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Two common functions make easy clones from documents

Office applications, for decades, have always had a way to create a duplicate document from another document. Save As has traditionally been the function that does this. There is another function that is nearly identical that was added to productivity applications in their later versions. It is called Save a Copy.

Some applications use both. Others use one rather than the other. Most people who have used a Microsoft Office application or an application that is part of another office suite have used one of these.

There are several benefits they offer:

  1. They allow others to take a document and work that has previously been done by someone else and use it for their own purposes.

  2. They allow for a document to be frozen at a critical point in its evolution. If there are major errors in a document created from it, users can discard the new document and return to the original.

  3. They allow users to create two documents that are nearly identical but make them different.

This article compares these functions in Microsoft Office and LibreOffice.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint use Save As and Save a Copy. They perform the same function. Both allow users to create identical documents from a document they have opened. They can give a document created from the original a new name, a new file format, and store it in a new location.

Save a Copy

Save a Copy is available only when AutoSave is turned on. AutoSave can be found in the Quick Access Toolbar. Users can turn on AutoSave with documents that have been created in Microsoft Office and saved to a OneDrive account or a SharePoint account.

When AutoSave is on in the Mac version of an Office application, Save a Copy will be in the File menu. This is the only place where Save a Copy is located in a Mac application. In the Windows version of the applications, Save a Copy is located in the backstage view.

With AutoSave on, Save a Copy is found, instead of Save As, in the backstage view when you click File in the Windows version of one of the Office applications. This feature is found in the File menu across the top, menu bar in a Mac.

This is the choice when a document is in a collaborative environment. Users can create documents based on a document someone else has created. The term “Save a Copy” is more oriented toward documents that multiple people are working on together.

Save As

Save As is available when AutoSave is turned off. AutoSave cannot be turned on when a document is not created by Microsoft Office and not stored in OneDrive or SharePoint. This means Save As is the choice when you are working on a document outside of OneDrive or SharePoint.

Save As is the choice when you access the backstage in one of the Windows’ version applications when AutoSave is off. The function also can be found in the Quick Access Toolbar. If it is not in the toolbar by default, it can be added by clicking Options in the backstage, then clicking Quick Access Toolbar in the Options dialog that appears.

It will be found in the same locations as Save a Copy is found in the Windows and Mac versions of the applications. Save As also can be found in the Quick Access Toolbar of the Windows and Mac versions of the applications.

Save As can be thought of as a function designed for making a document based on one you created previously. However, if you are using Microsoft Office with Dropbox or another non-Microsoft shared folder service, you will use it to create documents from what others created.


Save As and Save a Copy, like in the versions of the Microsoft applications, both create new documents from the one that is currently open. However, there is a difference between the two, and both are available at the same time.

The File menu in LibreOffice’s applications contains both Save As and Save a Copy. There are several other ways to perform Save As. The Standard toolbar has the Save As function in the drop-down menu in the Save disk icon.

When you create a new document using Save As, it replaces the original document you created it from on the screen. If you were working in a document called “Cats” and used Saved As to create “Cats 1,” the moment you clicked Save, you would now be working in “Cats 1”. “Cats” would be closed, and it would be in the location where it was stored.

Save a Copy allows the user to return to the original document used to create the new one. The user would still be working in “Cats” after he clicked Save to create “Cats 1”. “Cats 1” would be found in the folder that you selected during the saving process.

Save a Copy is useful for starting new documents that you want to be similar to the original, but you want to work on later and take in a different direction than the document is based on. It also can be used when you need to have others work on a document similar to the one you are working on.

Save As is great for someone who is using a shared folder and wants to create a document based on one that someone else created. It is also good for working on a document that they want to preserve, but they want to create another one based on it.


These two functions that are identical in Office and nearly identical in LibreOffice are useful tools for creating documents. It makes it easy to help others with documents you have already created. You also can create documents based on the work of others. The functions are also useful for backing up your work by creating versions of a document in different points in its history.

LibreOffice makes both available, and the choice is not affected by a feature that is similar to AutoSave that is in Microsoft Office. This is one minor advantage LibreOffice has over Microsoft Office. It makes the open-source office suite more flexible than the popular counterpart.

It allows the user to decide whether they want to create a new document but continue to work on the current one, or they can create a new document from the one they have open and start working on the new document. Microsoft Office doesn’t give users the same choice. It may not be important to most users, but some people may find the choice makes their workflow easier.

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