by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 30, 2019)
Gary asked if it was possible to specify a location for Word to save backup files, if you have the "Always Create Backup Copy" setting turned on. That way he could more easily perform his backups of documents, without copying the backup copy in the backup. (Sounds like a tongue-twister, huh?)
The short answer is no, Word doesn't allow you to do that. The reason is quite simple, really—it has to do with file names. When you turn on the backup feature, Word saves backup files by appending or prepending some special text to your file name. In some versions of Word, the WBK filename extension is used instead of the familiar DOC. In other versions of Word, the DOC extension is used by Word adds the phrase "Backup of" to the beginning of the document name.
Let's say that you have two directories, and in each one you have different documents but each has the same name, as in MyLetter.doc. If you have backups turned on, and Word allows you to specify where the backups are placed, then the names for the backups of the two different files would be the same (either MyLetter.wbk or Backup of MyLetter.doc), and two files with the same name cannot be saved in the same folder. The solution is for Word to simply keep the backup copy of a document in the same folder as the original copy. That way, you don't run into naming conflicts at all.
But what if you are willing to take the risk of naming conflicts and you still want the backup files stored in a different location? In such a case, you are left to your own devices, and you can approach the problem in several different ways.
First, you could use a macro to save the backup for you, rather than relying on the backup feature within Word. The following macro, which is a replacement for the Save command, will save a backup copy of the document in both C:\Backups\ and the current directory.
Sub FileSave() Dim docName As Boolean Dim templateFullName As String docName = ActiveDocument.name Like "Document#*" templateFullName = ActiveDocument.FullName If docName = True Then Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs).Show Else ActiveDocument.SaveAs FileName:="C:\Backups\" _ & ActiveDocument.name, AddToRecentFiles:=False ActiveDocument.SaveAs FileName:=templateFullName End If End Sub
This macro does not save a backup when you save a file for the first time, only when you do a subsequent save. Saving will, of course, take twice as long as normal, since Word is actually doing two distinct saves. In addition, the macro doesn't use the WBK extension or the "Backup of" phrase on any of the files saved in C:\Backups\. Instead, the files are saved there as regular DOC files.
The second potential solution is to still use Word's backup feature, but periodically move all the backup files to their own directory. You can do that by following these general steps:
With the backup files in their own folder, you can then do whatever you want with them.
The third possible solution, particularly applicable when making backups, is to use WinZip to only archive files ending in DOC or WBK, as the desire may be.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1701) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.
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