Does Excel have AutoSave on Mac?

Excel’s AutoSave feature automatically saves your workbooks while you’re editing them. It was introduced in Microsoft 365 to help prevent data loss from unsaved changes. How to recover unsaved Excel file or restore its previous … With AutoSave enabled, Excel creates temporary backup versions of your workbooks and saves them to a specified location. If your workbook closes unexpectedly before you manually save, you can recover your unsaved changes from the AutoSaved version next time you open Excel.

AutoSave runs in the background continuously while you work, saving your changes at set intervals. It provides an added layer of protection against data loss from application crashes, power outages, or accidentally closing unsaved workbooks.

AutoSave on Windows Excel

AutoSave is an automatic backup feature built into Excel for Windows that saves your workbooks periodically while you’re editing them. This allows you to easily recover unsaved changes in case of a crash, power outage, or accidental closure of Excel [1].

With AutoSave enabled, Excel will save your workbook to your temporary files location every 10 minutes by default while you’re working on it. The AutoSaved files are separate from your original workbook file. They contain your changes since the last manual save [2].

If Excel crashes or closes before you manually save, the AutoSaved versions will still be available when you reopen Excel. You’ll be prompted to review and restore the unsaved workbooks. AutoSave allows you to pick up right where you left off without losing progress.

AutoSave on Mac Excel

In Mac versions of Excel, AutoSave is enabled by default. This means Excel will automatically save any open workbooks at regular intervals. The AutoSave feature prevents data loss by saving a backup copy of the file if the original file is not manually saved before closing Excel.

When enabled, AutoSave will create temporary files of any unsaved Excel workbooks. These files have an .xlk file extension and will be saved in a hidden temporary folder on your Mac. The temporary AutoSave files are deleted when you manually save or close the workbook.

The AutoSave interval on Mac Excel defaults to every 10 minutes. However, this can be customized in the Excel Preferences to as frequent as 1 minute. With AutoSave enabled, you shouldn’t lose more than 10 minutes of work (or whatever your custom interval is set to) if Excel crashes or quits unexpectedly before you can manually save.

AutoSave gives Mac Excel users peace of mind that their data will be periodically backed up automatically while working. This helps avoid data loss from application errors, power failures, or accidental closures. However, it’s still a best practice to save your workbook manually at important milestones. AutoSave provides an extra safeguard alongside manual saves.

For more details on customizing or disabling AutoSave in Mac Excel, see the Enabling AutoSave on Mac section below.

Source: excel autosave mac

Enabling AutoSave on Mac

AutoSave is enabled by default in the latest versions of Excel for Mac. However, some users may find that AutoSave has become disabled on their machines. Here are the steps to turn AutoSave back on in Excel for Mac:

1. Open Excel and click on the Excel menu at the top left corner.

2. Select Preferences > Save.

3. In the Save preferences window, check the box next to “AutoSave OneDrive and SharePoint Online files by default”.

4. You can also check the box next to “AutoSave files stored locally” if you want to enable AutoSave for files stored on your local drive.

5. Click OK to save the changes.

AutoSave will now be enabled for new and existing Excel files on your Mac. The files will be automatically saved to your OneDrive or SharePoint Online storage if stored in the cloud, or locally if stored on your Mac’s drive. Excel will save the file every 10 minutes by default while you are working on it.

Source: Microsoft Answers

AutoSave File Location on Mac

When you enable AutoSave in Excel for Mac, the AutoSave files are stored in a special location on your Mac. By default, AutoSave files are stored in the following location:

/Users/your_username/Library/Containers/ Support/Microsoft/Office/AutoRecovery

The AutoRecovery folder contains the AutoSave files for all your open Excel workbooks. The files are named Workbook_AutoSave followed by the date and time of the AutoSave. For example, Book1_AutoSave 2023-02-15 091527 UTC.xlsb.

You can navigate to this AutoRecovery folder in Finder to view and access your unsaved Excel files if needed. But this folder is hidden by default, so you’ll need to enter the path manually or unhide hidden folders to view it.

If desired, you can change the AutoRecover file location in Excel’s preferences. Just go to Excel > Preferences > Save and set a new location under “AutoRecover file location”.

Customizing AutoSave on Mac

Excel for Mac allows users to customize certain AutoSave preferences to meet their needs. The main options for customizing AutoSave include:

  • Setting the AutoSave frequency – Excel will automatically save files at the specified time interval (for example, every 10 minutes). To adjust the frequency, go to Excel > Preferences > Save (1).
  • Choosing a folder location – By default, AutoSaved versions are stored in a special AutoSave folder. But you can customize the location in Preferences > Save (1).
  • Keeping minimal AutoSaved versions – Adjust the number of versions to store (from as low as 3 to as high as 25 previous saves). This preserves drive space while providing ample file recovery options (1).

