Beware the Auto-Save!

by | Nov 22, 2018 | Collaboration | 0 comments

It saves all your edits and you may not know it!  It changes your original behind the scenes!  Run away, run away!

Just Kidding!

Content auto-save is a feature that automatically saves real time edits to Microsoft documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).   Auto-save was introduced with Office Online, and impacts files stored in Office 365 applications, such as OneDrive and SharePoint.

Users with automatic updates to their local Office applications (usually through SaaS subscription to Office 365) recently saw a change to their local office versions.   The auto-save feature displays in the upper-left hand corner in the Office menu (showing Word in this example):

What does this mean for me?

Now, regardless whether you utilize your locally-installed Office application or Office Online, auto-save is enabled when you open an Office document stored in O365.

I opened a word document stored in a SharePoint library using my local version of Word.  I now see the following setting for auto-save:

This means that as soon as I start editing the document, auto-save will save my changes using versioning control:

Sounds great, what’s the problem?

While auto-save brings the real time collaboration user experience using local Word to the same level as using Word Online, it does pose an issue.    The problem comes in when a document is used as a template for a new document.

Because of the auto-save feature, the original document is updated in near real time.   If the user then does the traditional “Save As” step and creates a new, separate document, the original document no longer displays the same content as it did when editing started.

You have a couple of options to resolve the issue:

  1. Disable auto-save at the start of the editing process. You can do this by clicking the auto-save slider and turning it off.
  2. If you already made changes, use Versioning control to restore your original to the current version:

Note: Auto-save is not turned on when editing an Office document you have stored on your local machine or network drive.

To learn more about the Auto-Save feature, you can read more at: or contact us at  We are happy to help!