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FAQ: When to use "Save A Copy," or "Save As," and when to simply use "Save"

Adobe Employee ,
Apr 22, 2020 Apr 22, 2020

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Do you use "Save As" when you want to save your project with a unique name?

  • It's better to simply use File > Save.
  • "Save As," or better yet, "Save a Copy" is meant to be used to save project backups.

When to use Save

Use File > Save as soon as you open your project in order to name it. This is a crucial step, so do so as soon as possible after project creation.

Use File > Save as a general practice as you are editing. In general, every 10 or so minutes. That's been my practice for years.

Use File > Save after performing a series of editing functions you don't want to lose should something go wrong, like a crash or hang.

 

Try not to get into the habit of using "Save As" to simply save your project, or for any of the reasons above. It creates problems!

  • Doing so brings up the dialog box to remind you that a project with that name already exists.
  • Clicking through the warning, usually works, but has the possibility of corrupting your project.
  • Use File > Save instead to avoid this potential pitfall.

When to use "Save a Copy" or "Save As"

Editors use the "Save a Copy" or "Save As" commands mainly to create incremental versions (back up copies) of their projects. "Save a Copy" seems to make the most sense for today's workflows. 

 

Save A Copy: saves the document under a new name, but the original stays open for editing, not the new one. 

Save As: You save the document under a new name, and the new file stays open for editing.


The technique:
Use "Save a Copy," for example, as follows: If you want to back up an existing project called, say, "Paris," but want to archive a copy of the file, then choose File > Save a Copy, then enter the name "Paris_01" at the top of the dialog box and then click Save to a folder called "Paris_Back Ups" or the like. You can then continue working in the "Paris" project, and so on. After a number of days, you have a nice set of backups saved up. Delete the older ones as you work through the project or simply archive them.

You can work with the "Save As" command in the very same fashion. The workflow difference is that once you create a "Save As" incremented copy, you are then working in that new project. The previous version can then be archived as the back up. Save As might make sense in an episodic series, like editing a daily vlog.

Right. Save a copy.


Some thoughts:
"Why do this if we have an Auto Save system?" Well, to put it bluntly, pro editors are, historically, an overly careful lot when it comes to safeguarding their own work. They abide by rules of thumb, such as, "always have at least 3 copies of your recent project in 3 different locations, one being in the Cloud." So that is why editors make back ups and why you might consider doing the same. 

Editors create back ups for a project in case the working version of the project becomes corrupt or damaged (this happens). It's a safety backup maneuver that takes project back up one step further, and with more control, than your Auto Save project folder. Most editors create these "Save a Copy" backups throughout the work day, say three times a day. It's totally optional, but I found that it has saved me hours, if not days, of lost work. The back up folder in function is essentially a back up of your Auto Save folder, which in spite of its controls, can fail to provide a crucially timed back up

In the interests of being the guardian of an expensive film project, as they say, it's better to be safe than sorry. Imagine if your project becomes corrupt. You reach into your Auto Save folder, all the copies are corrupt, as well. What to do? Calmly head to your Paris_Back Ups folder and retrieve one of your expressly created back ups.

 

Any questions? Pop them in below.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2020 Apr 23, 2020

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For what it's worth here is my workflow

Start with Paris Version 1, saved on my project drive in a folder with all the source material.

Copy the complete project folder to local backup drive.

Make regular 'Save a copy' to my Creative Cloud folder called Paris V1a V1b......etc

Send an export of V1 to the client for comments.

I then do a Save As called Paris V2 saved in my project folder. This now becomes my working project.

Copy the complete project folder to local backup drive adding to the material that is already there.

Make regular 'Save a copy' to my Creative Cloud folder called Paris V2a V2b......etc

 

rinse and repeat.

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 23, 2020 Apr 23, 2020

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Awesome! Thanks for the "how to" and technique!

Kevin

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New Here ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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As a photographer, after loading images from memory cards onto the computer, I then make copies of those images I plan to work on.  From that point on, I "save as" everything. 

 

Working on a photo just now, I accidentially hit "save a copy" and the thought occurred to me to find out the difference between the two and if one or the other is better at preserving the quality of the image.

 

Steven Spring

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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As I understand it when you 'save as' the file you are them working on is the one you just saved. If you save a copy you are then still working on the origional, not the copy. The quality for both is the same.

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New Here ,
Aug 10, 2021 Aug 10, 2021

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Why in heavens name did Microsoft change the way save  and save as worked for decades.  I suppose if I were an original designer Save a Copy woild be a better name then Save As.  But why change?  I like that I had an original file could make lot's of changes and then save as with all the changes and then still have the original.  Like a template - fill it out, and save as, and go back to the original template file

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 11, 2021 Aug 11, 2021

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Hey Chuck,
Your asking a bunch of video editors as to "why" Microsoft changed things. Nice. 🙂

You should continue working the best way you feel most comfortable. The important thing is that you have back ups for when things go wrong. Good luck on your proejcts.

 

Thanks,
Kevin

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Engaged ,
Aug 12, 2021 Aug 12, 2021

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I have 2x hard drives in RAID 2 on my server set up as a network share, so that files are duplicated on both so I'm good if one ever fails.  I use Box.com and I've got all the folders I'm currently working on synced by the server to the share.  So all the backup and file storage is totally independent of my PC.  So I suppose in theory I have 3x copies - one on each half of the RAID array and one in the cloud (until the project is complete and unsynced from server).

 

I create and use projects directly on the server share from my pc - connected locally by 1Gbe ethernet.  I lose some speed and performance this way and scrubbing 4K footage sometimes sticks if I've got several effects / LUT's thrown on, but it's good enough to keep up most of the time.

 

Projects always get named with a descriptive name and suffixed with "v1".  If I ever save out a copy, I'll increment it to v2, v3 etc.  However it doesn't happen much.  Auto save is set to every 10 min and I've got a good habit of hitting Ctrl S to save when I get to critical points.  Box.com has file versioning too so that each project will have several versions by the time it's complete.

 

When I'm working on a project, I'll duplicate a sequence and increment the name whenever I reach a milestone.  Makes it easy to go back and check my workings, review where something went wrong etc.

5Diraptor_0-1628780876696.png

 

There's only 4 scenarios where I save in another way:

  1. If the project starts throwing up errors or gets broken in any way, my troubleshooting occasionally involves creating a new blank project one increment up, and importing the old one into it to see if it clears problems.
  2. If I'm about to do a major change to the project structure, or major changes to timeline such as completely re-ordering it, re-branding it, or converting captions to a different lanugage, then I "Save as"
  3. If I open a project created in an older version of PPro, and I have to save converted version before I can do anything.
  4. If I'm struggling to get renders complete and edit simultaneously, I'll "Save a copy" to a certain folder on the network share.  I have Media Encoder set up on a separate PC with the network share mapped with the same drive letter so all links etc are the same.  The folder I save to is a watch folder on the second PC, so that I can "Save a copy" to the watch folder at any time and the other PC will get a version rendered out.

 

Worked for me well so far 🙂 and +1 for cloud backup, when I had to work from home over covid I grabbed a laptop, synced projects from Box to a hard drive mapped with the same drive letter as the network share and everything worked perfectly!  


Regards, 5Diraptor

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