How To Bring Back “Save As” In OS X 10.7 Lion (Almost)



I’m with Shawn Blanc. I miss “Save As” too.

I miss it so much, that since upgrading to Lion, I’ve stopped using TextEdit, and I switched to free rich text editor Bean instead – simply because it still supports the “Save As” command.

So where did “Save As” go? In a lot of Apple’s own apps, it’s been replaced by “Duplicate”. It’s all part of Lion’s autosave system, which saves versions of your file in the background while you work.

Duplicating can help you achieve the same thing as “Save As”, but it’s slightly more fiddly than it was before.

So if you also miss having a “Save As” command, what can you do about it? Here are a few options.

  1. You could do what Shawn Blanc did, and hack together some kind of keyboard macro that near-as-dammit replicates “Save As” – he used Keyboard Maestro to do it.
  2. Or you could map the traditional “Save As” keyboard shortcut – Command+Shift+A – to the “Duplicate” command. This doesn’t really change how things work, but might make Duplicate easier to use. Gruber’s tried this. I’ve tried it too, but didn’t find that it helped much.
  3. Another option is to do exactly as above, but remap the “Export…” command to the old “Save As” keyboard shortcut. This is slightly better, in that you get a save sheet right away and can type your new filename. OSX Daily has instructions for doing this. This is better, in my opinion, but frustratingly doesn’t work in TextEdit, which doesn’t have a plain “Export…” menu option (only “Export as PDF…”).
  4. You could try to re-wire your brain to do “Save As” in the Finder, by highlighting the file you want to save as something else, then hitting Command+D to create a duplicate of it there. The duplicate’s filename will be highlighted, ready for you to immediately rename it there. Quite frankly, this isn’t really any less fiddly than using Duplicate as Apple intended.

Of all of these, option 3 is probably my favorite, and I’ve used it with some success inside Preview. It hasn’t helped me get back to TextEdit, though – I’m still writing my rich texts inside Bean (and happily so, I might add).

Have you got any other “Save As” hacks or tips? Do you think we should all just stop fretting about it and accept Apple’s new way of doing things? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

  • Len Williams

    Wow, I’m still using Snow Leopard so I didn’t know “Save As” had been eliminated in Lion. What an abomination!! As a graphic designer I regularly take old files and Save As with new names when I want to create an ad, brochure or other design with the same physical size and characteristics but new content. If this is gone, it limits my functionality entirely in this regard! This is madness!!!!

  • Dufus Del Dia

    I don’t find “Duplicate” any harder to use than “Save As,” but maybe that’s just me.
    I hit “Duplicate” and get a new window.  
    In that window, I hit “Save” and it gives me a “Save As” Dialog Box, just like I’m used to getting.

    I don’t understand what the issue is.  One extra click is that big of a deal?

  • ddevito

    Don’t care – still love Lion.

  • Dan Bennett

    Len, this has only been changed in Apple’s own built in software so Photoshop etc still works as expected.

  • Don Pope

    The functionality is not gone, just replaced with “Duplicate”.

  • Arne

    Another big difference is that the old “Save As” kept the saved as file open to continue working in. Duplicate and Export don’t do that. This can cause workflow disruption when using TextEdit and Preview.

  • marsofearth

    One extra click is a big deal.  Especially from a company that prides itself in streamlining the UI for ease of use.

    Apple seams to be moving away from “professional” users towards “consumer” users, which I can understand and do applaud if it helps simplify the UI for “Consumer” users.

    Just wish there was a “Pro” button or something that would give back some of the expected power tools and streamlined workflow that professional users expect.

    Little things become HUGE things for professionals.

  • billsweatt

    One of the primary reasons I haven’t “upgraded” to Lion.  

  • Lee Hinderstein

    I agree!  Bring back the “save as”.  It is also one of the reasons I waited so long to go to Lion.  I like it enough and it seems reasonably stable, but it has turned my world upside down.

  • Lee Hinderstein

    I too am a graphic designer and agree with everything you said!  I get that they have the new versions, but really, they should have made it an option!

  • Joaquin Jang

    I really, really miss Command-shift-S in Pages and Numbers. I’ve had to use the recover function more than once to get a doc back.

  • DChord568

    @dufus Let’s dispense with the fiction that the new Duplicate paradigm is merely “one extra click” when compared with Save As.

    Here is the reality of the steps that must be taken to achieve the same result in Snow Leopard vs. Lion…


    ??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. Thus…)

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

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


    ??1) Choose Duplicate from the File Menu.??

    2) Choose Save from the File Menu so that you can give your new document a meaningful name beyond “Copy of….”?? (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.?

    It’s more than evident that Apple’s developers didn’t ask anyone in the real world how this monumental change in operating procedure might actually affect their workflow.

    I challenge anyone to point out another change in the history of daily use of the Mac that has been more profound, or has brought on louder complaints. And yet I fear Apple will ignore the uproar and persist in its “We know better than you do what’s best for you” mode.

  • FrankAH

    As other have commented I also left off from uploading Lion because of losing some functionality. But because of MobileMe being dropped in favour of iCloud this week the time came to say goodby to the old faithful Snow Leopard. I use Mac for business and have done so for many years, whilst Lion has some good features i.e. ‘File/Revert Document’. I use Soulver for calculations and have set up templates, one problem Soulver does not set up templates as with Pages, Numbers, etc. You have to save a file and use that each time then take the ‘Save as…’ option. On occasions I’ve hit ‘Save’ by mistake, ‘Revert Document’ in Lion is good to get you back to the original template file, excellent function.
    ‘Save as…” was good as you saved the file your working and it shut down the template file, so you can continue to work.
    With Duplicate you then have to save the file and close the old file, many would say so no great heartache! Though in business you could be doing this several or many times a day, slowing down your workflow affecting your productivity!