Customizing these and other AutoSave preferences allows users to optimize automated saving based on their workflow needs. Just be sure to open Preferences regularly to update settings as required.


Recovering Unsaved Files on Mac

If AutoSave fails and you lose unsaved work in Excel on Mac, there are a few options to try and restore your lost data:

First, check your AutoRecovery files. Go to Finder > Application Support > Microsoft > Office > Unsaved Files. There may be auto-saved versions of your unsaved Excel files here that you can open.

If AutoRecovery didn’t capture your work, try using Time Machine or another backup utility to restore to an earlier version that includes your unsaved changes (source:

As a last resort, you can use data recovery software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to scan your drive and find any remnants of your unsaved Excel file to try recovering (source:

Going forward, make sure to enable AutoSave and increase the frequency to minimize how much work can be lost. Also save your work regularly. Lastly, maintain backups via Time Machine or another utility to make recovering unsaved changes easier.

Best Practices

Here are some tips for utilizing AutoSave effectively on Mac Excel:

  • Set AutoSave to occur frequently, such as every 5-10 minutes. This prevents losing too much work if there is a crash or power outage. See this Microsoft forum post for instructions on adjusting the AutoSave frequency.
  • Make sure to save new workbooks manually the first time. AutoSave will not capture new unsaved workbooks.
  • Turn on AutoRecover in addition to AutoSave for an extra layer of protection against lost files. AutoRecover captures unsaved workbooks.
  • Store your files in cloud storage or a synced folder so AutoSave versions are backed up externally.
  • Delete old AutoSave versions periodically to reduce the storage space used.
  • If you have sensitive data in a workbook, disable AutoSave or be careful with where AutoSave versions are stored.

Following these tips will help prevent data loss and make the most of the AutoSave capabilities in Excel for Mac.

Troubleshooting Issues

AutoSave can sometimes run into problems and fail to save your work. Here are some common issues and solutions for troubleshooting AutoSave on Mac Excel:

AutoSave Not Working

If AutoSave suddenly stops working, first try restarting Excel. This can reset any glitches. Also confirm that AutoSave is still enabled by going to Excel > Preferences > Save. Make sure the “Save AutoRecover information every: X minutes” box is checked.

If it’s enabled but still not working, try deleting your AutoRecovery files which can get corrupted over time. On Mac, these are stored in ~/Library/Containers/ Support/Microsoft/Office/AutoRecovery. Then restart Excel to rebuild fresh AutoRecovery files.

Files Not Saving to Expected Location

By default, AutoRecover files save to a hidden AutoRecovery folder. If files are not saving here, go to Preferences > Save and check the “AutoRecover file location:” setting to confirm the correct folder is being used.

Files may get saved to another location if you opened a file directly instead of through Excel. Make sure to open Excel first, then open files from within the application.

Check permissions on the AutoRecover folder and confirm Excel has access to save there. Resetting permissions can resolve this.

Recovering Unsaved Versions

If Excel crashes before AutoSaving, you may still be able to recover an unsaved draft by relaunching Excel. Any unsaved versions should appear in the Document Recovery pane. If not, try manually browsing to the AutoRecover folder to see if a temporary version exists.

As a last resort, use a file recovery app to scan your hard drive and find any Excel temp files that can be restored.

To avoid data loss, remember to regularly save your work manually too.

Conclusion: Summary and Final Thoughts

AutoSave is an incredibly useful feature that saves your work automatically as you edit documents in Excel for Mac. With AutoSave enabled, you no longer have to worry about manually saving your files or losing work due to a crash or power outage.

Though Excel for Mac has AutoSave built-in and enabled by default, you can customize settings like save frequency and backup location to suit your needs. Keep an eye out for disk space limits, and know the location of AutoSaved versions to easily recover files.

Overall, AutoSave takes the frustration out of saving in Excel for Mac. After reading this guide, you should have a firm grasp on how to control AutoSave behavior to maximize efficiency and prevent data loss. Just remember the key takeaways:

  • AutoSave runs automatically in the background on Mac
  • Adjustable save frequency and backup location
  • Recover unsaved files from AutoSave location
  • Disable AutoSave if disk space is limited

With this knowledge, you can optimize AutoSave to fit perfectly into your Excel workflow on Mac. Never lose work again!

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