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!!
We have been listening to your feedback and are updating AutoSave with the ability to turn AutoSave off if desired. There are three patterns in this feedback thread that we are addressing now. The first pattern is that you want AutoSave off because you make temporary edits or hypothetical edits that you don’t want to save (we call this what-if analysis). The second pattern is that you start a new file from an existing file after making some changes to the existing file (like a Template or Invoice). The third is that sometimes the “Last Modified” timestamps are changing even when no edits were made.
In response to the feedback about a desire for AutoSave to be off by default due to temporary or hypothetical edits (what-if), we have added some new functionality and options for AutoSave:
1. You can turn AutoSave off for a specific file. While a document is open, clicking the AutoSave toggle disables AutoSave for the current document for that user. The next time the same user opens the document, AutoSave will be off. If they open a different document, AutoSave will not be affected by their choice in the other document.
2. To avoid accidental edits by others, the owner of a file can set it to Always Open Read-Only. This can be done by setting the file to open in Read-Only Recommended (File > Info > Protect Document/ Workbook/ Presentation > Always Open in Read-Only) or by Sharing the file without allowing others to edit (File > Share > People with the link can edit > Uncheck the “Allow Editing” box).
3. You can set AutoSave to be off by default for all files opened in that specific application (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) on that device. Go into File > Options > Save and uncheck the “AutoSave OneDrive and SharePoint Online files by default on Excel”
All of these solutions are described in more detail in this support article: support.office.com/en-us/article/what-it-ad..
In response to the feedback about Templates and Invoices, we are releasing a new dialog reminding you to “Save a Copy” prior to using an existing template if you want to save changes only in the new document.
To address the issue with last modified information changing unexpectedly, we have made some changes in how we determine if a file should be saved when it is opened. In all cases where a file isn’t edited or only “view” changes are made (such as changing selection or active sheet), no save will happen and the Last Modified fields will not change. We now also will not trigger AutoSave for some features that edit the file one open (such as volatile functions). We are still looking into other ways the timestamp changes to see if there are other places where we may be inadvertently updating it, so please let us know if you see any cases we missed.
You can also learn more about AutoSave in general and how to use it in this support article: support.office.com/en-us/article/what-is-au..
Let us know if you have any questions or comments on these changes or for AutoSave in general.
Excel Program Manager
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?
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.
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!!
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 Keene commented
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.
Stupid, stupid, stupid autosave
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 Pratt commented
Besides everything already stated - now simply opening the file changes the Modified Date after a few seconds. Terrible!
Niek Otten commented
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?
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 Hansberry commented
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 Puls commented
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!
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 Brown commented
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, you're missing the point. See my comments on this post for additional context.
Frank Rotolo commented
@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?
@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.
Disagree. Having Autosave=on should be the default. If you don't like it, change it.
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.
I simply do not understand Microsoft's policy to make important changes which afflict most (common) users. Users who are not aware of this 'new option' to disable it!
Why not asked the end users for their opinion?
It looks like an energy company switching from 110v to 220v, without notice.