How often is Excel AutoSave?


Like most people, you can use Excel for serious tasks, like school or work projects. So the file you are working on is very important. If something goes wrong, like a power outage, or if you accidentally close a document, there is no reason to panic.

Office 365 has an automatic save option, which saves your Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files every few seconds. Office 2016 and earlier versions of the suite have an AutoRecover option, which allows you to recover files that were not saved correctly.


Read on and find out more about Excel AutoSave and AutoRecover functions.

Excel Auto Save

If you subscribe to Office 365, your Office files will be automatically saved with the Auto save option. This option is active by default, and you can see it in the upper left corner of your Excel window. Automatic saving will save files directly to your Microsoft Cloud OneDrive or SharePoint Online account.

You can disable this option by moving the slider. If the AutoSave icon is gray, your file will most likely be saved to a location other than the cloud (for example, a local folder on your computer or server).

In general, you want the Auto Save option to turn on at any time because you never know when you will need it. You can't plan for situations like underpowered, or accidentally closing Excel.

If you're wondering how often Excel AutoSave is, the default time is every ten minutes. You can change these settings, although the process will be explained after the Self-recovery section because the paths for Office 365 and earlier versions are the same.

Auto save problem

Although the AutoSave function is very useful all the time, some users complain about problems. The problem arises when you try to save a file using Save As and you have the Auto save option turned on.

Any changes you make before using the Save As command will update the original file, even if you don't want to. Using the Save As function and giving the new file a different name can cause problems and confusion.

People complain about this and Microsoft listens. In Office 365 programs, including Excel, Microsoft introduced the new Save Copy feature. This feature helps you avoid mistakes with AutoSave. Now the file can be saved exactly as you like, without making changes to the original.

Excel Self Recovery

AutoSave is not a thing in previous Office installments. Excel 2016 and earlier versions have an AutoRecover option, instead. This feature also serves as protection against unexpected circumstances that may delete your files.

For example, when Excel freezes due to lack of power, the next time you open it you will see the Document Recovery window. Then you can choose to recover the file or discard it. You will see the exact date and time of the file, so you can determine exactly what the file is.

If you lose many files, everything will be displayed. You can also click on one of them and preview it before deciding whether to save them or not. Tip: Keep the recovery time at the default time of ten minutes or make it shorter.

How to change automatic time saving and automatic recovery

Problems can arise at any time. If you are on a major project, it is best to plan a backup file. You don't want to lose your data which is why the Excel AutoSave or AutoRecover timer should be set to a minimum.

Here is how you can change the AutoSave and AutoRecover timers (the same path for all versions of Excel):

  1. Open Excel on your computer.
  2. Click on the File menu in the upper left corner of the screen.
  3. Select Options from the dropdown menu.
  4. Click the Save tab on the left.
    Excel Save
  5. You can choose the file format and enable / disable the Auto Save / Retrieve option here. Make sure the check box next to Auto Save / Auto Recovery is checked, and also the following: "Save the latest version of auto save if I close it without saving."
  6. Specify how often AutoSave or AutoRecover will store information (enter numbers from 1 to 120, time is measured in minutes).

Don't lose data

Losing an excel file you've been working on for hours is a nightmare. That happens to everyone, at least once. You don't need to worry about that anymore, just turn on AutoSave and AutoRecover, and you're safe.

The Self Recovery Timer can only be set to 1 minute, please note this could affect the performance of your Excel. Still, you may not realize the difference. This feature is too beneficial to ignore.

How are your timers organized for AutoRecover and AutoSave? Do you need this feature? Let us know in the comment section, we love to hear from you.

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