Saving Files or Documents

In order to save a new document or file you must first choose the Save command. Most modern software place this command in a menu which you access with the mouse button or Alt key. Each file must be given a filename so it can be found easily the next time it is needed.

Modern operating systems allow computer users to use filenames up to 256 characters. Mac users, Windows 9X & NT/2000 and UNIX/LINUX (along with a few other) use long file names but names using over 32 characters get unwieldy. It is better to use a directory or folder to help describe them and keep common files together with shorter filenames.

Computers using older operating systems followed the 8.3 rule: a filename can only be 1 to 8 characters long followed by a 1 to 3 character extension separated by a dot. Three character extensions are common because of this.

Many modern software programs (applications) add their own extension to filenames. These extensions allow operating systems to recognize certain filenames and associate (match) them to the program that created it.

As well as choosing a filename, users must choose a directory and/or disk to store the file in. Make sure that you are consistent and use a logical structure. Once you are sure you know where the file is going to be stored press Enter on the keyboard or press the left mouse button over the word Save or Okay to store the document on a disk, in the directory with the filename you have chosen. Some software programs will automatically save files in specific directory that is created when the program is installed (default settings). You can usually changed these settings using the applications Preferences/Options. Always note the filename and directory at the point of saving the file.

Some common rules are:

  • All files are saved on a disk or storage device.
  • A disk is usually broken up into directories and sometimes into partitions.
  • A directory or folder is a way of keeping like files in a common area.

A partitioned disk, though physically a single disk, is treated like separate disks and given a separate drive letter (and/or name).

It is possible to save or move files anywhere that your computer can access. This includes disk (or other storage devices) on your computer, to any directory or sub-directory on your computer, on a network that your computer is connected to or a cloud service that you have access to. Always make sure that you have chosen the correct directory and filename before pressing Enter or choosing Save.

Last updated: February 17, 2021