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How Often Does Excel AutoSave?

Posted by Arch on September 11, 2019
How often does excel autosave

Like most people, you probably use Excel for serious tasks, such as school or work projects. So, the files you are working on are very important. In case something goes wrong, like a power cut, or you close the document accidentally, there is no reason to panic.

Office 365 has the AutoSave option, which saves your Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files every few seconds. Office 2016 and older version of the suite have the AutoRecover option, which allows you to recover files which were not saved properly.

Read on and find out more about the Excel AutoSave and AutoRecover features.

Excel AutoSave

If you are subscribed to Office 365, your Office files will be saved automatically with the AutoSave option. This option is on by default, and you can see it in the top-left corner of your Excel window. AutoSave will save files directly to your OneDrive Microsoft Cloud account, or SharePoint Online.

You can toggle this option off by moving the slider. In case AutoSave icon is gray, your files are most likely saved to a location other than the cloud (e.g. a local folder on your computer or a server).

Generally, you want the AutoSave option enabled at all times because you never know when you will need it. You can’t plan for situations like power shortages, or closing Excel by mistake.

In case you were wondering how often does Excel AutoSave, the default time is every ten minutes. You can change this setting, though the process will be explained after the AutoRecover section since the paths for Office 365 and older versions are the same.

AutoSave Problem

Although the AutoSave feature is very useful at all times, there is a problem some users complained about. The problem arises when you try to save a file using Save As and have the AutoSave option enabled.

The changes you make prior to using the Save As command will update the original file, even if you don’t want that. If you use the Save As feature and name the new file something different than the original, it can cause problems and confusion.

People complained about this and Microsoft listened. In Office 365 programs, including Excel, Microsoft introduced a new Save a Copy feature. This feature helps you avoid mistakes with AutoSave. Now the files can be saved exactly as you intended, without making changes to the original.

Excel AutoRecover

AutoSave was not a thing in the previous installments of Office. Excel 2016 and earlier versions have the AutoRecover option, instead. This feature also serves as protection against unexpected circumstances which could delete your files.

For example, when Excel crashes due to a power shortage, the next time you open it you will see a Document Recovery window. You can then choose to recover the file or discard it. You will see the exact date and time of the file, so you can determine exactly what file it is.

If you lost multiple files, they will all be displayed. You can also click on any of them and preview them before deciding whether or not to keep them. A word of advice, keep the recovery time at the ten minute default time or make it even shorter.

How to Change the AutoSave and AutoRecover Timers

Problems can arise at any minute. If you are on an important project, it is best to plan for file backup. You don’t want to lose your data, which is why Excel AutoSave or AutoRecover timers should be set to minimum.

Here is how you can change the AutoSave and AutoRecover timers (the same path is the same for any version of Excel):

  1. Open Excel on your computer.
  2. Click on the File menu in the top-left corner of the screen.
    excel options
  3. Select Options from the dropdown menu.
  4. Click on the Save tab to the left.
    excel save
  5. You can choose the file format and enable or disable the AutoSave/AutoRecover options here. Make sure the checkbox next to AutoSave/AutoRecover is marked, as well as the one below – “Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving.”
  6. Specify how often will AutoSave or AutoRecover save information (enter a number from 1 to 120, the time is measured in minutes).

Don’t Lose Data

Losing an Excel file you have worked on for hours is a nightmare. It happened to everyone, at least once. You don’t have to worry about that anymore, just enable AutoSave and AutoRecover, and you will be safe.

The AutoRecover timer can be set to as little as 1 minute, just note that this might affect your Excel performance. Even so, you probably won’t even notice the difference. This feature is too beneficial to neglect.

How is your timer for AutoRecover and AutoSave set? Did you ever need this feature? Let us know in the comment section, we’re happy to hear from you.

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