If you’ve ever used Office 365, you’re probably familiar with AutoSave. It saves documents automatically, but before you get your hopes up, you should know that this isn’t always a good thing.
When you are working on a document in Excel, Word, or PowerPoint with the new AutoSave feature, your file will be saved automatically every few seconds. This feature is available to subscribers of Microsoft 365.
When a file is saved to SharePoint Online, OneDrive, or OneDrive for Business with a subscription to Microsoft 365, the auto-save feature is activated automatically.
AutoSave in Microsoft Office 365
In the event that you forget something important, the AutoSave feature in Microsoft Office 365 can act as a safety nett for you. It is true that the AutoSave option assists you in recovering your Office files; however, there is something very crucial that you should be aware of regarding that toggle button.
When AutoSave is turned on, any modifications you make are automatically saved to the initial, which means that any changes you make overwrite the original, and you cannot get the original back.
When you work on a file saved to OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint Online, AutoSave is turned on. AutoSave is turned off if the file is saved somewhere else, or if it hasn’t been saved at all yet. This will happen if your file is saved to a local path like C:, a SharePoint site, a file server, or another cloud storage service.
How to Turn Off AutoSave in Microsoft Office 365
According to Microsoft, the AutoSave feature is a failsafe that saves your file automatically every few seconds, allowing anyone working with you on the cloud to view any changes you make instantly. But Microsoft has also removed the File > Save As command when you open a file via OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online.
So, what can you do to keep working and keep the original file intact?
- Disable AutoSave by toggling the switch to the Off position.
- You can disable AutoSave with a registry tweak if you are an Office 365 ProPlus subscriber.
- Uncheck the AutoRecover setting (File > Options > Save > Save AutoRecover information every X minutes).
The most effective course of action would have been to turn off AutoSave completely for individual files. However, this capability is not available throughout the entire system, but it is activated automatically for each cloud-based file that you open. Therefore, you have to make a mental note to turn it off for each and every file that you open.
Microsoft recommends that you use File > Save a Copy to work collaboratively on a copy of the original document. Instead of using the old Save As command to create a file with a different filename, you can just save a copy of the original document and work on that.
Those users who don’t save their work to OneDrive won’t run into any issues with the always-on AutoSave feature. However, if you decide to do so, you should be aware of the potential risks if you don’t want your original work to be scribbled over. I also hope that Microsoft will give an option to disable AutoSave for certain documents as soon as they can.