Microsoft Word – How to ALWAYS create a backup copy…

There is a little known feature in Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007, that by changing a simple default setting, Microsoft Word can automatically create a backup file of your work.

It can be very frustrating when you are working on a document of importance and you lose all your work as a result of a power failure or computer glitch.  This setting change could be your saving grace and prevent a lot of heartache.  When Microsoft Word is set to “Always create backup copy”, a backup copy of a document is created each time you save the document. Each backup copy replaces the previous backup copy. Word adds the phrase “Backup of” to the file name and applies the file extension .wbk to all backup copies. The backup copies are saved in the same folder as your original document.  Note: If you delete the original document without saving it, the backup copy will not include any changes you made since you last saved the document.

Word 2003

To change the setting to “Always create backup copy”

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Save tab.
  2. Select the Always create backup copy check box.

To Open a backup copy of a document

To be able to recover the previous version of your document after a power failure or similar problem, you must have the Always create backup copy check box selected on the Save tab in the Options dialog box (Tools menu) before the problem occurs, and you must have saved the document more than once.

  1. Click Open Button image.
  2. In the Files of type box, click All Files.
  3. If you want to open a backup copy that was saved in a different folder, locate and open the folder.
  4. Click the arrow next to Views Button image, and then click Details.In the Name column, the backup copy name appears as “Backup of document name“; in the Type column, the file type for the backup copy appears as “Microsoft Word Backup Document.”
  5. Locate and then double-click the backup copy to open it.

Note: The backup copies do not carry the typical *.doc file extension, but carries the file extension *.wbk

Word 2007

To change the setting to “Always create backup copy”

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button , and then click Word Options.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Scroll to the Save section, and then select the Always create backup copy check box.

To Open a backup copy of a document

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button , and then click Open.
  2. In the box next to the File name box on a computer that is running Windows Vista, or in the Files of type box on a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP, click All Files.
  3. If you want to open a backup copy that was saved in a different folder, locate and open the folder.
  4. Click the arrow next to Views , and then click Details.In the Name column, the backup copy name appears as Backup of document name. In the Type column, the file type for the backup copy appears as Microsoft Word Backup Document.
  5. Locate and double-click the backup copy to open it.
  6. If you want to work with the backup copy as a regular Word document, click the Microsoft Office Button , click Save As, and then type a name for the file in the File Name box.

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21 Responses to Microsoft Word – How to ALWAYS create a backup copy…

  1. techpaul says:

    This little-known Settings option has saved my bacon more than once.. though it hasn’t come into play as often now that I’ve installed a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) battery backup unit to my home office.. and Service Pack 1 made Vista more stable..

    Great tip!

  2. Rick says:

    TechPaul,

    This feature is also handy in situations where user error occurs… I liked the “saved my bacon” comment (LOL).

    Rick

  3. Susan says:

    This feature has been better than Pepto for that sick to my stomach feeling when I’ve clicked YES one to many times. It’s saved me hours of re-doing work.

    • whatsonmypc says:

      Sue,

      I like that “better than Pepto” comment… I know exactly what you are talking about. When I was managing a computer network I was obsessed with backups; however, I’ve seen users cry because of work they lost. Most of the time I was able to get it back for them…

      Rick

  4. Bobby Jones says:

    This trick has saved me more then a few times.

  5. Crazyboydeman says:

    THANK YOU SOO MUCH
    I toggled the thing on and forgot how to turn it off.
    Ironically, I used this to help relieve myself of extra files.

  6. whatsonmypc says:

    Crazyboydeman,

    Thanks for the comment and the reverse analogy on using this feature… I’ve toggled it “on” when working on something that is of great importance…

    Rick

  7. Ronald Rueda says:

    Hello everybody this my question about MS word
    pleas! send the answer to my e-mail
    In Microsoft Office, you have the option of opening a file in one of several ways. The options you can choose from include Open, Open Read-Only, and Open as Copy. What are the differences between these options? In what situations might you decide to choose one over the others? Give specific examples.

  8. Its almost a period of six month now that I regular search across the web to get Microsoft Word Help online. But almost daily I discover a new feature of this great word processing sofware. Before getting started I was thinking that 3 months duration will be sufficient to learn Microsoft Word and now after 6 months I really feel, there is a lot to learn yet. Nice post buddy..
    Thanks!

  9. te nny fogelberg says:

    since i got word 10 i can’t make copiesfrom my computer

  10. C. Voth says:

    THANK YOU. I spent 10 minutes searching for how to create a backup copy in MS Word 2007 and finally found the response I needed at your site.

  11. steph says:

    This post was helpful thanks- I didn’t know how to turn OFF creating automatic backups (it was cluttering up the shared work drive).

    What I would like to do is create backups but to save the backup files to my personal drive, not the location where the primary file is (shared drive)- does anyone know if this is possible?

    thanks for your help again

    cheers 🙂

    • Qboffin says:

      Steph, SyncBack is a backup utility that would allow you to scan your shared directory at predefined intervals. Use the filter option to look for the .wbk extensions. The freeware version does not support move (deleting after backup), although see http://2brightsparks.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=31433 for a workaround. Other backup utilities could probably provide the same functionality.

  12. Amar Coodly says:

    Was helpful…Thank you…:-)

  13. anum says:

    i have select the option to create backup, but the backup file is not created……how can i find ? where is it save in our system?

  14. Kristen says:

    THANK YOU!!!!! I wanted to remove this feature because the “backups” were overwhelming! I use a different back up program, and don’t need this one. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to post these simple instructions! You’re a life saver.

  15. Lisa says:

    This lead me to the correct place to turn off create a back up. Thank you, Lisa

  16. groovygi says:

    I had forgotten this existed, I sent this to my wife and she never knew it existed. This info will save alot of re typing. Thank you.

  17. buppee says:

    Thanks, I want to auto backup a different location, as i need & every time auto backup

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