How to Perform a Basic Save in OS X Mavericks

When you save a file, you’re committing a copy to a disk. OS X Mavericks’ Resume feature automatically reopens all windows that were onscreen when you quit the app. So, when you launch the app again, all the windows are reopened in the same position onscreen as when you quit. Best of all, Resume seems to work with most third-party apps.

The keyboard shortcut for Save in almost every Mac program is Command+S. Memorize it. See it in your dreams. Train your finger muscles to do it unconsciously. Use it (the keyboard shortcut) or lose it (your unsaved work).

The process is the same whether your app supports Auto Save and Versions or not. It’s only after the initial save that Auto Save and Versions come into play.

If you’re going to follow along, please launch the TextEdit program now (it’s in your Applications folder), click the New Document button or choose File→New, and type a few words on the Untitled page that appears after you launch it.

  1. In the Save As field, type a name for your file.

    When a Save sheet appears for the first time, the Save As field is active and displays the name of the document. The document name (usually, Untitled) is selected; when you begin typing, the name disappears and is replaced by the name you type.

  2. If the Where pop-up menu lists the location where you want to save your file, choose that location and proceed to Step 5; if not, click the disclosure button.

    You can choose from a short list of folders and volumes listed in the basic Save sheet’s Where pop-up menu (which are the same devices and favorites you see in the Sidebar of Finder windows). Or, if you click the disclosure button (triangle), the sheet expands so that you can navigate folders just as you do in the Finder: by opening them to see their contents.

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    If you clicked the Save button instead of pulling down the Where menu, your file will be saved to iCloud, Apple’s free online storage service.

    If you switch to expanded view by clicking the disclosure button, the Where pop-up menu shows the path to the folder the file will be saved in.

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    Switch between the basic and expanded Save sheets a few times by clicking the disclosure button. Make sure that you see and understand the difference between what you see in the Where menu in a basic Save sheet and what you see in the Where menu in an expanded Save sheet.

  3. To find the folder where you want to save your file, choose among views by clicking the Icon, List, Column, or Cover Flow view button.

    (The buttons look like their counterparts in Finder windows.) In icon view, you double-click a folder to open it. List and Cover Flow views offer disclosure triangles for folders and disks, so single-click the disclosure triangles of folders to see their contents. In column view, you click an item on the left to see its contents on the right, just as you do in a column-view Finder window.

    You can also use the Forward and Back buttons or the Sidebar, both available only in an expanded Save dialog, to conveniently navigate your disk. You can enlarge the Save sheet to see more the same way you enlarge a Finder window: Drag an edge or corner of the sheet.

  4. Select the folder where you want to save your file in the Where pop-up menu or Sidebar.

  5. If you want to create a new subfolder of the selected folder to save your file in, click the New Folder button, give the new folder a name, and then save your file in it.

    Here is an existing folder named Novels. You can tell that it’s selected because its name is displayed in the Where menu and highlighted below that in the first column.

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    The keyboard shortcut for New Folder is Shift+Command+N, regardless of whether you’re in a Save sheet or the Finder.

  6. In the File Format pop-up menu, make sure the format selected is the one you want.

  7. If you want to turn off the display of file extensions (such as .rtf, .pdf, and .txt) in Save sheets, select the Hide Extension check box.

  8. Double-check the Where pop-up menu one last time to make sure that the correct folder is selected; then click the Save button to save the file to the active folder.

    If you click Save, the file appears in the folder you selected. If you change your mind about saving this file, clicking Cancel dismisses the Save sheet without saving anything anywhere. In other words, the Cancel button returns things to the way they were before you displayed the Save sheet.

When you use apps that don’t support Auto Save and Versions, get into the habit of pressing Command+S often. It can’t hurt — and just might save your bacon someday.

The Save sheet for TextEdit as an example. In programs other than TextEdit, the Save sheet might contain additional options, fewer options, or different options, and therefore may look slightly different. The File Format menu, for example, is a feature specific to TextEdit; it might not appear in other applications’ Save sheets. Don’t worry. The Save sheet always works the same way, no matter what options it offers.

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