Document Files

Knowing how to manage your documents and their respective file locations is crucial for saving and sharing your Word files. Learn how Word saves documents by default and how you can modify those settings to store your files as needed with tips on AutoSave, file conversion, controlling how other users can open and edit your files, and more.

Tips, Tricks, and Answers

The following articles are available for the 'Document Files' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.

   A Real AutoSave
When you enable AutoSave in Word, it doesn't really save your document; it just saves a temporary file that allows your document to be recovered if the program should end unexpectedly. If you want to really save your document periodically, you need to develop your own macro-based system, as described in this tip.

   An Automatic File Name
Do you have a set "standard" for how you name new documents? If so, you may be interested in implementing the technique in this tip for automatically naming your new documents according to the standard you follow.

   Breaking Links in Lots of Documents
Breaking document links can be a tedious chore, especially if there are lots of links and lots of documents. This tip examines how you can break links not only manually, but using a macro.

   Changes to Header Result in a Hung Computer
If you try to perform some actions in a document and those actions result in Word freezing, then your document may well be corrupt. This tip looks at some ways you can hopefully recover from the condition.

   Changing the Default Document Format
f you don't want Word to store documents using its default document format, it is an easy task to specify a different format. Follow the steps in this tip, and you will be saving in different formats in no time.

   Changing the Default File Name
When you first save a new file, Word bases the name of that file on the contents of the start of the first paragraph in your document. If you'd like a different default name for a file, you just need to make a simple change in the template on which the file is based.

   Closing a Document and Creating a New One
When you often perform a series of steps, the best solution to make those steps easier is to create a macro. This tip shows how easy it is to combine two common steps into a single command.

   Creating Multiple Blank Documents in One Step
Word makes it easy to create a new, blank document. What if you want to create more than one document at a time, however? Here are some ideas you can use.

   Creating Two Versions of the Same Document
You may often need to create two versions of the same document, one with everything and the other with a subset of what is found in the other document. Word provides several tools you can use to help meet this need.

   Deleting the Open Document File
Want to delete the document you are currently viewing? Word doesn't provide a way to do it, but you can use the macro in this tip to make the task easy as pie.

   Determining if a Document is Corrupt
Think you might have a corrupt document? There is no easy way to tell if this is the case, but there are some things you can do to try to fix the document.

   Document is Too Large for Word to Handle
Imagine trying to open a familiar document one day, only to find that Word gives you an error message that the file is too large. How can you get into the document and save all your hard work? Here are some ideas.

   Documents Lock on Their Own
Do you have documents that seem to be locked when you didn't lock them? There are several possible reasons for this issue, as discussed in this tip.

   Documents Significantly Larger in Microsoft 365
As you move to a newer version of Word, you may notice that your documents all of a sudden require more disk space because they are larger. It can be a challenge to track down why this is happening, but there are several key suspects you can check out in your detective work.

   Embedding TrueType Fonts
If you need to make sure that the fonts in your document can be used by another person or on a different system, you'll need to embed those fonts. Here's how to make the necessary configuration change.

   Extra Document File Being Saved
You may be surprised sometimes to save a document and find out that Word actually saves what appear to be two copies of the document on your disk. This isn't necessarily a problem, but a way for Word to track what is going on with the document on which you are working.

   Files Opening Slowly If Many Files Exist
Managing large numbers of documents in Word can lead to some interesting challenges. One potential challenge is that your documents open slower if you have lots of them in a directory. Here are some ways you can determine the cause of the slowdown.

   Finding Documents Containing Multiple Occurrences of a Word
Searching for documents that contain a particular word is rather straightforward. The task becomes a bit trickier when you want to only find documents that contain more than one occurrence of the word. Here's a handy (and simple) approach you can use.

   Finding Out the Folder for an Open Document
If you work with a lot of documents at the same time, it can be difficult to remember the folder in which any given document is actually located. This tip looks at several different ways you can figure out that elusive location.

   Finding Where the Current Document is Saved
It is possible to have multiple documents on your system, each with the same filename. If you work on those documents at the same time, it can be helpful to know where those documents are stored. This tip provides a half dozen ways you can get the information you need.

   Getting Files Out of Compatibility Mode
Work with a document that uses an older file format, and Word lets you know you are using compatibility mode. What is the solution to getting your documents out of this mode, however?

