How to Save a Document in Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

Saving documents in Windows 10 means to send the work you’ve just created to a hard drive, flash drive, or disc for safekeeping. Unless you specifically save your work, your computer thinks that you’ve just been fiddling around for the past four hours. You must specifically tell the computer to save your work before it will safely store it.

Thanks to Microsoft snapping leather whips, a Save command appears in nearly every Windows program no matter what programmer wrote it. Here are a few ways to save a file:

  • Click File on the top menu, choose Save, and save your document in your Documents folder or to your desktop for easy retrieval later. (Pressing the Alt key, followed by the F key and the S key, does the same thing.)

  • Click the Save icon.

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  • Hold down Ctrl and press the S key. (S stands for Save.)

If you’re saving something for the first time, Windows asks you to think up a name for your document. Type something descriptive using only letters, numbers, and spaces between the words. (If you try to use one of the illegal characters, the Windows Police step in, politely requesting that you use a different name.)

  • Choose descriptive filenames for your work. Windows gives you 255 characters to work with. A file named January 2015 Squeegee Sales is easier to locate than one named Stuff.

  • You can save files to any folder, CD, DVD, or even a flash drive. But files are much easier to find down the road when they stay in one of your four main folders: Documents, Music, Pictures, or Videos. (Those folders are listed on the left edge of every folder, making it easy to place files inside them.)

  • If you want to access your current file from other devices, perhaps your phone or tablet, save it to the Documents folder on OneDrive: Choose OneDrive from the Save window’s left edge and then choose the OneDrive Documents folder. Then click the Save button.

  • Most programs can save files directly to a CD or DVD. Choose Save from the File menu and choose your preferred drive from the right pane’s This PC section. Put a disc (preferably one that’s not already filled) into your disc-writing drive to start the process.

  • A few newer programs spare you the chore of clicking the Save button: They save your work automatically as you type. Microsoft’s OneNote note taking program and many Start menu apps save your work automatically, so they lack a Save button.

  • If you’re working on something important (and most things are important), click the program’s Save command every few minutes. Or use the Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut. (While holding down the Ctrl key, press the S key.) Programs make you choose a name and location for a file when you first save it; subsequent saves are much speedier.

Huh? Save as what? A chemical compound? Naw, the Save As command just gives you a chance to save your work with a different name and in a different location. Suppose that you open the Ode to Tina file and change a few sentences. You want to save your new changes, but you don’t want to lose the original words, either. Preserve both versions by selecting Save As and typing the new name, Tentative Additions to Ode to Tina.

When you’re saving something for the first time, the Save and Save As commands are identical: Both make you choose a fresh name and location for your work.

Perhaps more important, the Save As command also lets you save a file in a different format. You can save your original copy in your normal format, but you can also save a copy in a different format for a friend clinging to older software that requires a format from yesteryear.