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: Extra Document File Being Saved.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 4, 2020)
Tim noted that when he saves a document, Word also saves one that replaces the first two letters of the document name with ~$. For instance, if the document name is OfficeReport.doc, then the file is called ~$ficeReport.docx. Tim wonders why this extra file is created and how he can stop it.
The short answer is that you cannot stop it, and you probably won't want to stop it once you understand what it really is. This file is called an "owner file" and it is created automatically by Word. According to Microsoft, owner files are created when "a previously saved file is opened for editing, for printing, or for review" and the file "holds the logon name of person who opens the file." It is a temporary file that is used to indicate who is working on the file so that others can't mess up what the person is editing in the file.
Owner files are just one type of temporary file used by Word as you edit documents. There are many other such files that are used to store information related to your current Word session. You can find detailed information about these temporary files (including owner files) in the following Knowledge Base article:
Normally, temporary files are "hidden" so that they aren't visible to users while they are working in Word. If you have your version of Windows set up to display hidden and system files, then you can see these temporary files in Windows.
It is important to realize that the temporary files are normally deleted, automatically, when you exit Word. If Word is exited abnormally (the program crashes, Windows crashes, or the power on your machine is turned off without first exiting Word), then the temporary files will remain on your system. Using the information in the above Knowledge Base article, you can safely search for and delete the temporary files as long as Word is not open.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3510) 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: Extra Document File Being Saved.
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