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What’s the Difference Between SAVE AS and SAVE?

Jason Morrell

by Jason Morrell 
January 25, 2021

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.

I hope you found plenty of value in this post. I'd love to hear your biggest takeaway in the comments below together with any questions you may have.

Have a fantastic day.

Jason Morrell blog signature
About Jason Morrell

About the author

Jason Morrell

Jason Morrell is a professional trainer, consultant and course creator who lives on the glorious Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

He helps people of all levels unleash and leverage the power contained within Microsoft Office by delivering training, troubleshooting services and taking on client projects. He loves to simplify tricky concepts and provide helpful, proven, actionable advice that can be implemented for quick results.

Purely for amusement he sometimes talks about himself in the third person.


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