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Saving an Excel Workbook: File Formats & Options

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  • 0:01 Saving in Excel
  • 1:20 How to Save Your Excel…
  • 2:42 Naming Your File
  • 3:42 Save vs. Save As
  • 4:31 Optional File Formats
  • 5:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

If you have ever created an Excel workbook, spent hours updating data and numbers, only to loose the file or updates because you forgot to save, you are not alone. This lesson will review the steps to saving your MS Excel workbook.

Saving in Excel

Probably the most important tip anyone can give you when discussing software applications, such as Excel, is to save often! There are many people, including myself, that lose their hard work after spending endless hours editing and updating simply because they forgot to save. Have you ever started from the beginning, created a new spreadsheet and got so involved in the numbers and data, you simply forgot to save? It happens - just ask any of your friends that create MS Excel documents.

When you think about saving your document, you should ask yourself three questions.

  1. Am I saving this file for the first time?
  2. Have I made edits to an existing file and just need to save it again, replacing the original?
  3. Do I want to save the file with a different name and keep the original intact?

This lesson will guide you through the steps to saving an Excel file for the first time and/or saving your file after you have made changes. We will also review some of the guidelines to naming your Excel file. Finally, we will take a look at the difference between Save and Save as and look at optional file formats when using the Save As command.

How to Save Your Excel Workbook

Excel offers three ways to save a newly created file or to save your original file after changes and edits have been made.

  1. Go to File and click on Save.
  2. Look in the upper, left-hand corner of the screen and click on the Save icon.
  3. Hit CTRL-S on your keyboard.

All three options will give you the same results. However, if this is a new workbook that you are saving for the first time, Excel will open additional screens so you can choose the location to save your file to and enter the file name. Let's take a look at saving a file for the first time.

  1. Go to the File menu in the ribbon.
  2. Click on Save.
  3. Search for and select the folder where you want the file saved.
  4. Enter the name of your Excel workbook.
  5. Click on Save.

And there you have it! Your file is saved, and you can open it when you need it, make your changes and use one of the three options above to save it again.

Naming Your File

Let's review some of the guidelines to naming your files. Did you know that there are certain characters that applications will not accept in a file name? MS Excel is a perfect example. Because some characters have an alternate meaning to the operating system, such as Windows 8, you can't use them in the name of your file. Some of these are /, \, ?, *, ', |, < and >. Have you ever received an error message telling you that the file name is not valid? Well, likely it's because you used one of these characters. If you like to use other characters in your file names, other than your standard ABCs and 123s, use the underscore (_), dash (-) or a plus sign (+). Most applications will accept these characters.

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