Turn Off Auto Save in Excel

admin28 March 2023Last Update :

Mastering Excel: Disabling Auto Save for Full Control Over Your Spreadsheets

Microsoft Excel is a powerhouse tool for data analysis, financial modeling, and a myriad of other tasks that require precision and control. One of the features designed to protect your work is Auto Save. While this feature can be a lifesaver in many scenarios, there are times when you might want to turn it off to maintain manual control over your document saving process. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of disabling Auto Save in Excel, ensuring that you have the knowledge to manage your spreadsheets exactly how you want.

Understanding Auto Save in Excel

Before we dive into the steps to turn off Auto Save, let’s understand what Auto Save is and why it’s a part of Excel. Auto Save is a feature that automatically saves your work at regular intervals. This means that if you encounter a system crash or power failure, you’re less likely to lose significant amounts of work. However, this convenience can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

Why You Might Want to Disable Auto Save

There are several reasons why an Excel user might want to disable the Auto Save feature:

  • Intentional Experimentation: You may be testing different scenarios or running what-if analyses and don’t want changes to be saved automatically.
  • Large Files: For very large spreadsheets, Auto Save can slow down performance as it saves the file.
  • Shared Workbooks: If you’re working on a shared file, you might not want to save changes that could affect other users until you’re certain of the edits.
  • Control Over Versions: You may prefer to have complete control over when a new version of your document is created.

Now that we’ve covered why you might want to turn off Auto Save, let’s get into the how.

Step-by-Step Guide to Disabling Auto Save in Excel

Disabling Auto Save in Excel is a straightforward process, but the steps can vary slightly depending on the version of Excel you’re using and whether you’re working with a file stored on your local machine or on OneDrive or SharePoint.

For Excel Files on Your Local Machine

If you’re working with files stored locally on your computer, here’s how to disable Auto Save:

  1. Open the Excel file you want to work with.
  2. Click on the File tab to go to the backstage view.
  3. Select Options to open the Excel Options dialog box.
  4. In the Excel Options dialog box, click on the Save category on the left side.
  5. Under the Save workbooks section, you will find the Auto Save options. Uncheck the box labeled “Save AutoRecover information every x minutes”.
  6. Click OK to apply the changes and close the dialog box.

By following these steps, you’ve disabled Auto Save for the current workbook. Remember, this change will only apply to the workbook you have open; it won’t affect other workbooks.

For Files Stored on OneDrive or SharePoint

For files stored on OneDrive or SharePoint, the process is slightly different due to the integration with the cloud and the Auto Save feature being more prominent.

  1. Open the Excel file from OneDrive or SharePoint.
  2. Look at the top-left corner of the Excel window, you should see the Auto Save toggle switch.
  3. Click on the switch to turn Auto Save off. It should change from being highlighted to greyed out.

This action turns off Auto Save for the document you’re currently working on. However, it’s important to note that this setting is specific to the document and will not affect other documents or the default Auto Save settings.

Advanced Considerations When Turning Off Auto Save

While turning off Auto Save can be beneficial in certain situations, it’s essential to consider the implications of doing so. Without Auto Save, the responsibility of manually saving your work falls entirely on you. It’s crucial to develop a habit of frequently saving your work to prevent data loss.

Creating Manual Save Habits

To mitigate the risks of disabling Auto Save, consider adopting the following practices:

  • Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + S to quickly save your progress.
  • Set reminders for yourself to save your work at regular intervals.
  • Utilize version history features to keep track of changes over time.

Understanding AutoRecover

It’s important to distinguish between Auto Save and AutoRecover. AutoRecover is a separate feature that saves a backup copy of your workbook at regular intervals. Even if you disable Auto Save, you may want to keep AutoRecover enabled to protect against unexpected crashes or power outages.

FAQ Section

Will disabling Auto Save affect all my Excel files?

No, disabling Auto Save in one Excel file does not affect other files. If you turn off Auto Save for a file stored on OneDrive or SharePoint, it only applies to that specific document.

Can I set different Auto Save intervals for different Excel files?

Yes, you can set different Auto Save intervals for different files by accessing the Save options in the Excel Options dialog box for each file.

Is there a way to recover unsaved work if Auto Save is turned off?

If Auto Save is turned off but AutoRecover is enabled, you may still recover unsaved work from the AutoRecover files. Excel typically prompts you to recover these files when you reopen the application after an unexpected shutdown.

Does disabling Auto Save improve Excel’s performance?

Disabling Auto Save can improve performance for large or complex spreadsheets, as it reduces the frequency of automatic disk writes that can slow down the application.

How can I ensure my work is safe if I turn off Auto Save?

To ensure your work is safe without Auto Save, develop a habit of saving frequently, enable AutoRecover, and consider using additional backup solutions like external drives or cloud storage services.


Turning off Auto Save in Excel can be beneficial for users who require full control over their saving process or who are working with large and complex spreadsheets. While it comes with the need for increased diligence in saving work manually, it can also lead to improved performance and a more tailored workflow. By understanding the steps to disable Auto Save and implementing good saving habits, you can ensure that your Excel experience is both efficient and secure.

Remember, while Auto Save is a helpful feature, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Excel gives you the flexibility to choose how and when your work is saved, empowering you to make the best decision for your specific needs.


For further reading and more in-depth information on managing Excel’s saving features, consider exploring the following resources:

By leveraging these resources and the insights provided in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to manage your Excel files with confidence and precision.

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