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Many of our clients find the relatively new AutoSave option confusing, and are unclear on the difference between AutoRecover and AutoSave. Here are answers to their questions:

1. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUTOSAVE AND AUTORECOVER? AND WHY IS AUTOSAVE TURNED ON AUTOMATICALLY SOMETIMES, BUT NOT OTHERS?

AutoRecover saves a temporary version of Microsoft Office files, including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc., at specific intervals, allowing file recovery in case of a crash.  AutoRecover has been available for many years and versions of Office.  AutoRecover works whether AutoSave is turned on or off. Read more about AutoRecover here.

AutoSave is a relatively new feature available in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint for Microsoft 365 subscribers that saves your file automatically, every few seconds, as you work. 

AutoSave is enabled by default in Microsoft 365 when a file is stored on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint Online. You can also manually turn AutoSave on or off using the AutoSave button on the Quick Access toolbar.

If a file has been saved locally and you turn AutoSave on, you will be prompted to save the file in the cloud. If a file is saved in the cloud, you can turn AutoSave off, but if you are sharing the file with others, they will not see your changes until you manually save.

You can view the AutoSave and AutoRecover options by clicking the File tab > Options > Save

2. I MADE CHANGES TO A FILE THAT AUTOSAVES, BUT WOULD LIKE TO DISCARD THEM. WHAT CAN I DO?

Because AutoSave saves your changes every few seconds, there is no option to close and not keep changes.  In addition, File > Save As is not available when AutoSave is turned on.  Instead the Save a Copy option is available.

If you are used to working on a file, and then using File > Save As to keep the changes in the copy and not the original?  When AutoSave is on, your changes are continually saved to the original. We recommend using File Save a Copy before you make any changes if you want your changes to apply to the copy and not the original.

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That said, to restore a previous version of an AutoSaved file, do the following:

  1.  In the file you want to restore click the File tab > Info.

  2.  If the file has previous versions, you'll see a button called Version History. Select it to open the pane. 

  3.  Select a version to view it. Once you've chosen the one to restore, select Restore at the top to replace the current version with the restored version.

Please let us know if this articles was useful, or contact us for more information!

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