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: Modifying the Backup Copy File Name.

Modifying the Backup Copy File Name

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 4, 2017)

When you instruct Word to always make backup copies of your files, the backup files it creates differ from normal Word files in two ways. First, the filename extension is changed from DOC to WBK, and second, the words "Backup of" are added to the beginning of the filename. Thus, the backup copy of "MyDocument.doc" would be named "Backup of MyDocument.wbk."

For some people, it is an irritation to have Word add the "Backup of" prefix to backup files. It can make browsing through a folder display distracting as it creates quite a few files that all begin with the same letters.

Word does not provide a way that you can modify or remove this prefix from the filename. If you do most of your folder browsing in Word (for instance, in the Open dialog box), then there is something you can do to help alleviate the clutter caused by the backup files. All you need to do is make sure the Files of Type control, at the bottom of the Open dialog box, is set to Word Documents instead of one of the other options. This limits the display to only those files with names ending in DOC, which precludes any backup (WBK) files.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1711) 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: Modifying the Backup Copy File Name.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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