Knowing how to save a file on a computer is one of the most basic tasks that you have to master.
Since every single document, picture, video or music track is regarded as a file on your PC, saving files really is fundamental.
But it’s not just saving them, you’ll need to save your files in a way that you can retrieve them later.
How To Save A File.
To get started saving files, I’ll need to create one. I’ll be using a program called Notepad (which is a simple text editor). I’ll use Notepad because you’ll have it installed on your own computer, so if you want to follow along, you can.
You can open Notepad by left-clicking once on the Start button and then typing –
Left-click on Notepad (app) at the top of the list.
Don’t forget that you don’t need a box to type into from the Start menu. The box will appear automatically when you begin typing.
So just click the Start button (or press the Windows key on your keyboard) and then start typing “notepad”.
With Notepad open, type something (anything will do) to create the file.
To save the file, we’ll need to tell the computer 2 things. First, what’s the file’s name. What should the file be called?
When naming files it’s obviously a good idea to try to use descriptive names. Something that will tell you immediately what’s in the file.
And second. where should the file be saved. Which folder should the file be saved into? Where’s it going to live?
Name and location. I’ll save the file with the name At Home Computer and I’ll put it on my Desktop.
To save a file, left-click once on the FILE button (in the top left corner).
Then on the menu that opens, left-click SAVE AS.
Or you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + S
Now the SAVE AS window opens.
If you’re new to computers, the Save As window can look complicated.
But it’s really just a navigation window, a modified version of File Explorer.
We covered File Explorer and navigating your computer earlier in the home computer course. If you missed it click Windows File Explorer
The Save As window is simply the computers’ way of asking you what’s the file name going to be and where the file should be saved. Name and location.
File Name & Location – Saving Files.
Near the bottom of the window, you’ll see the File Name box.
And you’ll also notice that whatever text is written in the File Name box is highlighted.
Which means you can just start typing the name of the file.
You don’t have to click into the box, you don’t have to delete the text that’s already there, you can simply begin typing the name of the file.
In highlighting the text in the File Name box, the computer is setting it up for you.
It wants you to type a name for the file, it’s waiting for you to type a name. So just begin typing and the text that’s already there will disappear, automatically.
In our example, you can see I’ve called the new file At Home Computer.
So that’s the file name sorted.
Just below the File Name box, you’ll see the SAVE AS TYPE box.
This box is a drop-down menu that details all the different file formats in which the file could be saved.
We’re not going to get into file formats here. We’ll come back to that box later in the course.
Now that you’ve named your file, you’ll need to give it a location.
You’ll need to tell the computer which folder to save the file into.
In this example, we’re going to place the file on the Desktop.
To do that, left-click once on Desktop in the navigation pane (the left-hand panel).
If you can’t see Desktop in the navigation panel, click the small arrow beside THIS PC. You may also need to scroll up or down to find Desktop.
When you click Desktop in the navigation pane, the main window will change to show the contents of your Desktop folder (what’s on your Desktop).
To save the file onto your Desktop, click the SAVE button.
And the file is saved. Here it is on the Desktop.
Saving Files To Other Folders.
If you didn’t want to save the file onto the Desktop, you can save a file into any of your default folders, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Music or Videos, in exactly the same way.
In the Save As window, instead of clicking on Desktop in the navigation pane, simply click the folder that you want to use.
So if the file is going into your Documents folder, you’d click Documents, if it were going onto the Pictures folder, you’d click Pictures etc.
How To Save A File Into A Subfolder.
Now that you can save a file into one of your main folders (Desktop, Documents, Pictures etc), the next step is how to save a file into a sub folder. A folder that is inside one of those other folders.
As an example, inside my Documents folder, I’ve got a subfolder called At Home Computer Docs.
To save the file into that subfolder, the process is exactly the same as before.
It’s just file name and location.
So here we are in Notepad again. This file needs to be saved into the folder At Home Computer Docs, which is inside my Documents folder.
Left-click FILE then left-click SAVE AS.
The Save As window opens.
Type a name for your file in the File Name box.
Naming your file is always the first thing you should.
Name then location.
With the file named, now for the location.
In the navigation pane, left-click Documents.
The main window will display the contents of your Documents folder.
Now you need to find the subfolder that you want to save the file into.
If you’ve got a lot of files and folders, you may have to scroll up or down to find the folder that you want.
When you’ve found the folder, double left click on it to open it and then click the SAVE button.
And the file will be saved into the folder.
As a side note and building on what we did on the File Explorer page, take a look at the address bar.
It’s showing you exactly which folder you are in.
And again, if you wanted to save the file into a subfolder of your Desktop, Pictures, Music or Videos folders, then it’s the same process.
Instead of clicking the Documents folder in the navigation pane, you’d simply click the folder you required.
How To Save a File Into A New Folder.
When working on our computers, we don’t always have a folder ready and waiting to save our files into (oh to be organised).
Often we’ll simply create the file first (whatever it may be) and then decide that it needs to be saved into its own folder. But we can create a new folder while we’re saving the file.
As ever, to save the file, click FILE and then SAVE AS. In the Save As window, name the file and then in the navigation pane, click the main folder (Desktop, Documents, Pictures etc).
To create a new folder for the file to be saved into, left-click the NEW FOLDER button.
When your new folder appears, immediately type a name for it.
On the At Home Computer Course, we’ve already covered creating & naming folders, but if you missed that guide you can review it here How To Create Name Rename And Delete Folders
Normally the NEW FOLDER button will be there, but sometimes it isn’t. It all depends on which programs you’re using.
But if you can’t see the NEW FOLDER button, you can right-click on the main window, move your pointer onto the word NEW and then left-click FOLDER on the second menu.
Or you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + N
Don’t forget to name your folder.
Now that you’ve created and named your folder, click the OPEN button.
And finally, click the SAVE button.
Your new file will be saved into your new folder.
Saving A File Onto A USB Flash Drive.
Sometimes you’ll want to save your file directly onto a USB drive or some other storage device that you’ve attached to your computer, rather than into a folder.
It’s exactly the same as above. Click FILE and then click SAVE AS. The Save As window opens. Name your file, just as we’ve done earlier.
To save the file onto your USB stick (flash drive), find your drive in the navigation pane and then left-click it once.
The main window will change to show you the contents of your flash drive.
Click the SAVE button.
Saving A File In Word Or Excel.
If you’re using the latest version of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc) then things are very slightly different.
Once the SAVE AS window opens, it’s exactly the same as above. Name and location
Where Is The File Button?
Sometimes you’ll be using a program that doesn’t seem to have a FILE button. Or at least you won’t be able to see it.
As an example, if you open a picture in the Windows Photo app, for instance, there isn’t a FILE button.
So how do you save your file now?
Often the FILE button will be replaced with an options menu that’s hidden under another button or icon.
In the Photos app, the options are hidden beneath the 3 horizontal dots in the top right corner.
Left-click on the 3 horizontal dots and a menu will open.
To save your picture, left click SAVE AS.
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