To Save or not to Save? That is the question! Whether ‘tis better to “Save” or “Save As”… I often get the question, what is the difference between “Save” and “Save As”?
Let me begin by saying that the first time you save a file there is no difference between “Save” and “Save As”. The first time you click “Save”, the “Save As” dialog box will open anyway. There is a difference for subsequent saving instances, but first let’s look at what you need to be aware of when you “Save” a file. There are three aspects to a “Save”; kind of like a Who, What and Where sequence of questions. You may not be aware that these questions are posed, but they are and unless you purposely specify answers, your program will guess and supply its own set of answers.
Let’s explore the Who, What and Where questions and I’ll use saving a Word Document as an example (saving other kinds of files will be similar). The “Who?” question is asked toward the bottom of the “Save As” dialog box, next to the words “File name”. When you first open the “Save As” box, your cursor will already be in place to answer the Who question. You’ll also see that a name has already been chosen for you (it will be highlighted). This name for a word doc is the first few words of your document, like “Dear Mom.doc”. If you wish to change this name, do it at this stage, or it becomes, by default the name of your file.
“What?” is the second question and it is answered just under the Who next the words, “Save as type”. The default choice for Word is as a .doc file for earlier versions or as a .docx file for Word 2007 or later. Click the down arrow to the right of the Save as type box to see what other formats you can file in. Don’t make a choice and again you get the default, in this case .doc or .docx.
The last question is the “Where?” and the answer to that goes at the top of the “Save As” box, next to “Save in”. When you first open a “Save As” box, you’ll probably find that the Where is set by default to “My Documents”. If you have just saved a file to some other location (like to a folder within “My Docs” or even to another drive like a thumb drive), you may find that to be the default location. Your PC is trying to help you by remembering where you file things. Use the down arrow to navigate to the place where you want to file the document.
Now you have answered the Who, What and Where of your file project and you have complete control of your file maintenance. If you continue to work on your document and make revisions, the next time you click the “Save” button, it will simply Save assuming the three questions still have the same answers. It will maintain your original Who, What and Where. Save becomes routine and just updates your original file.
If you want to save the subject file to a different location (Where?), or with a different name (Who?) or in a different format (What?), you must now use the “Save As” button. This will reopen the “Save As” dialog box and you can start the Who, What, Wheres all over again.
File maintenance is an important skill to any PC user and you can sharpen that skill by always answering the Who, What and Where for your files.