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Microsoft Word does not have built-in functionality that allows you to automatically perform a full save of the current document at specific intervals. Instead, Word uses a separate AutoRecover file to prevent data loss.
This article explains why the AutoRecover file method is more effective than automatic full saves.
NOTE: Although it is possible to write a macro that saves your document at regular intervals, this is neither recommended nor supported.
How the AutoRecover Feature WorksWhen the Save AutoRecover info every option (click Options on the Tools menu, and click the Save tab) is selected, Word creates a temporary AutoRecover file that includes the latest changes in your document. This file is either created or updated at the end of each preset time period.
NOTE: The Save AutoRecover info every option is turned on by default and is preset to save an AutoRecover file every 10 minutes.
This AutoRecover file is created so that it is available when Word is restarted if the program stops responding or there is a power failure. Each time Word is started, it searches your computer for these temporary AutoRecover files and automatically opens them. When Word successfully recovers a file, the file is displayed, and the document title bar displays the file name of the document as "<file name> (Recovered)." You can save the file at this time to permanently preserve your work or save it with a new name using the Save As command on the File menu.
For more information about AutoRecover, click Microsoft Word Help on the Help menu, type autorecover in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.
Why Use an AutoRecover File Rather Than an Automatic Full SaveWhen you perform a full save of your file, there is no way to go back to your original version. If the document was saved automatically, in many instances data would be lost because a full save is irreversible.
In contrast, AutoRecover does not overwrite your original file; this allows you to back out of most errors just by not saving changes when you close the file.
An AutoRecover file is created or updated each time there are changes that have not been saved at the end of the preset time period. You should perform a full save specifically based on progress you've made in your document rather than arbitrarily at regular time intervals.
NOTE: Another way to protect your work and maintain all of your changes is to use the Versions command on the File menu.
For more information about versions, click Microsoft Word Help on the Help menu, type versions in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.
How to Manually Save a FileAt any time when working with a document, it is possible to save your file using keystrokes (CTRL+S), by clicking Save on the Standard toolbar, or by clicking Save on the File menu. All of these options save the file and then delete the temporary AutoRecover file.
If you forget to save your work prior to closing the Word program, you are reminded that your document has not been saved and you are given the opportunity to save or not save. Either option clears the temporary AutoRecover file. Doing it this way, you are protected in case of crashes, power failures, and so on.
For more information about saving documents, click Microsoft Word Help on the Help menu, type saving documents in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.
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