How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

AutoSave Master Switch rather than an "I Told YOu So!" later

Microsoft has added a new feature to help users co-author files. Whether you are for or against this feature is not my point here: it needs Excel's AutoSave switched on to work. That's fine. But it shouldn't be the default. It is accepted that Office is trying to make various apps consistent, but Excel is used differently. What makes it the most popular software in the world is the ability to experiment without consequences.

Made a mistake? No fear, close without saving and re-open. Accidentally delete a sheet? Don't worry, close without saving and re-open. Replaced all formulae with =RAND()? Etc etc.

For those working in the Cloud, yes you can restore earlier versions - when it works. But many don't. And some can't (no internet, company policies, etc.).

What does the new setting mean? Make a mistake? You're stuffed. Fed up of re-doing files? Tough. Where is my earlier version of Excel? I will go back to it and to heck with Office 365. Yes, AutoSave as default is going to hurt people. Including Microsoft's strategies to adopt O365.

Please vote for this. All I want is a master switch where the default setting for AutoSave is off, so if things go wrong, you only have yourselves to blame. It's not asking too much, is it..?

Don't come here and vote when you have realised it's a good idea, do it now so you don't pay the consequences. Please... For all our sakes!!

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    Liam Bastick shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    50 comments

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      • Scott commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Here is the procedure we wrote to describe the Auto Save disabling steps:

        Disabling Autosave Procedures

        Follow the steps below to disable the autosave feature in Excel:
        1. Type “Regedit” in your computer’s Cortana search bar
        2. Select “Yes” in the popup window
        3. Select the “Computer” dropdown
        4. Select the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” dropdown
        5. Select the “Software” dropdown
        6. Select the “Microsoft” dropdown
        7. Select the “Office” dropdown
        8. Select the “16.0” dropdown
        9. Select the “Excel” dropdown
        10. Right click in the right-hand side of the window in the area showing the registry commands and select the word “New”
        11. Select the “DWORD (32-Bit) Value” option
        12. Type “DontAutoSave” in the text box and press Return
        13. Right click on the word “DontAutoSave” and select Modify
        14. Change the Value data to 1 and select the OK button

        Follow the steps below to disable the autosave feature in Word:
        1-8. Follow the same steps listed above
        9. Select the “Word” dropdown
        10. Right click in the right-hand side of the window in the area showing the registry commands and select the word “New”
        11. Select the “DWORD (32-Bit) Value” option
        12. Type “DontAutoSave” in the text box and press Return
        13. Right click on the word “DontAutoSave” and select Modify
        14. Change the Value data to 1 and select the OK button

        Follow the steps below to disable the autosave feature in PowerPoint:
        1-8. Follow the same steps listed above
        9. Select the “PowerPoint” dropdown
        10. Right click in the right-hand side of the window in the area showing the registry commands and select the word “New”
        11. Select the “DWORD (32-Bit) Value” option
        12. Type “DontAutoSave” in the text box and press Return
        13. Right click on the word “DontAutoSave” and select Modify
        14. Change the Value data to 1 and select the OK button

        I hope this will be helpful.

      • Scott commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        A Microsoft technical support person walked me through the changes to my computer's registry to disable Auto Save for Excel, Word and PowerPoint. (I can provide more detailed instructions than those referenced by the link in the above article if anyone needs them.) I feel the Auto Save feature has the potential to destroy a great many files for people who tend to open files, make changes, and then use the Save As command to save them for different periods, clients, and customers. I believe Microsoft should provide a simpler way to disable this feature (or provide functionality to undo all Auto Save changes to files that are later saved with different file names).

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I have tons of financials I work with daily and do many what if's by opening and not saving. This will be a nightmare to turn off auto save for every single file. It would be much better to have a global setting.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Thanks for the heads-up on how to disable Autosave. It seems to be working for me as well.
        However, it isn't really a substitute for a properly implemented in-application option. It has disabled AutoSave completely - as far as I can there is no way now to reinstate it for an individual workbook. Also it requires registry editing, which is not ideal for most users.
        We need an option to set the global AutoSave option to "Off", not "On" as at present. Users could then re-enable the feature for workbooks where they felt it was appropriate without all the trouble that the current situation is bringing. The feature itself is welcome, as far as I am concerned. It's the "Always On by default" implementation that is flawed.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I need to sort by date create, and this autosave totally ruins it.
        PLEASE DISABLE OR GIVE ME THE OPTION TO DISABLE IT

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is perhaps the most destructive "feature" I have ever encountered.

