates Available when others make changes.
Change the workflow #
AutoSave is helpful in most scenarios, but there a few cases where your users might need to change how they normally work and we want you to be prepared to help them. For each of the scenarios, we have outlined what the scenario is, what may go wrong and a recommendation for how to resolve it.
- Starting from an existing file, making edits and then doing a Save a Copy to a new file – Anyone who starts from a previous file (for example last quarter’s earnings report), edits, and then does a Save a Copy to start this quarter’s earnings report will cause the changes to be saved in both files if AutoSave is on. We recommend that everyone do the Save a Copy before making any changes and have even added a reminder in the product when this happens. If a user makes accidental changes, they should use the Version History feature to restore the original document.
- Performing “hypothetical” or “what-if” changes to a file – Anyone who opens a file and does some hypothetical analysis (such as forecasting the impact of market changes on the budget) with the desire to close the file without saving will have inadvertently saved all the changes to the file while AutoSave is on. We recommend turning off AutoSave while doing the hypothetical analysis and then turning it back on once the user is ready to save again.
- Dashboards and Viewing Files with Sorts/Filters in Excel – Anyone who sorts or filters a dashboard while AutoSave is on will affect the view of everyone else in the file. If a file is meant to be a dashboard or used by multiple people with sorts and filters, we recommend setting the Read-Only Recommended property on that file using File > Info > Protect Workbook > Always Open Read-Only, so viewers of the dashboard won’t save their changes unless they explicitly choose to edit the file.
- Finalized or Published Files – Anyone who accidentally edits a finalized, published file with AutoSave on will save their changes to the file. Once a file has been finalized, we recommend setting the Read-Only Recommended property or Mark as Final property on the file, so accidental edits from viewers and readers of the file won’t be saved.
Configuring AutoSave Settings In Office- #
AutoSave can be configured the following ways:
- The owner of a file can set it to Always Open Read-Only to help prevent accidental edits. This can be done by setting the file to open in Read-Only Recommended (File > Info > Protect Document/ Workbook/ Presentation > Always Open in Read-Only) or by Sharing the file without allowing others to edit (File > Share > People with the link can edit and uncheck the Allow Editing box).
- You can turn AutoSave off for a file while it is open by clicking the AutoSave toggle. This disables AutoSave for the current document for that user. The next time the same user opens the document, AutoSave will be off. If they open a different document, AutoSave will not be affected by their choice in the other document.
- You can set AutoSave to be off by default for all files opened in that specific application (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) on that device
Note: The you can still set AutoSave to be on for individual files by using the AutoSave toggle described above.
We will always recommend to save their files to OneDrive, OneDrive for work or school, or SharePoint in Microsoft 365 to enable AutoSave and avoid data loss. There is a slight learning curve but the cost of losing mission critical data is worth the time to learn. Additionally, your IT can deploy a service called Known Folder Move, which automatically syncs key folders to the cloud. This will allow you to access files anywhere and not worry about losing important data.