Why You Should Stop Using AutoSave in Microsoft Office 365
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The AutoSave feature in Microsoft Office 365 can be a parachute for your forgetfulness. Yes, the AutoSave feature helps you recover your Office files, but there’s one important thing you should know about that little toggle button:

When AutoSave is on, your changes are continually saved to the original, so any changes you make overwrites the original and you cannot get it back.

How to Turn Off AutoSave in Microsoft Office 365

AutoSave On

Microsoft explains the AutoSave feature as a failsafe that automatically saves your file every few seconds so that anyone working with you on the cloud can instantly see the changes. 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?

  1. Disable AutoSave by toggling the switch to the Off position.
  2. You can disable AutoSave with a registry tweak if you are an Office 365 ProPlus subscriber.
  3. Uncheck the AutoRecover setting (File > Options > Save > Save AutoRecover information every X minutes).

Save a Copy

Disabling AutoSave permanently for specific files would have been the best solution. But, this feature is not system-wide and it is on by default for every file you open from the cloud. So, you have to remember to switch it off for every file 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.

Save a Copy

The always-on AutoSave feature isn’t a problem for those who don’t work with OneDrive. But if you do, be mindful of the pitfalls if you don’t want your original work to be overwritten. And hope Microsoft soon adds an option to turn off AutoSave for specific documents.

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  1. Rob
    August 8, 2018 at 5:15 am

    "When AutoSave is on, your changes are continually saved to the original, so any changes you make overwrites the original and you cannot get it back."
    Incorrect information. you can go back any number of versions to the original. You can get it back with a couple of clicks. You should absolutely use auto save for important documents.

    • Candace
      September 17, 2018 at 7:44 pm

      Thank you Rob for clarifying this. Somehow my autosave is OFF and it is grayed out. When I look in the File > Options > Save screen, my Word is configured with autosave "checked" and set to save every 10 minutes. I am currently working on a document that is stored on local drive although my company has OneDrive, they didnt purchase enough space on there for me ... their technical writer. So I continue to back everything up manually and work off of a harddrive. I learned along time ago that working over any networked/internet connection with Office products is just asking for trouble because your dutiful Ctl+S hard save can get shunted to cache and you arent really saving and neither is the austosave. As soon as you close and shut down you will come back to an unrecognizable document because itstopped saving whenever. And since you went through normal close and shutdown process you also wont have an autosaved backup. So I always work off of a hard drive with a UPC in line to avoid power outages from dumping my last changes. Then I post a distributed version online when I have finished. What I dont understand is why my Word's autosave button is grayed and "off" when I did not turn it off.

  2. Walter
    July 3, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I don't believe you are correct when you state, "this feature is not system-wide and it is on by default for every file you open from the cloud. So, you have to remember to switch it off for every file you open." Maybe you're referring to the toggle button, in which case, this is true, but you can turn it off for the whole system and it will be off for every file you open.
    https://www.screencast.com/t/0Q7uFgxXLtg

    As I believe that saving of a shared document should be a conscious/purposeful decision, I'm turning it off by default. I've seen others argue that you can go back into the version history and restore previous versions but know what someone changed, and if they meant to change it is a total PITA, and I personally think it makes a lot more sense for people to change things only when they mean to do so. We've already had a number of cases in our office where people changed a spreadsheet without even meaning to, as they were searching around for information. (The changes I believe were mostly saved filters, changed orders of records, etc.)

    The turn off globally setting shows as the last option in this article:
    https://support.office.com/en-us/article/what-is-autosave-6d6bd723-ebfd-4e40-b5f6-ae6e8088f7a5

    • Saikat Basu
      July 9, 2018 at 7:08 am

      Valid point, Walter. Thanks for the observation.

  3. Michel Basilieres
    March 30, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    This is a solution without a problem. OneDrive automatically saves versions. If you change your mind, right click on a file in OneDrive and choose Versions.

  4. Dave Clark
    March 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    I got fed up with it yesterday and elegantly shut it off after it automatically kept switching on. I have an internal backup HD and built-in SD card reader on my laptop and sometimes have network issues so OneDrive gets whiny. I shut that off. The AutoSave switch is now grayed out, and off. Super-duper golly-gee-whiz update feature killed.

  5. dragonmouth
    March 30, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    "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."
    Again, Microsoft arrogantly presumes to 'know better' what I and other users want/need. Sometimes I need to keep 3,4,5,6 versions of the same file while I am working on it. SaveAs allows me to give these versions names that are meaningful to me rather than to rename each copy that Office creates for me.

    • Saikat Basu
      March 30, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      Yeah, this little change almost snuck up on us. Microsoft underestimated the problems of the change. But, that's the most we can do now. Unless MS decides to bring back the Save As option.

      • dragonmouth
        March 30, 2018 at 6:05 pm

        There is always LibreOffice and other replacements. :-)

        • Candace
          September 17, 2018 at 7:50 pm

          And with the new Windows strongarming tactics rumored to be up the pipe, I am sure a lot of people will be looking for reasonable replacements for a lot of MS stuff.

      • Candace
        September 17, 2018 at 7:49 pm

        I too would prefer to use the autosave and perform Save As at my discretion, instead of having to drill down to the file and copy it. It makes no sense to me why I am put to that trouble.