Microsoft Office 2021/365: AutoSave only in the cloud

[German]Frequent users of Microsoft Office 2021 and Office 365 have probably already noticed this. The AutoSave function now only saves files from Word, Excel and PowerPoint in the cloud (on OneDrive or SharePoint). A local storage is probably no longer supported.


AutoSave only in the cloud?

I confess I wasn't really aware of it, as I've opted out of Office as an author with Microsoft Office 2019 – as a user, I use older versions of Word, for what little manuscript editing I still need to do. So a Facebook post in an MVP group immediately jumped out at me.

Office 2021 AutoSave

AutoSave cyclically save the currently edited documents, in order to be able to fall back on the previous backup in case of a crash. Now, the person in question saw the AutoSave option in Office 2021 and got the indication that this feature can only save files to the cloud. Before the option can be turned on, there must be a connection to the cloud.

Microsoft documented that behavior

Microsoft has published the article What is AutoSave? for Office 365 on the topic, explaining that AutoSave is a new feature available in Excel, Word and PowerPoint for Microsoft 365 subscribers. The file the user is working on is then saved every few seconds. The article also includes a FAQ on the topic.

AutoSave is enabled by default in Microsoft 365 when a file is stored on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or in SharePoint Online. In addition, there is an article How do I turn on AutoSave? from Microsoft that explains how to turn on AutoSave. However, what doesn't seem to work is that this AutoSave is storing locally on the client – at least I didn't find anything in a hurry.


But the feature still seems to lead to discussions – on there is this discussion startet 3 months ago. There someone wants to remove this option completely, because he backs up to a "different cloud", away from Microsoft. The approaches described there to remove the option don't seem to work in newer Office builds.

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2 Responses to Microsoft Office 2021/365: AutoSave only in the cloud

  1. Mike Renna says:

    Any thoughts on this:

    I have pro plus 2021 installed on 2 different win 10 Pro PCs. both have autosave switch at top left of word. But not in Excel. Customize the ribbon does not have any autosave in excel (but does for word). File – options – save in excel doesn't have anything in Excel about autosave. But they are there in word.

    Microsoft says you need a 365 subscription for autosave. but does that mean you need to use office 365 desktop apps? (and implying it shouldn't work at all / shudln't be available in office 2021?). The fact that it IS there in word, but not in Excel complicates the question / expected answer… is word 2021 wrong for having autosave settings? Or Excel 2021 is wrong for NOT having autosave settings?

  2. Dee Tilli says:

    I cannot believe that this policy has not been outlawed by the regulators, at least here in Europe

    It is transparently designed to nudge or bully users into dependency on Microsoft's proprietary Cloud, or otherwise to suck them in by default

    It is at least as flagrant abuse of their monopoly position as the late 90s move which locked users into their crappy browser; this killed Netscape, and was eventually outlawed

    Autosave is critical, we have had it forever, it has formed our habits, ie induced habits of laziness

    WTF is the EU doing letting this go?

    I only found out when my old machine died and the second hand laptop I bought came with Office 365 (which is CRAP). I am hopping mad. Why does no one else care?

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