        What-if changes are being immediately written to files, as are mistakes. The "Date Modified" timestamp is now meaningless, as files are being unnecessarily resaved when simply opened for reference. I am encountering frequent failures to saved to OneDrive, especially on files opened and closed quickly. These failures are time consuming to recover from, as Excel is offering only the options to Save a Copy or Discard Changes.

        In addition, because the "feature" has fundamentally changed the behaviour of a core function - document saving - users are inevitably going to make mistakes. You cannot unlearn decades old habits overnight.

        A Global Autosave Disable function is urgently required

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please create a global AutoSave disable feature. This is a disastrous feature in an organization that has templates used by many employees. Inadvertent keystrokes are immediately saved that impact the functionality of the document. Extrapolate this to multiple users simply navigating a document and standardized templates are destroyed. There is no way or restoring a document or spreadsheet to its original version. It is inconceivable and impractical that there is no way to globally disable this function.

      • fmjhfv commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "What If" changes are made permanent instantly, which doesn't match the decades of training that user's have experienced with their desktop application ("Want to Save you Changes?").

        This autosave feature has already cost our company over $10K in shipping costs due to Autosave overwrites from users simply investigating "What If" calculations. If their was a way to globally turn off the feature, we would stay. I'm coordinating with our IT dept to switch to another cloud like Dropbox.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is a potential hazard that will be enforced by the folks in corporate IT departments that never use Excel for real work. They will say it must be good because it came from Microsoft. You have the fragile psyche of countless millennials in your hands, make the default off; the life you save may be a co-worker.

      • Bob Umlas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        No way to turn off Autosave is a ridiculous and frustrating setting! But there IS a way to close without saving: Ctrl/Alt/Delete & kill Excel!! Yay!

      • Sarah commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Major flaws:

        1: Updates timestamps when you open a file, not when you edit it (!!!!!!!!!)

        2: Easy to accidentally make changes to content that has already been finalized. I don't want people to have to save a copy of something every time they open a file. I want them to be able to look over the file and not worry if they click something.

        3: Makes it harder to keep track of versions.

        I think Microsoft is aware of this complaint, as they added a note to their page. "NOTE: Do you use File > Save As after making changes to an original document or template? If so, we recommend using..."

        Please add an option where we can turn off autosave for all Office products!

        Disastrous for my small business.

      • CJ commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please microsoft correct this train wreck. Onedrive was the best thing ever and now because you made autosave a default in excel I have lost data, saved files with stuff I never intended to save, and as he said above, I have to remember to click off IMMEDIATELY but nonetheless the file has autosaved with a new time/date. I MOSTLY CAN'T BELIEVE YOU COMPLETELY CHANGED SOMETHING SO FUNDAMENTAL AS THE WAY FILES ARE SAVED WITHOUT INFORMING US BEFORE WE LOST DOZENS OF HOURS, DATA, WORK, CREATIVITY. AND NOT OFFERING IT AS AN OPTION AT THE VERY LEAST.
        If I did anything remotely like that to my customers they would have every right to demand refunds. We are paying customers.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Note: I'm the one who just commented about Autosave being complete dreck. My comment posted as anonymous, I guess because I don't have an account on the forum? Even though I had to provide an email address. Anyway, does anyone from Microsoft ever actually read this forum, or are we spitting in the wind? They've given us a consolidated location for venting, but does that really equal a consolidated place to ignore complainers?

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Horrible, terrible feature. Complete dreck. Is Microsoft that afraid of Google Sheets? I hate this feature in PowerPoint, as well, but it's not as disastrous. In Excel, I HAVE to be able to keep a record of when the file was last saved, and as soon as I open a cloud-based file in Excel, no matter how fast I press Off, Autosave still claims the file was last updated at the current date and time. I am really feeling quite violent toward the developers who added this feature, the product manager who signed off on it, and the manager who okayed spending money to code it. I need unmodified files to keep their last saved as date and time. Oh, and there's the way it bogs down my OneDrive account, too. Another classic case of Microsoft fixing something that wasn't broken, and creating a host of other problems.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Thank you for writing this. This feature is terrible. I use a lot of Excel templates I have created and when I forget to 'Save a Copy' (because of 20 years of not having to do this) I am now finding my templates are not blank!! The default should be "Off" and we can turn "On" when the user wants!!

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