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Saving Everything

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Saving Everything.

Judith was having a problem with users who would fail to save their work, and even upon exiting the program would still not save. This resulted in frustrated users and an even more frustrated support department.

Of course, one response to the problem is to simply point out that it is silly not to save, and the users should suffer for their own oversight. After all, Word asks you if you want to save before tossing out your document when exiting.

That being said, there is a way that saving everything can be approached, and that approach is fundamentally different than the way Word works by default. The new approach would involve securing a file name when a document is created. Thus, if you choose to create a document, Word asks for a file name and immediately saves the empty file using that name. Then, whenever you exit the program or close the document, Word automatically saves the current condition of the file—it can do this because it has already secured the file name.

In order to implement such a system, there are two special macros you would need to set up: AutoNew and AutoClose. The first macro, AutoNew, comes into play whenever a new document is created. The purpose of this macro is to prompt the user for a filename, and then save the document using that name. The following is an example of a macro that will do just that:

Sub AutoNew()
    Dim sMyFile As String

    On Error Resume Next
    sMyFile = InputBox("File Name", " Save File ")

    With Dialogs(wdDialogFileSummaryInfo)
        .Title = sMyFile
        .Execute
    End With

    Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs).Show
End Sub

If you place this AutoNew macro in the Normal template (either Normal.dot or Normal.dotm, depending on your version of Word), then any time the user creates a new document it springs into action. (The only exception is when Word first starts and a new document is displayed.)

The second macro, AutoClose, is extremely simple. All it does is save the document, no questions asked:

Sub AutoClose()
    ActiveDocument.Save
End Sub

Now, whenever you exit, your changes are saved. If, for some reason, the document has not been named (for instance, the user started typing in the default document first displayed when Word starts), then the SaveAs dialog box is displayed and the user can provide a file name.

While it is possible to not save a document when using these macros, it is a much more cumbersome process. The result is that almost nothing is lost. This, of course, presents some interesting management challenges. For instance, disk space could soon become a very rare commodity. This means that you may need some policies on saving multiple document versions or on naming documents. This is but the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, as there are lots of other management issues relating to this approach.

Which brings up a whole different question: Which is worse—dealing with users who can't save a document on their own or dealing with users that are forced to save all documents? The answer, of course, will vary from company to company.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1469) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Saving Everything.

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