   Getting the Traditional Open Dialog Box
When you attempt to open a file in Word, chances are good that you will first have to pass through what is called the Backstage area. If that side trip bugs you, follow the steps in this tip to take a direct route to the traditional Open dialog box.

   Incorrect Page Counts Shown in Status Bar
A common statistic to see on the status bar is what page number you are working on in your document. If the page numbers shown are incorrect, it can be confusing as to what is going on.

   Limiting What is Shown in the Open Dialog Box
When you display the Open dialog box, Word has to determine what files to display. This tip looks at a baffling file-display decision by Microsoft and how you can change it to display just actual Word documents.

   Linking Word Documents
Want to add one document to another document? You can do it by adding links, described in this tip.

   Lost Data in Word
Use Word long enough and you eventually will lose some of your work. (And, it seems to be a rule that this will occur under a tight deadline with your most important work.) This tip looks at what you can do to minimize the effects of such loss.

   Maintaining Formatting when Inserting Documents
Word allows you to easily insert the contents of one document into another. Doing so, however, may result in unintended results as the formatting of what you insert may look nothing like the original document. Here's why that happens and what you can do about it.

   Marking Multiple Documents
After using Word for a while, it is easy to accumulate quite a few documents. At some point you may want to make a change to each of the documents in a folder. This tip explains the basics of how to easily make such a change, without the need to manually open and edit each document.

   Mirroring Documents
Have you ever wanted to have a Word document be accessible through two different folders? Here are several ways you can approach the problem.

   Opening a Document as Read-Only
Afraid of messing up an existing document by some changes you are considering? Consider opening the document as read-only, so that any changes need to be saved in a brand-new document.

   Opening a Word Document when Starting the Computer
Some people use their computers for little else, other than to work on Word documents. If that is the case with you, then you might want to have Word start up, with a particular document open, whenever you start your computer. This tip can help you make opening Word in this way a simple task.

   Opening Multiple Documents at Once
Word's Open dialog box provides many of the same file management functions as Windows Explorer does. One of the functions is opening more than one document at once.

   Opening Multiple Recent Files at the Same Time
The MRU provides a handy list of files you have recently used. Opening multiple files from the MRU, however, is no easy task!

   Page Counts for Many Documents
Need to see the page count on a large number of documents? Windows provides an easy way to see the information you desire. Here's how to turn on the feature.

   Printing Documents in a Folder
If you want to print a group of documents at the same time, there are a couple of ways you can accomplish the task. Here are two easy ones you can use.

   Read-Only Documents
Using both Word and Windows, there are a variety of ways you can mark a file as read-only so that it cannot be changed. This tip discusses the different techniques you can use.

   Read-Only Documents without a Password
Want to protect your document so it cannot be changed? There are a couple of ways you can do it, and not all of them involve the use of Word.

   Read-Only Embedded Fonts
If you receive a document from somebody else, you might not be able to edit it if the document contains fonts that you don't have installed on your system. In this case, it is helpful to understand how Word views those fonts.

   Read-Only Files
Read-only documents (those that cannot be updated) are part and parcel of working with Word. There are many ways that a document file can be made "read only," and not all of them are expected.

   Recovering Password-Protected Documents
Got a locked document you just need to get into? It may be quite easy (or next to impossible) using the ideas in this tip.

   Saving All Open Documents
Got a lot of open documents you are working with? You can save them all at one time by adding a handy tool to your Quick Access Toolbar, as described in this tip.

   Saving Everything
Need to force users to save their work? It may be as simple as implementing a couple of macros that get a bit more aggressive when it comes to saving. It could, however, have something to do with training users.

   Saving Personalized Copies of a Document
Need a series of documents that include an individual's name or a company name? Here's a handy little macro that will make short work of this need.

   Setting a Default Document Format
Word allows you to save your documents in a variety of different formats. You can specify the format when you actually save, or you can change the default format, as described in this tip.

   Setting a Document Naming Convention
Want your document file names to follow a specific naming convention? Word doesn't provide a direct way to set up your own convention, but you can use a macro or two to help in this area.

   Some Documents Open Slower than Others
It's great when your documents open quickly, particularly when you need to work with lots of documents at the same time. What do you do, however, when one document loads much slower than another? This tip looks at some possible causes.

   Using Tags with Document Files
Tags are a way for you to store keywords or metadata with your document files. They can be helpful when you are trying to manage the files in Windows. This tip explains what they are and how to use them.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.