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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 →

    60 comments

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      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Another reason to hate Autosave: I'm used to right clicking Excel in the taskbar to pull up a recently used file. This feature is now in effect disabled, because the listing shows all of the autosaves from the last used file.
        I still want to have the ability to recover any unsaved files from an app crash, but this constant autosaving causes me huge problems when I want to save a new version of the file as a completely new file and my original file has been saved over 20 times. Doesn't Microsoft do any consumer use testing?

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If you seriously want to turn off Autosave follow Scotts post below dated 18/11 - it works a treat & I have disabled our 10 PC's in the office.
        If you're not happy editing the registry, find someone who understands the registry to do it for you.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is insane! I regularly open a file to do a quick "what if" to the original file with the intention of not saving the file when closing it. But now that is no longer possible unless I first turn off auto save. OR

        Sometimes I'm deep into the work updating the file and something goes wrong so I may have originally opened the file to make a permanent change. Nope still stinks, instead of just closing the file and starting over (agreed lost some valuable work time) I still have to work around this auto save function. Microsoft, your taking the control away from us, GIVE IT BACK!!!

      • SC commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I'd actually like an option in options that not only turns it off for all workbooks, but hides the button from the toolbar. I never edit with online services such as OneDrive so this is just meaningless clutter for me.

      • Mike Honey commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Surely any change to a fundamental function affecting absolutely every user, that has worked the same way for 30 years should only be applied on an "opt-in" basis. In this case there's not even an "opt" !

        Its hard to believe this issue with such a huge, broad impact and a seemingly trivial resolution has remained unresolved for many months. Instead we got 3D models and pencil improvements - I'm sure these were massive development efforts and I'm also sure they will be used by a tiny percentage of Excel users.

      • AKMC 117 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        To be honest I'd prefer it as a setting tied to the workbook. There are SOME workbooks that it's useful for. For most of the books that I work on, though, the circumstances described by Liam apply exactly; I do not want the workbook saved until or unless I tell it that I want it saved to prevent corruption.

      • H Dum commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Konrad- that is essentially what previous versions did. If program shut down without saving, or asking if you wanted to save and telling it no, the next time you opened any file in the same program you'd get a message box on the left hand side of your document with a list of files had been opened and asked if you wanted the previously not saved copy or if you are done with it.

        What was wrong with that? IF IT'S NOT BROKE DON'T FIX IT!
        If you must, save it as a temporary file, don't overwrite mine. Oh, but that's what it used to do.
        Auto-save has it's uses, the idiot proofing, but auto-save with no settings is a gasoline truck being slammed by the train having just left the oil refinery when it jumps the tracks. It's not pretty when they jump the tracks.

        Auto-save with no changes to document means lost ability to archive files based on date, or use as reference
        Auto-save overwriting templates- might as well have deleted the option to create a template then. It's a template, you're not supposed to be able to save directly to it
        Auto-save kills laptop battery & times out the ability to do anything productive while it's saving. In the middle of formatting, and opps, never mind you don't get to work. Be reasonable with frequency. Give the user the option to change the frequency, not any different then the computer or the cell phone screen going to sleep.

        No, I don't want to save I copy. I don't want changes saved to both copies, I want to save as because version2 is different, but need to be able to reference version1, and when does anyone save anything before they start, let alone save as, which save a copy forces.

      • Benjamin Burde commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please disable autosave! Many of us use Excel for simple documents like price lists. Those have a timestamp that we need to remain the same. Autosave kills that and kills the functionality of Excel. Please don't punish your customers.

      • Andrew commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Scott A million thanks for posting those instructions! Excel is usable again!

      • Kristin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I agree, the default should be OFF, then if you want it on, you turn it on.
        This new feature has made it difficult when you use 1 template for many different excel docs. When you are an admin assistant to your boss and changes like this are made, you have to remind them to turn it off when opening the template or do a save as every time so that the template is not auto saved over. It has made using excel inefficient to use. ( I have save multiple copies of templates in different locations for that auto save reason!)

      • Andrew commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        To add to the many posts, autosave is a disaster for professional users. I would have thought this is obvious, but the development team could have found this out within an hour if they had asked anyone who uses Excel a lot.

        Developers: We aren't using Excel as a game to pass the time. It is a key tool to enable us to earn a living.

        Please just add a check-box under options: "Disable autosave for Excel". It really can't be hard.

      • 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

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