“Save As…” Quietly Returns To OS X In Mountain Lion, But Apple’s Still Being Stupid About It

“Save As…” Quietly Returns To OS X In Mountain Lion, But Apple’s Still Being Stupid About It

Finally.

One of the more bizarre changes that Apple introduced in OS X Lion was completely abandoning the “Save As…” option in documents.

Apple’s idea, of course, was to simplify saving files so that it worked more like iOS. They wanted to help make the file system invisible, so that when you’re working on a document, it automatically saves itself. All of the revisions are available, allowing you to switch back to old versions if you need to reference an older “copy” of the document. There’s no reason to “Save As…” anything.

It makes sense, but it’s a change that Apple made in OS X Lion that, while ostensiby much more friendly to new computer users, was extremely counterintuitive to Mac owners who’d actually been using “Save as…” for the last twenty years.

The good news? In OS X Mountain Lion, Apple’s re-introducing “Save as…” The bad news? It’s still hidden and unavailable from menus, but instead only accessible through a convoluted keyboard shortcute: Command-Shift-Option-S. For power users only, in other words. There’s no way to just discover it.

Here’s a thought, Apple… if you’re willing to backpedal this far, why not just go all the way and put it in the damn menus?

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  • zabaki

    Ah. Had been wondering about that.

    Fairly ignoring when you want to save a copy in a different directory.
  • Robs89

    Instead of using “Save as”, just use “Duplicate” and save this!

    I know it’s not as simple as “Save as”, but it works fine for me.
  • kootenayredneck

    They could backpedal on a few other items from Lion, or they could give us the option of turning off or deleting stuff that does’nt really make sense to hog space, like LaunchPad. What a waste of space.

  • MacAdvisor

    I use “Save As” regularly to use a previous document as the boiler plate for a new one. I don’t want the original disturbed, but want to use the text within. The loss of “Save As” is a real problem “Duplicate” works, but I have to leave Word to use it. 

    I don’t want MacOS to be identical to iOS. I don’t mind some overlap, but using Creative Suite 6 on a MacBook Pro is a rather different purpose than reading Cult of Mac of my iPad. Not every problem is a nail, not every solution a hammer. 
  • mr_bee

    Instead of using “Save as”, just use “Duplicate” and save this!

    I know it’s not as simple as “Save as”, but it works fine for me.

    That’s kind of the point though isn’t it?  It isn’t as simple.  

    To do “Save As..” now, we have to use Duplicate, wait a few moments for the system to go get all the (hidden) “versions,” and then create the new file which isn’t saved.  Then we have to explicitly save it and give it a new name anyway.  
    “Save As…” does all that in one step.   
  • MikeM

    From screenshots I’ve seen of the developer preview, you will get “Save As…” in the menu if you hold down the option key while selecting Duplicate. Same difference, I guess, as adding Option to the Duplicate keyboard shortcut.

    What I want to know is whether the return of Save As also means it will work as it did pre-Lion…that is, if the Save box it invokes will go to the same folder the original file resides in, or to an unrelated location (as is the case with Duplicate). 
    As to Instead of using “Save as”, just use “Duplicate” and save this! I know it’s not as simple as “Save as”, but it works fine for me”…

    Nice for you that you don’t mind taking SIX steps instead of two, but many of the rest of us aren’t so sanguine.

    A propos of what I wrote above, here is the difference between Save As in Snow Leopard and Duplicate in Lion…


    Save As in Snow Leopard:

    1) Choose Save As from the File Menu. (The folder the dialog box opens up to will be the same one your present document is located in, which is where you want to save your new document in most cases). 

    2) Type a name for your new document and key Return.

    You are now ready to begin working in your new document.

    Duplicate in Lion:

    1) Choose Duplicate from the File Menu.

    2) Choose Save from the File Menu to rename your new document. (The  folder the dialog box opens up to will be unrelated to the location of your present document. Thus…)

    3) Navigate to where you want to save your new document.

    4) Type a name for your new document  and key Return.

    5) Switch back to your old document.

    6) Close your old document.

    You are now ready to begin working in your new document.

    Thus, the concern I expressed in my second paragraph.

  • Frankw30

    Does anyone think Apple is going down the road of making the same mistakes that so turned off Microsoft users – i.e. “we know what’s best so shut up and adapt”!  Don’t even bother complaining because our ‘developers’ are already working on changes to the changes we just forced on you.

    At least when Steve Jobs was around the company faced up and admitted a mistake and reenabled the screen lock rotation switch on the iPad.   The buffoons that did away with “Save as” probably have no idea how much irritation and wasted time they’ve caused ordinary business users who might, for example,  just want to have a template to grade students and then email/print each individual students grade sheet.
    To my way of thinking this is just one tiny example of Apple’s going down the Microsoft path of “ignore the user”. 
  • Theo Bassline

    Thank the high holy heavens! The ‘duplicate’, ‘save’, but not, ‘save a version’ thing was, blech. Welcome back ‘save as’.

  • Theo Bassline

    Thank the high holy heavens! The ‘duplicate’, ‘save’, but not, ‘save a version’ thing was, blech. Welcome back ‘save as’.

  • Joaquin Jang

    The lack of “Save As” is one reason I use Nisus more for word processing than Pages. For schoolwork, in Nisus, I often open a previous document and begin to make changes, then “Save As.” For Pages, I would need to “Duplicate” first, then begin to make changes to the document. It’s not awful, but it’s an annoying change to my workflow that I’ve become very, very accustomed to.

  • Seraphiel

    Apple is on it’s way to hide the file-system for users. These are the early signs and steps they do to test the new waters. Hiding the file system works on the iOS devices, but on the Mac platform you get in trouble because people do a lot with files and therefore need some kind of file system. Not an easy task to hide the file system and still keep the OS usable. I guess we end up with a system where OS X knows what type of documents each app can open and save. Opening a file from preview will show you only the files that preview can open. Saving is done automatically and save as will be gone for good in future versions in favour for duplicate. The finder will be reduced to showing you document categories based on different criteria, like type, date of creation etc. A lot of Mac users use spotlight to open documents and apps. You don’t need to know where a document or app is on the drive, spotlight knows. When you want to share your documents with the world the internet and external drives kick in. I’m excited to see if they can pull this off. But I doubt it will go without big protests from people who don’t dare to try new things.

  • Joel Bruner

    Even if Save As… is “back” if you are working in an Apple app that uses Versions it has still been constantly updating that document, so using Save As… would be the same a Duplicate, no? Now, if Save As… rolled back all the changes on the current document and then saved all the new additions then it’d be in line with how one (coming from the old school) would expect Save As… to work

  • BrianCBock

    Apple is on it’s way to hide the file-system for users. … But I doubt it will go without big protests from people who don’t dare to try new things.

    I’m willing to try new things. But they can’t keep breaking the way people have done things for over 20 years. For example, I work on projects. I want to keep all the files related to a particular project together in one directory (with subdirectories) because that way I can put them all onto a thumbdrive, or zip them all up, or do whatever I need to do. With Apple’s new found hatred of allowing humans to control where their files are saved I’d have to go hunting in a bunch of different App-specific directories to find things. This is annoying and unproductive.

  • Conor Conay Jackson

    Also, go onto ‘File’ and hold down the Option Key. ‘Save As…’ appears there.

  • garlandsmith

    agree massively – still miss “save as”

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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