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

    31 comments

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      • CJCJ 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!!

      • FrankFrank commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I hate this update. It removes the ability to sort by last saved date as all my old files are now the latest!! Let us choose when we want this on, not active by default

      • Shawn KeeneShawn Keene commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You can always roll back any changes you want, at any time. Yes it only works if the file is stored in the cloud, but autosave can ONLY be used when stored in the cloud. In short, it only autosaves when there's a safety net, so you lose no ability.

      • IvoIvo commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Very deleterious feature.
        -Increased crashing events from once every fortnight to twice a day. Now I need Autosave to protect me form Autosave!!!

        -sometimes spreadsheets in the background appear in the foreground for a split second. Why?

        -updates timestamp the moment you open the file. I need the timestamp to be accurate for certain tax code requirements.

        -So much for collaboration. I used to trust my colleagues to use my files as reference or template, but not messing with them. Now I'm compressing (zip) some sensitive files, so any change has to be deliberate.

        Excel use is quite different form Word or Powerpoint.
        checking some data, perform quick calculations on old sets of data, running a VBA, performing several 'what ifs' before committing to a certain strategy, etc. None of those require to autosave.

        by the way. How often do you collaborate real time on the same file?

      • Ben PrattBen Pratt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Besides everything already stated - now simply opening the file changes the Modified Date after a few seconds. Terrible!

      • Niek OttenNiek Otten commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This "feature"is disastrous for me. And it has been introduced in a sneeky way; I don't know how long it has been in effect without me knowing.
        Unfortunately, it is unclear to me what happenen to my vote. Did I vote for or against it?

      • Aaron MargosisAaron Margosis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Ed, that works great as long as you notice that something was saved that you don't want to save. See Ken's note ten minutes prior to yours. The problem is that whenever you do *anything* in Excel - move to a different cell, switch to a different tab, apply a filter, etc., you are changing the file and the changes are automatically saved. That is unexpected and unpleasant, at best.

      • Ed HansberryEd Hansberry commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I've been using this for a few months in the Office Fast Ring and generally like it. If it does save something I don't want it to, I just revert to a previous save. Takes about 2 seconds. OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, and Sharepoint (which includes Office 365 Groups and Teams) save iterative backups as it saves.

      • Ken PulsKen Puls commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        So far in the first 3 hours of work today, I’d estimate about 25% of it is undoing changes that I realized that Auto Save has been saving. As I’m creating “before and after” files regularly, this is a major PITA. Never mind that it kills the "super undo" of closing without saving changes when you run VBA routines!

        I’m so frustrated with this setting. I feel like I’m overwriting files with unwanted changes hourly, and am really worried about the ones I’m not noticing. Timestamps on files changing when I just open the files and make no changes… It’s destroyed my confidence in my data and files. You have no idea how many times I’ve restored files from Sharepoint to keep those timestamps. (I’ve recently had to fight a copyright battle and the timestamp of the Power Point file was a key piece.)

        Sadly, I’d generally like sharing on for Word and Power Point (barring the issue of the timestamps changing when you don’t save any changes), but I just can’t risk the Excel damage any longer.

        All I need is a master switch to turn it off for all Excel files by default. (This setting should be configurable on an app by app basis.) I’ll turn it on for the few workbooks I want to co-author

        I’ve tried so hard to give this a chance. I’ve tried to get used to it. It’s not like the Ribbon, where it’s just a new paradigm, this feature is actively damaging my business and productivity.

        For the love of… PLEASE someone address this!

      • CJCJ commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        AGREE!!! AutoRecover and AutoSave are completely different functions! Office crashes too often and Autorecover allows you to retrieve work done since the last save, YOUR CHOICE. Great idea. AUTOSAVE ON THE OTHER HAND OVERWRITES YOUR FILE WHETHER YOU WANT IT TO OR NOT. Please correct this and make it an OPTION...a GLOBAL OPTION. (This feature caused me LOTS of trouble because at first I didn't notice it was added to a release and enabled).

      • Charles BrownCharles Brown commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yes I need a system default setting where I can enable or disable AutoSave for Excel. It is disastrous for me as it presently is functioning.

      • Frank RotoloFrank Rotolo commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Liam, ha ha, your post is funny.. why not just rely on windows file journaling ability to revert to the previous version, or just make a backup copy before making any changes?

      • Aaron MargosisAaron Margosis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @jamiet: I don't care whether autosave is on or off by default. What I want is a switch where I can configure the default FOR MY SYSTEM so that I don't have to switch it off for every document that I open. Right now autosave is always on, and there's not even a way to turn it off for a document without opening the document first.

      • jamietjamiet commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Disagree. Having Autosave=on should be the default. If you don't like it, change it.

      • konradkonrad commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Here is a suggestion:

        Let AutoSave save the changes in a hidden copy of the file. Once you close the file, you get the option of overwriting or "save as", or simply discard all changes. If excel crashed you still have the backup file as well as the auto-save file.

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