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How To Save A File On A PC

One of the fundamental uses of a computer, storing data (saving files). There are many ways to do this most basic of tasks, and in this guide, we’ll look at a couple of the easiest ways.

Saving A File On Your PC.

To save a new file in most programs on your computer, you’ll first click the FILE button and then click the SAVE option on the menu.

Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL and the letter S.

File button and Save option indicated.
To save a file, click the File button, then click Save.


Although most programs provide you with a FILE button, some don’t, or at least it is there, but it’s obscured. We’ll look at how to deal with that a little later in the guide.

File Name And Location – The Save As Window

The Save As window will open. The Save As window allows you to give the file a name and decide which folder it should be saved into. Every file on your computer has to have both a name and a location.

If you don’t give your file a name, then the computer will assign a name to it, which is often just some sort of gibberish. that really won’t help you in a years time when you need to find the file again.

When you’re naming your files, try to give them a descriptive name, something that you’ll be able to recognise later when you’re looking for the file. You can even add the date to your files if that helps, for example, your bank statements could be, Bank Statement Jan 22, Bank Statement Feb 22 etc.

Anything that helps you to recognise what’s in that file is good.

When the Save As window opens, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s actually File Explorer. And you’d be correct because that’s exactly what is.

  1. The Address Bar tells you which folder you’re currently in
  2. The Navigation Panel gives access to all your folders
  3. The main panel shows the contents of the current folder
  4. The File Name box. This box is the only real change from the standard File Explorer window.
The Save As window. Numbers indicate various sections. 1-the address bar, 2-the navigation panel, 3-main panel, 4-file name box.
The Save As window in Windows 11.

We covered Windows File Explorer earlier How To Use Windows File Explorer


To Save Your File

The very first thing to do is to give the file a proper name.

The name can be anything at all, it really doesn’t matter what you call it, so long as you know what it is.

  1. Name the file by typing it into the File Name box.
  2. Then you’ll need to select which folder you want to save the file into. You’ll do that using the Navigation panel on the left-hand side of the window. If it’s going to your desktop, click Desktop, if it’s going into your Documents folder, click Documents etc.
  3. Once you’ve added the file name and selected the folder, click the SAVE button.
The name of the file is typed into the File Name box. The Documents is also indicated.
The file will be called “A really important file” and will be saved into the Documents folder.

How To Save A File Into A Subfolder.

Sometimes you’ll want to put your file into a folder that’s inside one of your main folders, a subfolder. As an example suppose you wanted to save an image file into a folder called Doodles that’s inside your main Pictures folder.

To begin with, it’s exactly the same as above.

Click the FILE button and then click SAVE.

File button has been clicked and menu is open. The Save option is indicated.
Click the FILE button and then click Save.

That will open the Save As window just as it did earlier.

Name the file first and then using the Navigation pane open the Pictures folder.

In the Centre panel, you’ll be able to see all the files and folders that are already contained in your Pictures folder.

Left-click once on the folder that you want to use to select it and then click the SAVE button.

A subfolder withing the Pictures folder has been selected. The file name box and Save button are also indicated.
Saving a file into a subfolder.


creating A New Folder

If you don’t already have a folder to save the file into, you can create a new folder for it.

Left-click on the NEW FOLDER button.

Your new folder will appear, as ever, give your folder a name and then click the OPEN button.

You can now save your file into the folder.

The New Folder button is marked and the new subfolder is highlighted
Creating a new subfolder.

When You Close A Program.

Whenever you open a program on your computer and start to do something, it doesn’t matter what that is or which program you’re using, what you’ve done is create a file.

As yet, this file is unsaved and unnamed, but it is a file.

If you then close the program (click the X in the top right corner), you’ll see a pop-up window appear.

“Do you want to save the changes to Untitled?”

Do you want to save the file pop up message
Save, Don’t Save or Cancel buttons

You’re options are

  • Save – Clicking the SAVE button will open the Save As window allowing you to give the file a name and a location. After saving the file the program will close.
  • Don’t Save – Clicking the DON’T SAVE button will discard the file. It won’t be saved and the program will close.
  • Cancel – Clicking the CANCEL button will cancel closing the program. You’d use this button if you clicked the Close button by accident. The program won’t close and you’ll be returned to the file you’re working on.


What To Do When You Can’t See A File Button.

In some programs (particularly apps rather than fully-fledged programs), you won’t immediately be able to see a FILE button to click on. So how do you save your file?

The first thing you can do is to use the keyboard shortcut CTRL and the letter S. This way of saving a file always works.

Some programs/apps hide the Save function underneath an options button. The options button is usually denoted with 3 dots arranged either horizontally or vertically, depending on which program/app you’re using.

Finally In some programs/apps, if you right-click on the file you’re working on, that’ll open an options menu, where you can click on Save As.

Windows 10 photos app is open. Callout points out there isn't a File button to click on.
In the Photos app, for example, there isn’t a File button visible to click on.
Arrow points to options button (3 dots). The Save As option is marked.
Options button (3 dots) in Windows 10 Photos app.
Windows 11 photos app right click options menu is open. Save As is indicated.
Sometimes you can right-click directly onto the file to open the options menu.


There is much more to discover about saving files on your computer, we’re just touching the tip of the iceberg here, but the rest will begin to fall into place as you use your computer and of course, as you work through this course.

The main thing to take from this guide is how to name and then locate your files into the folders where they need to go.

A folder with a file rising out of it. Text reads "How to open a file"
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How To Open Files

Opening files, sounds easy right? Just double left click and you’re done.
But what about those times when you need the file to open in a different program?

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How To Open Files

A folder with a file rising out of it. Text reads "How to open a file"

Opening files, sounds easy right? Just double left click and you’re done.
But what about those times when you need the file to open in a different program?

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