Updated: 12/09/2018 by Computer Hope

The process of writing data to a storage medium, such as a floppy disk, CD-R, USB flash drive, or hard drive. The Save option is found in almost all programs commonly under the "File" drop-down menu or through an icon that resembles a floppy diskette, like that shown in the picture to the right. When clicking the Save option, the file will be saved as its previous name. However, if the file is new, the program will ask the user to name the file and where to save the file.


You may also you use the Save As... option to make a copy of the file you've already created or rename it.


Use the keyboard shortcut key Ctrl+S or Control+S on a PC to save a document or file at any time. If you are using a Mac, use the Cmd+S keyboard shortcut.

What does the save icon look like?

It is up to the developer of the program to decide how the save icon appears. However, to keep the familiarity of past computer programs, the save icon often looks like a floppy disk, which should resemble one of the icons shown below.

Save icons

File menu with the Save and Save As options

In the picture below is an example of the typical File menu with the Save option.


Some programs may hide this menu. If you do not see a File menu, try pressing the Alt key on the keyboard, move the mouse to the top of the screen, or look for a hamburger menu.


When saving, should I overwrite?

When saving a previously existing file, software programs will ask if you want to overwrite it. If you click "Ok" or "Yes," the previous file is replaced with the new version. If you want to save the file as a different name or in a different location, choose the Save As option instead of Save.

Why do we need to save files?

Unless the program you are using automatically saves as you are working, if a file is not saved it is lost. For example, if you are writing a book and power to your computer is lost, or the computer crashes anything that was typed written that was not saved is lost.

Where are files saved?

A program saves files to the destination of your choice. The program may default to a specific folder (e.g., My Documents) or may use the last used location as the starting place to save a file. You can browse to the folder or drive you want to save the file or use the default location.

How to save a file to the desktop

When you choose the Save or Save As option in your program, you can save to the desktop by clicking either the desktop icon or finding Desktop at the top of the "Save in" section.

How to save a file to a diskette or other drives?

To save a file to another diskette or another drive such as a USB flash drive, another hard drive, or network drive can be done one of two ways. First, while the file is open, you can choose the Save As option and then browse to the other drive. For example, in Microsoft Windows in the Save As window select "Computer" or "This PC" and then open the drive you want to save the file to and then choose the option to Save.

You can also copy (save) one or more files from their current location and paste the files to a diskette or other drives. Additional help and steps with how to copy and paste a file is available through the link below.

Autosave, Save As, Software terms, Store, Write