How to Use Lion’s Versioning and Auto Save to “Save As…”

| MGG Answers


David Writes: After upgrading to Lion, applications that support versioning, such as Pages, have drastically changed the way that users can access and modify old versions of documents.  For example, if I look at an old document in Pages, the application offers to revert the current version to the old version for me.  This may be helpful in some situations but isn’t what I always want.  In short, what is the proper method in Lion to make a change to a document and give it a new file name (i.e., how do I perform what used to be known as a “Save As…” function)?


To start off at a high level, Apple has a support article, HT4753, entitled “OS X Lion: About Auto Save and Versions.” This gives a nice overview of how Lion currently handles saving files in those applications that support versioning.

Save as now lives in the Duplicate menu item “Save As…” is replaced by “Duplicate” in OS X Lion 

As discussed in HT4753, there is a new function in the File Menu called “Duplicate.”  Selecting this option will create a duplicate of the document as it currently stands.  Choosing to “Save” this duplicate copy will present to the user a Save File menu in which the user can relocate or rename this copy.  It’s now two steps instead of the one previous step, but the Duplicate -> Save combination effectively reproduces the functionality of “Save As…”

As an alternative, Dave Hamilton presents a different workflow methodology:  Before opening the file you wish to duplicate (or Save As), highlight it in Finder and press Command-D, which creates another file of the same file name with “copy” appended to the end.  From there, immediately rename or relocate the file and, once complete, proceed to open and modify the file as desired.  This gives the user the same result as “Save As…” and its Lion counterpart, but minimizes the risk of unintentionally modifying the wrong file or forgetting to “Save As” or “Duplicate.”

Use Time Machine System Preferences to alter Lock settingsChange or remove the time after which Lion will lock your documents

A small caveat to this approach: Lion by default will lock files two weeks after their last edit.  This functionality can be modified or removed under the “Options” menu in the Time Machine section of System Preferences.

This question was originally answered on MGG 354: Versioning, Migration, Fonts & Launching Help

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Is it just me, or does this seem like Apple made things harder by maing them simpler?

I don;t even have Lion and this seems like a reason NOT to upgrade.

From what I have read (here and in other places) this is a BIG DEAL.

As a teacher I use a lot of the same files over each year, and make smal changes in them (usually updating the school year and tweaking things) BUT I want to leave the original right as it was, as a record of the previous year. I use SAVE AS..  a LOT for this.

Sounds like I would have a few extra steps to keep working like I am now.



AKjohn, it’s really not that difficult. You open a file in an application, you select File>Duplicate. That’s basically it, for the app will open a new window, copying the original window’s contents, but changing the title (and hence default file name) to include the word “copy”. When you’ve finished editing, you select File>Save and, if you wish, you can change the filename again (or just leave it with “copy” attached (you can also put the file in another place, of course).
It’s just a slightly different way of working, perhaps more secure. Most changes seem strange and are difficult to accept, but try it a few times and it becomes just as second-nature as Save as? and definitelt not a Big Deal.

Phoebe Bright

I am so fed up with the lack of “save as” functionality I’m taking the time to state that I am going back to an earlier version.  I use Save As a lot.  Just now I wanted to check where the document I’m reading is.  Usually I can just do Save As and that will show me where the document is.  I have no idea how to find out now, it’s not in inspector.  I suppose I can do a search in FInder for documents with that name and then try opening but really.  I JUST WANT SAVE AS BACK.  If not I’m ditching Lion.

Sorry to rant but I am so disappointed with Apple.  Never in my 20 years of using Macs have I ever wanted to downgrade software.


Phoebe, Duplicate is Save As. It has a different name and the steps are slightly different, but the result is the same.

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