Losing your work is incredibly frustrating. All’s well and good if you remember to constantly save, but that’s an unnecessary hassle. We’re going to show you how you can auto-save your work across a variety of popular Windows applications.
Auto-save functions can be really useful if your software or system crashes, if you forget to save when closing an application, or if you simply don’t want to have to remember to save.
If there’s a Windows auto-save tip that you want to share with everyone, please pop down to the comments below.
Have you ever spent ages filling out a form only for your browser to crash and all of that time gone down the drain? Don’t let this happen to you! Install an add-on that will automatically save any data you write into a form, allowing you to recover when disaster hits. Check out Form History Control for Firefox and Text Input Recover Extension for Chrome. There are alternatives available, but these work decently.
Another pain can be when the browser crashes when you have loads of tabs open. Alternatively, perhaps you just want to automatically save a particular session for use later on. Session Manager for Firefox [No Longer Available] and Session Buddy for Chrome will sort you out here.
Microsoft Office doesn’t have an in-built function to auto-save your work. Of course, you can press Ctrl + S at any time to save, but that’s not the same thing. However, if you’re using the online version of Office then any changes you make will automatically be saved, so consider switching to that if you want a proper auto-save feature.
Instead, the Office programs have a feature called AutoRecover, available across Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. This will attempt to save your file if the program unexpectedly closes. When you open the program, it’ll then offer to try and recover the file. Note that you should use this as a safety net, not a foolproof method to save your files.
To enable AutoRecover or adjust your settings, open an Office program and navigate to File > Options > Save. Tick Save AutoRecover information every X minutes and then click Browse… to choose your AutoRecover file location.
The exception here is in Outlook, which does have an auto-save feature. When composing an email, you can set after how many minutes a copy of your message will be saved. This is perfect for when you’re in the middle of writing an email and get distracted. You can be safe in the knowledge that your message is safe.
To enable this feature, in Outlook go to File > Options > Mail and tick Automatically save items that have not been sent after this many minutes:. From there you can adjust the counter and also which folder it’ll save to. Drafts is a good choice.
The Notepad program included with Windows hasn’t changed a great deal since it was first introduced back in 1985. It still serves its purpose as a simple and lightweight note taking application really well. As such, if you’re looking for the fancier ability of being able to auto-save, you need to look elsewhere.
Happily, there are loads of free alternatives that still offer the fast and simple nature that Notepad offers, but also with the extra auto-save function. In the past we’ve captured the best auto-saving notepad applications, with our choice for Windows users being Notes. This is a faithful recreation of the application Mac users know and it does the job perfectly.
An alternative that works much in the same way is Simplenote. You can search all your notes, sync them across all your devices automatically, and use a slider to go back to a previous version.
Pressing the Print Screen button on your keyboard will take a screenshot of your entire screen. This then saves the shot to your clipboard, ready for you to paste it into a photo editing tool, a chat, or wherever.
However, as this screenshot is only held in the clipboard, it’s just temporary storage.
To automatically save the screenshot to your computer, press Windows key + Print Screen instead. This will create a folder in your Pictures folder called Screenshots. With this command every screenshot you take will save in this folder, named in numerical sequence.
You can also set your screenshots to automatically save to OneDrive. Right click the OneDrive icon in your Taskbar (or do a system search for it), click Settings, go to the Auto save tab and tick Automatically save screenshots I capture to OneDrive.
Just because a program doesn’t have the ability to auto-save your work doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. Check out AutoSaver, a tiny application that will automatically save anywhere.
It’s very simple and basically just automatically presses Ctrl + S at an interval of your choosing.
Once downloaded, open the program and click the icon on your Taskbar. From here you can set the Auto Save Interval, right down to one minute. You can also choose which programs to run the utility in or which to exempt it from. I would recommend specifically choosing programs to use it in because many won’t need you to be saving.
Saved a Headache
Hopefully you’ve learned some useful tips on how to auto-save your work across a variety of Windows applications. You’ll definitely save yourself a lot of headaches and frustration, safe in the knowledge that everything you do is automatically being saved.
Remember, it’s all well and good to automatically save things, but that’s still useless if you don’t have a solid data backup plan in place. All your data could just disappear! Check out our ultimate backup guide for Windows 10 for more information.
Do you have any tips to share for auto-saving your work on Windows? Are there any programs you’d recommend to help?