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AutoSave – A Great MS Office Feature; Requires Tenants Attention On Network Demand!

by Lalita Negi on October 27th 2017

AutoSave is a brilliant feature in MS Office, available in MS Excel and MS PowerPoint 2016, but exclusive for Office 365 users. With this feature, users need not to worry about repeatedly using a Save Button while working on presentations or excel files.

Earlier, there had been a discussion on one of the posts at about auto-save feature which had been coming to Microsoft PowerPoint, Word and Excel for files saved in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online sites. As per that blog, with the AutoSave feature, users can get rid of their worries to hit save button.

After few months, this AutoSave feature developed into click-to-run PowerPoint and Excel versions. And now, Word too has this feature. Thus, the MS Word users can also get rid of their concerns to use save button again and again while using this program. This AutoSave feature is quite beneficial to users as it will greatly affect the workflow as the idea of losing work is quite disappointing be it a cause of window failure, network issue, application bug, or anything else that would have caused a file crash.

What Is AutoSave – A Brief Description

It is a newly introduced feature coming to the subscribers of Office 365 for programs like PowerPoint and Excel 2016. With this feature, the users do not need to save their file every now and then, but it will keep saving your files automatically. This feature keeps on saving data in every few seconds, but the time would vary as per the work you are doing onto these applications.

What Are The Functions Of AutoSave Feature

The AutoSave feature performs by evaluating the work of users within their files. In case, it finds someone updating the file content, it automatically uploads all the changes made on the file to OneDrive and SharePoint and then, merge all of them in the file copy saved to the site, with merely a single activity sign that is in the changed name of document at its title bar.

Once the save process completes, the file title gets changed to update user about the document to be “saved to SharePoint” or “saved to OneDrive”. Those documents which are saved locally are mentioned as “saved to this PC”.

In case, you are not happy with using AutoSave feature, you can easily disable the feature for a file by simply sliding a selector available to the left-hand corner in the menu bar to make it off. However, it will surely be great to have and control this feature; but Microsoft has not allowed tenants of Office 365 to disable this feature. They can surely control the registry settings for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint if these applications are using AutoSave feature.

This MS Office AutoSave feature is built on the document co-authoring experience which enables multiple users to make changes in a document simultaneously. The document co-authoring automatically upload various changes done by different users and then merge them in a master document copy. No doubt, co-authoring too requires to display changes done in the master files to individual files on which contributors have worked on.

Versions Of AutoSave Feature

At the working phase, when a user saves the file on the OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online, this feature quietly makes new file versions in the library to seize changes done by user. Based on the library versioning setting, the AutoSave feature makes the minor and major file version. Besides nomenclature, there is hardly any difference in major and minor document version. On exploring both versions, it will only be an updated document file. Here it is worth to be mentioned that each change will lead to new version creation.

Rather, AutoSave feature utilises a version for 10 – 15 minutes prior to produce the new version or switch it to resume saving. At this phase, users can feel a little delay while switching over a new version, especially when you are using a poor network. The accurate interval in the creation of versions is based on the changes made to a file.

The saved changes to the versions of file enable users to re-establish certain generation of the document. Reasonably, when the document remains in an inactive form, there will be no changes as AutoSave feature would not produce new versions.

To check where a document is saved or to reach at the previous versions, a user should click on the name of the document at title bar. In case, you want to choose the previous version, just open that to make a content comparison as it would have existed and that version will open in a new window. This way, a user can easily check both version one by one.

Certainly, creating several file versions sounds like one enjoys file saving. Though there is a small side-effect that, when one sets up various alerts for get notifications over email about updates on document posted to the SharePoint, you will get to see how several updates get logged. Several created versions by AutoSave feature will not affect the storage allocation of SharePoint for Office 365 tenants, but only the current version size will be considered for the overall calculation.

Only Click-To-Run Office Applications

The AutoSave feature will only be enabled automatically in click-to-run versions in desktop applications of MS Office for files saved in the Office 365, especially when these files are not saved in old formats. AutoSave will not work on files saved on shared or local drives; hence, you should trust on the ability of the application to autorecover whole data in case anything wrong happens. As it saves all changes within seconds, this feature is more resilient and granular as compared to autorecover.

Now coming to the network load concern

Undoubtedly, AutoSave feature is remarkable offering by Microsoft from the perspective of users. Sadly, the administrators still have some doubts in their mind with a thought on natural saving of recurrent documents that bring in the network bandwidth consumption in the consideration. Here, we should remember that every tenant of Office 365 does not enjoy locations where there bandwidth exist in abundance.

Hence, there are two certain claims regarding bandwidth present. The first claim is on frequent file saving and second is on the creation of minor and major versions creation of document in which clients who are configured to coordinate the library to download file copies on their workstation get synced by OneDrive. Users can check emerging patterns by checking download events from audit log of Office 365. However, some users will observe and would say that coordination will not result in certain load, if 100 workstations are required to download a file sizing 5MB for 10 times at the editing session. But, there is a possibility of a huge additional traffic generation for merely one document.

Thus, few tenants would forget about network ramifications as their users are in perfectly connected locations. But, users who work or travel in places with poor networking will not find it good as they should consider to disable this feature while editing big files.

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