files

Saving Files


Index

Saving Files

When you save a file, you must pay close attention to several things at once. You must first notice which disk drive you are saving to. Secondly, you must be concerned with which folder you are saving to within that drive. Finally, you must give the file a meaningful filename and let the application handle the extension for you.

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Save As

When you first save a file, you are presented with a "Save As" dialog box. This box gives you all the controls you need to specify exactly where and under what name your file is saved. Windows itself provides a generic Save As dialog that can be used by applications, such as that from Notepad as shown below. You may notice that this default dialog has changed somewhat with Windows 2000.

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Selecting a Drive

Perhaps the most important new feature is the buttons on the left-hand side that permit easy selection of the saving location. "My Documents" is the most common location, If you are working directly off removable media such as a Zip drive, or looking for a particular area, it is best to click on the button labeled with the machine name, e.g., CTLdev in the above graphic.

While picking a saving location is easier with Windows 2000 than before, it is well to realize that the "Save As" dialogs always have some default drive, folder and filename to which, if you simply click the "Save" button, they will save your file. The problem is they only give you a clear look at the filename and folder portion. They don't immediately indicate where the folder is located. It could be on any drive, and it could be at the root of that drive or in some folder or sub-folder. Since, for example, you could have any number of "Scratch" folders, even on a single drive (provided they were in separate folders themselves), it becomes very important to know which "Scratch" you are viewing.

An attempt has been made to configure the lab's applications to automatically select the My Documents (i.e., H:\My Documents) by default. However, many programs insist on defaulting to whatever drive and folder was used last. So, unless you are sure, you need to check; otherwise, you may end up saying, "The computer lost my file!"

There are two basic methods of determining the location to which you are saving. One method uses the mouse and the other the keyboard; once you know them both, you may use whichever suits your situation, or even some combination of the two.

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Controlling the Save As Location: The Mouse Method

Click on the button labeled with the machine name (e.g., CTLdev) to see a list of all the drive resources available on the machine. It is as simple as that.

Now, you can select the drive you want to use by double-clicking on that item in the list. The list will change to show the folders and files in that drive; then you can move down through the folder structure to the folder you desire simply by continuing to double-click on the folders you wish.

WARNING: if you are using the C: drive, make sure you save at or below the C:\LocalScratch directory. Otherwise you will be storing your files in an inappropriate place. At best, they will be difficult to locate/manage later, at worst, you could cause problems for that machine. If you are using the H: (home) drive, be sure to store at or below the H:\My Documents directory. If you used the lab during the Windows 95 era and still have files in a H:\Scratch, it is recommended that you move these to H:\My Documents for ease of use under Windows 2000.

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Controlling the Save As Location: The Keyboard Method

When the "Save As" dialog opens, the default filename is selected. You can see this by noticing that the foreground and background colors of the text are reversed. If you begin typing, whatever you type will replace the selected default entry.(This is a feature you will find throughout Windows, by the way. To replace some text, select it by dragging over it with the mouse and then simply type its replacement text.)

If you type a drive letter followed by a colon (:) and then click on the "Save" button, the list will immediately show the files and folders at the root of that drive.

If you type a drive letter, a colon, a backslash (\) and a folder name, you will immediately go to the specified folder on that drive. Again, the list will change to show the files and folders within the selected folder on the selected drive. If you want to save to a nested folder (i.e., a folder within another folder) you can indicate the entire folder structure in one string of typed characters. For example, if you want to save to the "Work" folder within the "My Documents" folder on your Home (H:) drive, you could type: "H:\My Documents\Work". If you wanted to save to a "Bug" folder within that location, you could type: "H:\My Documents\Work\Bug". I think you get the idea.

Since you will need to type to indicate a meaningful filename anyway (the default "Untitled" in the example above just won't cut it), the keyboard method has some advantages.

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Typing the Filename

Once the drive and folder selections have been made, all that is left is to specify a meaningful filename by typing it into the "File name:" box. Longer isn't necessarily better, but use as many characters as you need to make the file recognizable to you later. Don't add an extension; let the application do that for you.

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Duplicate Filenames

If a file with the same name already exists in that folder, you will be given an option of replacing it. If you agree, the existing file will be overwritten and its contents will be lost. Make certain that this is what you intend before clicking the "Yes" button. Files can have the same name as long as they are in different folders, which is another reason for creating multiple folders. For example, you might have a project where you need to save a "results.txt" file each month. You could create a project folder and sub-folders for each month. The filename could then be "results.txt" in each case, but they could be differentiated by their folder locations.

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File Types

The Save As dialog generally lists only files of the type the particular application uses. In the Notepad example above, these are text files: files having a filename extension of ".txt". Many applications can save files in more than one format. That is purpose of the "File type:" box. If you click on the text in that box, you will be presented a list of the various file types which the application you are using can create. Since various file types generally have different filename extensions, this entry will also control which files are listed by the dialog. Generally, there will be one entry, "All Files (*.*)" which will list all the files in a particular folder, regardless of extension. If you really think your file is in a particular folder, but it doesn't show up, try selecting the "All Files (*.*)" type. You may have an inappropriate or missing filename extension.

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Nonstandard Save As Dialogs

Applications sometimes provide their own, non-standard dialog boxes rather than using the standard Windows version. We cannot cover each one here; however, if you cannot understand a particular feature, you can generally use that application's Help menu to find the answers you require.

Saving with Microsoft Office 2000

Word and all Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access) used to provide their own filesave box. With the latest version, these are almost, if not exactly, identical to the Windows 2000 default.

Saving with Corel WordPerfect Suite

Here is the Save As dialog for Corel WordPerfect 8:

Tip: WordPerfect and all Corel WordPerfect Suite applications (WordPerfect, Quattro Pro and Presentations) have a (favorites) button in their Save As dialogs which is very useful for selecting where you wish to save a file. When you click on this button, you are shown a list of shortcuts, among which are those to common lab storage areas such as the Global Scratch and Local Scratch areas. Double-clicking on the shortcut to an area will take you there immediately.

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Other Useful Save As Features

There are a lot more things that even the standard Windows Save As dialog can do for you. It is well worth learning these things, as you will be using this dialog so often.

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Creating New Folders

There is a "New Folder" button which you can click to create a new folder within the folder you are currently viewing. By default, this folder is named "New Folder", but you can change this immediately, by simply typing the name you prefer.

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Last edited 10 August 2000