What’s the Difference Between SAVE AS and SAVE?


Jason Morrell

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A confusing distinction for beginners is the difference between SAVE AS and SAVE. What does each one do? When do you one versus the other.

For example, in Microsoft Word, when you click the File tab in the top-left corner of the screen (File menu on Mac), SAVE and SAVE AS are both listed.

Save and Save As

So, what is the difference? This short post has the answers.

1.  Saving a file for the first time

When you save a new file (a document, spreadsheet etc.) for the first time, SAVE and SAVE AS do exactly the same thing.

So choose either option.

The keyboard shortcut to save a file is Ctrl + S

2. Saving a file for the second time onwards

If you make changes to a file that has already been saved, then SAVE and SAVE AS do different things. 

  • SAVE will save the updates you have made to the same file name.
  • SAVE AS let’s you save a second copy of the file, so you’ll then have two files – the original file (old) and the latest file (new). 

Most times, SAVE is the easiest option because then you only have one file to worry about.

3. Reasons for using SAVE AS 

There are 2 main reasons you would choose SAVE AS.

  • You may want to create a backup of a file so that if something goes wrong you can revert to an earlier copy.
  • You may want to copy an existing file and make changes to it, instead of creating a new file from scratch. Why reinvent the wheel? Save some time. 

How to use SAVE AS to clone an existing file:

1.  Open the original file.

2.  Click the File tab (File menu on Mac) and choose SAVE AS.

3.  Type your new file name and choose a location (Desktop folder, Documents folder etc.)

4.  Click OK.

You are now working on the new file. Whenever you are ready to save, simply press Ctrl + S or click the File tab and choose Save.

Please feel free to post any questions you have into the comments below. And before you leave this page, I want to give you one quick little action item! 

ACTION ITEM: Comment below with ONE thing you picked up from this post and share how it has helped, or will help, you. It's good to share your successes because it encourages others and provides an instant boost.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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About Jason Morrell

About the author

Jason Morrell

Jason loves to simplify the hard stuff, cut the fluff and share what actually works. Things that make a difference. Things that slash hours from your daily work tasks. He runs a software training business in Queensland, Australia, lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and 4 kids and often talks about himself in the third person!


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