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Naming and Saving Documents

Anne asks:

This afternoon I finished typing a letter and went to save it and Word would not let me! I have tried and tried; I changed the name a bunch of times and it just kept giving me a bunch of gibberish! It said something about the location and format not being valid; what does that mean? I can’t get it to save and it is just sitting on my desktop and I wanted to mail it tomorrow – could you help me?

Yes, Anne, I can help you, and you will have that letter off your desktop and out the door in no time!

First, let me ask you this; might the box that popped up that wouldn’t let you save it look a little like this?


Or this?


Or even this?


The words in the boxes are different than yours, of course, but these are the types of boxes that pop up when you try to save a document sometimes.

So why doesn’t Word save these documents?

Because (drum roll, please) —

Okay, it’s not that big of a deal to merit a drum roll, but here’s how you can and cannot save a document in Word:

Your document name can contain only 256 characters. (256? That’s all?)

The document name can include spaces, i.e. Letter to Jane.

You can save a document with or without capital letters. In other words, a Letter to Jane or a letter to jane is fine either way. Word won’t care. It’s not case-sensitive.

Your document cannot contain any of these characters in the title: / \ > < *. ? ” | : ;

(This one is the one that trips me up. If I want to date something 9/23/10, I can’t.)

You cannot have more than one file of any name in a folder, i.e. Letter to Jane cannot be saved twice in your letters folder. If you need to save it twice, you have to name it something else. If you want to have multiple versions of the same letter, you might consider naming them Letter to Jane 1, Letter to Jane 2, Letter to Jane 3, etc.

There you go, Anne! Hopefully this helped you save your letter with no objections from Word. Thanks for writing!

~ Lori Cline