How to Save Files from OS X Yosemite

By Bob LeVitus

Here’s how saving a file works in OS X Yosemite. When you choose to save a file for the first time (choose File→Save or press Command+S), a Save sheet appears in front of the document that you’re saving. This is a basic Save sheet (as opposed to an expanded Save sheet):

1In 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.

2If 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 (the one with the little V on the right of the Save As field).

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 on the right of the Save As field, the sheet expands so that you can navigate folders just as you do in the Finder: by opening them to see their contents.

If you click the Save button shown on the left, your file will be saved to Cloud Drive, Apple’s free online storage service. Or you can choose another location from the Where menu.

3Switch to expanded view by clicking the disclosure button (the one with the little down-pointing V on the right of the Save As field).

A standard Save sheet appears so you can save your file in any folder you like.

Note that the Where menu in the expanded Save sheet on the right doesn’t have Favorites, but instead displays the path to the folder the file will be saved in (Documents). The Where menu should be the same in both basic and expanded Save sheets, as it was before OS X 10.5 Leopard.

It seems more confusing to have the contents of this menu change based on whether the Save sheet is expanded or not.

For what it’s worth, Favorites are still available in an expanded Save sheet, but instead of being in the Where menu, they’re in the sidebar.

4To make it easier to find the folder you want to save your file into, 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. Many of these navigation aids work just like the ones in the Finder. 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.

5Select the folder where you want to save your file in the Where pop-up menu or Sidebar.

If you can’t find the folder in which you want to save your document, type the folder name in the Search box. It works just like the Search box in a Finder window. You don’t even have to press Return; the Save sheet updates itself to show you only items that match the characters as you typed them.

6If 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, an existing folder named Novels was selected. You can tell that it’s selected because its name is displayed in the Where menu and highlighted below that in the first column.

The selected folder is where your file will be saved.

The keyboard shortcut for New Folder is Shift+Command+N, regardless of whether you’re in a Save sheet or the Finder. If you want to create a new folder inside the Novels folder, you could click the New Folder button or press the shortcut.

7In the File Format pop-up menu, make sure the format selected is the one you want.

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.

Note that this option isn’t available in the Basic save sheet; it’s only available when the Save sheet is expanded.

8Double-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.

After you save a file for the first time, choosing File→Save or pressing Command+S won’t bring up a Save sheet. Instead, what happens next depends on whether the app supports Yosemite’s Auto Save and Versions.

If the app doesn’t support Auto Save and Versions, Save and its shortcut (Command+S), merely resave your document in the same location and with the same name. If you want to save a unique version with a different name you choose the Save As command and save the file under a new name.