Losing Information in a Network Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 29, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021

During staff meetings, Kathy has a document open in which she takes notes. This document is on a shared network drive, and she saves every few minutes. Sometimes, after saving and closing, Kathy loses all the notes she entered during the meeting. She wonders why this would occur.

It can be hard to figure out the cause of problems like this, but there are a few things you can try. First, it is important to know if there are multiple people using the document. Often, documents on network drives are shared with other people. For instance, let's say that Kathy and Doug are both using the same document on the network drive, and they both have it open during the meeting. When Kathy saves her changes and closes the document, Doug may still have it open. If he later saves and closes, his changes are written last and overwrite those changes that Kathy previously saved. So, to Kathy, it may appear that her changes were lost.

If multiple users are not the problem, then check to make sure the document is saving to where you think it is saving. It is possible (for instance, if you use Save As instead of Save) to have the document end up somewhere you are not expecting. If this occurs, then the a search of all the places the document might be saved (especially your local computer) may turn up the file.

In parting, there is one other thing to check out, and you can do this the next time you are taking notes. After saving your notes document, but before closing Word, minimize the program. Then, in Windows, navigate to the network folder where the document is saved. Take a look at the properties of the document and see what the last saved date is. That date and time should be from just a few minutes before, since you just saved the document. If that is not the case, you can be pretty sure that either the document was saved somewhere else, or some network controls are stopping it from being saved where you expect. The best news, though, is that the document is still open in Word, and you can use Save As (at this point) to save your notes someplace different and safe.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12824) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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