Use Excel keyboard shortcuts to quickly save your work

  1. Save early, save often!
  2. Use Excel Save Shortcuts
  3. Save for the first time
  4. Save often
  5. Pin location
  6. Save Excel sheets as PDF
  7. Save the active worksheet as PDF
  8. Save the entire book as PDF
  9. Automatically save to OneDrive

Save early, save often!

You’ve put a lot of work into your Excel spreadsheet, don’t let it slip because you forgot to save it. Use these tips to keep your work safe for the next time you need that important file. If you want to share your work, save the book as a PDF.

The instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Excel for Office 365 and Excel for Mac.

Use Excel Save Shortcuts

There are three ways to save a file in Excel:

  • Select File Save as † Select in Excel 2019 File Keep a copy

  • Select Save on the Quick Access Toolbar.

  • Use hotkey ctrl s

If you’re on a Mac, use the Command key instead of the Control key.

If the file has been saved before, the pointer changes to an hourglass icon while saving. When the book is saved for the first time, a dialog box opens. Save as

Save for the first time

When the file is saved for the first time, the dialog box appears Save as required two pieces of information. Enter a name for the file and select a location where it will be saved.

File names can be up to 255 characters long, including spaces.

Save often

Using Ctrl + S is an easy way to save data. Use this shortcut regularly, at least every five minutes, to avoid data loss.

Pin location

If you regularly open certain files or folders in Excel, you can pin them to the list of recently opened files. This makes the location easily accessible at the top of the recent list.

The number of places that can be pinned is not limited. To pin a save location:

  1. To pin a folder, select File Save as. Except for Excel 2019 where you choose File Keep a copy † The Save As window opens.

    To pin a book, select File Open

  2. Select recent and on the right side of the window, hover over the book or folder you want to pin. A small horizontal pushpin image appears.

  3. Select pin for this location. The folder is moved to the pinned list and the horizontal button changes to a vertical one.

  4. To unpin a location, select vertical pressure pin to change it to horizontal and remove it from the pinned list.

Save Excel sheets as PDF

If you need a copy of a sheet or an entire workbook that no one can edit and anyone can view, convert or save Excel files as PDF. A PDF (Portable Document Format) file allows others to view documents without having to install an original program, such as Excel, on their computers. Instead, users open the file with a free PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Save the active worksheet as PDF

When saving a file as PDF, only the current or active sheet is saved by default (sheet on screen).

To save an Excel sheet as PDF:

  1. Select File

  2. Select Save as to open the Save As window. Select in Excel 2019 Keep a copy

  3. Choose the location where you want to save the file.

  4. Enter a name for the file.

  5. Select down arrow Save as type

  6. Scroll through the list and find pdf (*.pdf)

  7. Select Save to save the file as PDF and close the window.

Save the entire book as PDF

The Save As option saves the current sheet as PDF only by default. Follow these steps to save the entire workbook as a PDF:

  1. Select File Save as † Select in Excel 2019 File Keep a copy

  2. Select Overview to open the Save As dialog box.

  3. Select Save as type to open the drop-down list and select PDF † The Options button appears in the Save As dialog box.

  4. Select parameters: to open the Options dialog box.

  5. Select whole book in the ‘What to post’ section.

  6. Select Okay to return to the Save As dialog box.

  7. Select Save to save the book as a PDF and close the dialog box.

Automatically save to OneDrive

If you use Microsoft Office 365, Excel automatically saves your work when you choose to save files to your OneDrive cloud storage account. When your files are saved to OneDrive, documents are automatically saved every few seconds, so you don’t have to constantly select Save or use keyboard shortcuts.

For the AutoSave feature to work, save your documents to a folder in your OneDrive folder. The autosave feature will not work with any location on your PC or Mac.

If you have Office 365 and have your files saved to OneDrive, turn on autosave by selecting the toggle switch at the top left of your Excel screen. When it’s on, the switch will say “On”. To disable the feature and manually save your work, change it to Off.

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