MS Word

Save All Open Documents at Once

The Problem:

I've got a stack of documents open. Why must I save changes to them one by one? Where's the Save All command when you need it?

The Solution:

It's hiding. Shift-click the File menu, and then click Save All. Don't press Alt+Shift+F to display the File menu: that doesn't work, and the key combination might be assigned to a command or a macro.

If you find Shift-clicking the File menu awkward, put the Save All command directly on a menu or toolbar. Choose Tools » Customize, click the Commands tab, and verify that the appropriate template is selected in the "Save in" drop-down list. With the File item selected in the Categories listbox, scroll down the Commands list to the Save All item, and then drag it to the menu or toolbar of your choice. Shift-click the File menu and choose Save All to make sure that the changes to the template get saved.


Checking the "Always create backup copy" box on the Save tab of the Options dialog box ensures that you will always have a backup copy of the document you're working with. This backup is a copy of the next-to-last saved version of the document, so it's not necessarily the same as the current saved version of the file.

You can't make the backup copy exactly the same as the current version by saving the file twice in succession (for example, by pressing Ctrl+S twice), because Word will save the document only when it is "dirty"that is, when it contains unsaved changes. After the first save, the document is clean until you change it. Still, by saving your documents frequently, you can keep the backup copies very close to the current versions.

When Word saves a document and fast saving is turned off, Word actually saves the current document to a temporary file in the same folder as the active document. When the save is complete, Word either deletes or renames the previously saved version of the file, freeing up the file's "real" name, and then renames the temporary file with the real name.

Word performs this apparently unnecessary shuffle to reduce the possibility of losing changes to the file while the save operation is happening. This loss is unlikely to occur but can be catastrophic if it doesthe entire document may be corrupted.

If you check the "Always create backup copy" checkbox, Word renames the previously saved version of the file as the backup copy rather than deleting it. The temporary files can provide a safety net if your document gets badly mangled.

Word's fast-saving feature appends the latest changes to the end of the file instead of writing a whole new file, so it doesn't work with the "Always create backup copy" option.