Top Nav

Introducing AutoSave for Microsoft Office 2016

microsoft office autosave

It’s happened to all of us. Hours of work lost because we forgot to save our work. Just when everything is perfect, CRASH. Everything is gone. Well, I have good news for you and it’s called Microsoft Office AutoSave!

AutoSave is a new featured included in the July 2017 update (version 1707 build 8236.xxxx) for Office 365 subscribers. According to Microsoft:

Save early, save often is now a thing of the past. Office AutoSave saves every few seconds so you don’t have to!

Included in Excel 2016 and Powerpoint 2016, the new AutoSave feature not only saves your document every few seconds, depending on what you’re doing, it also uses a simple UI to go back through previous versions of files.



How do I enable AutoSave?

If you’ve updated to the July 2017 update, AutoSave is enabled by default when you save a file to OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or Sharepoint Online. Another nice feature about AutoSave is it also allows you to collaborate with other users who are also editing the file. Since the file is being AutoSaved automatically, any changes being made will be seen by all users almost instantly.

What, where did File > Save As go?

As I said earlier, this is a massive change as it not only adds AutoSave protection, it also changes the File menu. The Save As command has been replaced with the Save a Copy command.


Warning: Being that changes are made instantly to the file once you start editing it, it’s important to use the Save a Copy command if you don’t want to edit the original file.

I don’t see AutoSave. What’s wrong?

It could be a couple problems.

  1. Are you running the latest update from Microsoft Office? Run the Microsoft Office manual update process to verify you’re fully updated.
  2. Are you an Office 365 subscriber? If not, I highly recommend it. The 1 TB of Onedrive space alone is amazing for backing up files and photos from your mobile device.
  3. If the document is stored on your local computer, AutoSave will be disabled. To enable it, you must save your document to OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or Sharepoint Online.
  4. Make sure you’re not using an older file format like .xls, .ppt or .doc. For example, save your Excel file as a .xlsx and see if that solves the issue.

What happens when I click the AutoSave toggle and turn it off?

AutoSave will no longer save your document as you make changes. Instead, you will need to click the Save icon or click File > Save.


More Reading:


7 Responses to Introducing AutoSave for Microsoft Office 2016

  1. James August 8, 2017 at 6:47 am #

    Thanks again for another heads-up.

    Nice idea
    requiring the user to be online in order for it to work means it cannot be relied upon as a recovery.
    Also – consider the data usage if you are online working on a laptop while travelling on a train, or in a vehicle
    Then consider the speed of the link to Onedrive – the article mentions save in intervals of seconds/

    My link to ONEDRIVE, seems to have improved recently – with a 50Mb/sec download and 12Mb/sec uplink (verified) it was taking over 24 hours to upload about 3GB – now it runs (within the MS part of the link ) at up to 1Gb an hour averaging 5 4GB files in 24 hours – still abysmally slow when trying to use the 1TB capacity –
    So at the best probable speed, 1000MB in 3600 seconds – a 30MB MSWORD file – will take getting on for 2 minutes to take the initial save – so that’s twiddle your thumbs for 2 minutes after trying to open the file.

    Again, I have to say – concepts are OK – Great marketing,
    Just a pity that the implementation seems to show such a lack of consideration for usage.

    And, because I cannot rely on File-History either, it looks like I will have to continue using the 3rd party add-in facilities to leave a trail of timestamped versions as I work throughout the day.

    And – considering reliability –
    From experience – if you use drag’n’drop to upload a hundred or so files to Onedrive you may get a report indicating that the upload of some of the files failed – Your problem then is to determine whisc files were NOT uploaded – remembering you cannot scroll through the full filename – as the panels do NOT scroll horizontally.
    – so the file that failed to upload – was it
    My_picture_from 2017August8th-12.03-0001 or
    My_picture_from 2017August8th-12.03-0002 or
    …. or
    My_picture_from 2017August8th-12.03-0199

    • KyleG August 8, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

      I think the bigger issue here is a 30 MB Word file. Word files are XML so if you have a file at 30 MB, either it’s a really massive word doc or… it’s full of uncompressed images. Either way, I’d say it’s not reasonable for Microsoft to design to that edge case.

      Also, have you tested it?

      • James August 9, 2017 at 6:30 am #

        I have not tested the autosave – but have tested the Onedrive speeds – same rate regardless of running uploads from additional systems attached to the modem – Onedrive upload is capped while the additional systems can put stuff up to other cloud stores at speeds that show the ISP link is running at well over 11Mb/sec.
        Re docs @ 30MB – yes lots of uncompressed images –
        some are specifically collections of images, others are testing reports with screen resolution (capture) images – those to show correctness, or errors within the images as seen on the screens.

    • Steve Krause August 8, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

      Heya James – you bet!

      Here’s a few items I probably should have included in the article.

      1 – For the online vs. offline issue. If you are syncing the OneDrive/Sharepoint site to your hard drive with the OneDrive agent, the AutoSave feature will continue to function if you’re offline.

      2 – If you’re working remote on a metered connection, my advice would be turn off the AutoSave feature by flipping the toggle. You can then click the save icon or click File > Save. Should prevent any runaway data usage issues when working with huge office files.

      3 – I can’t speak to everyone’s performance with OneDrive and Sharepoint. It will vary depending on your internet connection and file size. For me, performance is great (but could always be faster) 🙂

      4 – I have probably 10-20 thousand files in sync on my PC and Mac with OneDrive with no issues. It’s mostly images and music files. Love it.

      I’ve used the drag-and-drop file upload for 1-10 files and it works. Doing hundreds of files at once, however… just too many issues could go wrong with that and like you said a lot of work to fix it later.

      My suggestion would be to use the Sync client. to sync the folder then turn off sync once the upload is completed.

      Great questions/comments. Thanks James.


  2. James August 9, 2017 at 6:45 am #


    Thanks for the additional information and update

    Sync client is a nice idea – but – I have large number and volume of files I want to upload as a second backup/archive – primary backup being to USB attachable storage.

    So – I could be looking at an accumulation of maybe 60Gb of ‘new’ files in a day – with those files normally being offloaded as they get checked over – and accepted as ‘wanted’ rather than – discard level.
    I suppose I could setup new folders to be sync’d while uploaded, then unsync – and make sure I either move the uploaded files to a second folder(set) or use new folders for each sync action.

    Re drag=and-drop
    OK – I accept that there may well be problems with some of the files –
    My complaint is that I cannot get to see the ends of the filenames on the store, (or in the problem report) – and I have yet to find a way of getting a list of the files that are on the Onedrive – that is other than repeatedly scroll and scrape the app’s display, or download the entire store – folder at a time – and examining the download results.

  3. Shayan Seyedi August 10, 2017 at 5:53 am #

    In case if the autosave is disabled for you, make sure you have ticked the “Use Office 2016 to Sync files that I open” in Onedrive setting.

  4. Wayne August 10, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    If Save As is gone, how do we initially name a file?

Leave a Reply


Free Learning


Don't miss a single tip, how to or tech news update. Subscribe to my free newsletter and receive updates, right to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!