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For a Microsoft Word 98 Macintosh Edition version of this article, see 192433. For a Microsoft Word 97 version of this article, see 192480. For a Microsoft Word 2000 version of this article, see 197978.
This article answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the Allow fast saves feature in Microsoft Word.
What is the difference between a fast save and a full save?
In a Word document saved with a fast save, the physical order of characters stored in the file does not match the logical order of characters in the document that the file represents. In other words, changes to the file are appended to the end of the file.
In a Word document saved with a full save, the physical order of characters stored in the file is identical to the logical order of characters in the document that the file represents. In other words, changes to the file are incorporated into the contents of the file in the specific location where the change was made.
NOTE: File sizes can increase when the Allow fast saves feature is turned on.
How do I change the setting of the "Allow fast saves" feature?
On the Tools menu, click Options. On the Save tab, click to select or clear the Allow fast saves check box, and then click OK.
NOTE: By default, the Allow fast saves feature is not selected in this version of Microsoft Word. However, the default setting is different in earlier versions of Word.
When does Word perform a fast save?
When the Allow fast saves feature is selected, Word may perform a fast save when you save changes to your document. When you click Save (or on the File menu, click Save), Word may perform a fast save or a full save of your document.
When does Word perform a full save?
Word performs a full save of a document when any of the following events occur:
On the 15th fast save of a document. Word normally performs 14 fast save operations before it performs a full save.
When you click Save and many edits have been made in the document.
NOTE: There is no way to determine or change the number of edits in a document. As changes are appended to the end of the physical document file, it reaches a point where the physical document needs to be rewritten so that, once again, the changes to the file can be incorporated back into the contents of the file in the specific location where the changes were made.
When you click Save and the Allow fast saves check box is not selected (turned off).
When you save the document in another format, such as Rich Text Format (RTF).
Why should I let Word do a fast save?
If you turn on the Allow fast saves feature, Word appends any changes to the end of the document file rather than re-writing the entire file. The Allow fast saves feature thus takes less time than a full save of the document. The difference in time is only noticeable when you are working on very large documents.
When should I not use the "Allow fast saves" feature?
If you will be sharing a document containing sensitive information that has been deleted, you should force Word to do a full save of your document. To force Word to do a full save, turn off the Allow fast saves feature, and then click Save.For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
287081 WD2002: Opening File in Text Editor Displays Deleted Text
When I am working on a document from a network location, why does Word seem to take the same amount of time to save the document, regardless of how I have the "Allow fast saves" feature set?
This functionality is by design. Fast saves cannot be performed over a network. If the Allow fast saves feature is turned on, Word ignores this feature when you save a document over a network.
When I turn on the "Always create backup copy" feature, why is the Allow fast saves feature turned off?
A backup copy of a document cannot be saved (created) when Word performs a fast save of a document. When you click Always create backup copy, Word automatically turns off the Allow fast saves feature. Consequently, when you select Allow fast saves, Word automatically turns off the Always create backup copy feature, if it is selected.
What is the "Allow background saves" feature?
This feature saves documents in the background, so you can continue working in Word while you save a document (with full save or fast save). A pulsing disk icon appears in the status bar when Word is performing either a full save or a fast save in the background.
NOTE: The Allow background saves feature is selected (turned on) by default in this version of Word; however, this feature is turned off by default in earlier versions of Word.