- Worldstart's Tech Tips And Computer Help - http://www.worldstart.com -

Preventing File Overwrite in MS Office

We’ve all done it at one time or another… you need to create a new file that’s pretty much identical to another one, so you open the file that you have, make the changes and then save it.

In that very, very short time while you watch the file being saved you are struck speechless with the horrible realization that you just made a huge error!

You meant to create a new file based on the old, but you just saved the new information over the old…

Darn, darn, darn.

Now what?

The way I see it you have two choices… 1) live without it and 2) recreate the original file.

Not pretty options…

Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy fix for you, if you’ve gotten this far. Instead what I have is a suggestion that will prevent this situation from happening in the first place!

Definitely a better plan… an ounce of prevention and all that.

To be absolutely sure that when you open one file with the intent to save the changes as a different file, simply choose to create the new file as you open the old.

Yep, you read it correctly. You can choose to open the original file in a way that ensures you can’t just hit the Save button and lose the first version completely!

Actually, I’ve got two options to accomplish this goal and they both start with the Open dialog box (Office Button / File tab)

Once in the Open dialog box, select the file but don’t click Open just yet!

Instead use the down arrow on the Open button to display a short list of ways to open the file.


Notice the Open Read-Only and Open as Copy choices?

Those are the key to saving ourselves a big headache.

Choosing Read-Only means that the file absolutely cannot be saved over the original since you’re only allowed to read what you opened. To save changes you’ll be forced to start in the Save As dialog box and give it a new name.

The Open as Copy option automatically tacks on the phrase Copy(1) to the file name. Obviously, you might want to name it something a bit more meaningful. On the other hand, if you do forget to rename it, you’re covered.

That’s it! Change the way you open the document and the frustrations of lost data in original files can be a thing of the past.

~ April