Enable “Save As” in OS X Mountain Lion & OS X Mavericks

Aug 27, 2012 - 28 Comments

Save As in OS X Mountain Lion

Mac users with OS X Mountain Lion & Mavericks finally have the option to bring back the much-loved “Save As” feature that was removed from Lion. It’s slightly hidden though, and there’s a few quirks with it, but we’ll show you how to access “Save As” and even better, how to have it always be visible by enabling a reasonable keyboard shortcut to use the feature again with a simple keystroke.

This will work on all Macs with OS X Yosemite, OS X Mavericks, and OS X Mountain Lion, leaving Lion to be the odd version out, as versions of Mac OS X prior to that retained Save As from the earliest days of the Mac operating system.

On with using Save As in modern OS X!

How to Use “Save As” in OS X Mavericks & Mountain Lion

For a one-off “Save As” of the current file in a supported application, just do the following:

  • Pull down the “File” menu and hold down the “Option” key to turn Duplicate into ‘Save As…’

Yes, this works the same in OS X Yosemite.

Because it’s hidden without the Option key, it’s not much better than just using Export or Duplicate. Instead, let’s enable the classic keyboard shortcut for Save As which also causes the feature to always be visible in File menus.

Note that unless you have the save modification of original file setting disabled, you still may wind up saving over the original file as well, even if you use Save As, thus you may want to disable that – this is a interesting quirk of the Versions feature in OS X that has yet to be completely resolved in the default state.

Setting a “Save As” Keyboard Shortcut in OS X Mavericks & OS X Mountain Lion

For starters, there already is a keyboard shortcut for Save As, but it’s clunky and requires you to hit four keys at once: Command+Option+Shift+S. Forget that, we’ll set the classic keyboard shortcut instead:

  • Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu and choose “Keyboards”
  • Click the “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab and choose “Application Shortcuts” from the list on the left
  • Press the [+] plus button to add a new shortcut, and for Menu Title type “Save As…” exactly, with the periods
  • Click to “Keyboard Shortcut” and hit the familiar Command+Shift+S, then click “Add”
  • Open any test document in TextEdit, Preview, or whatever other app, and hit Command+Shift+S to see the familiar Save As window return

Add a "Save As" keyboard shortcut to OS X Mountain Lion

With the classic keystroke enabled, you’ll find the mostly useless “Duplicate” function has been moved down in the File menu to make way for Save As being always visible and accessible.

And yes, this is actually Save As, not like the hack to map a keystroke to Export in Lion to obtain similar results.

The video below demonstrates both how to one-off Save As, and how to enable the classic Command+Shift+S keystroke to invoke the feature in Mac OS X:

And yes, you can use this in any version of OS X beyond version 10.8, including 10.9 and 10.10.

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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Steve says:

    A BIG thank you is required here

  2. supermano says:

    or click file and hit option…

    • Derp D. Derp says:

      Yes it says that about two sentences into the article under a giant bold header if you bothered to read it.

  3. Dah•veed says:

    There is a fairly big problem with Save as… in Mt Lion. It’s destructive to the original file, whereas the old version of OS X Save as… wasn’t.

    In the old version if you opened a file and made changes, then invoked Save as… and gave it a name and a save location a new file was made with the changes and the old file remained untouched. Not so with the version of Save as… in Mt Lion. The changes are saved to both the new file and the original file.

    • Frankns says:

      I confirm the same experience. The new ‘Save-as’ makes changes to BOTH the original and new file. So this particular ‘fix’ is no help.

    • Mcbuffy says:

      Yes, Save as… is NOT back as we knew it. Just use Duplicate and save the file, it works fine.

      • Longtime Mac says:

        Macworld published an article about a month ago that addressed this. They had a good—but not free—workaround. Basically create a workflow in Keyboard Maestro that duplicates the document when you want to and closes the original without saving changes. A kludge, but it works. It may be possible to do this with Automator but I haven’t looked.

        The comments are right, though, to point out that the new “Save As” command is destructive and will deliver surprising results to unaware users. Basically, I think Apple just gave us “old, unworkable folks” a pacifier so that we’d maybe not object to “Duplicate” so much. Bad news.

    • Mr Bill (8-o says:

      The associated article, “Stop “Save As” From Changing Original File in OS X Mountain Lion” says to uncheck the save to original option but it’s not there in Yosemite and it does definitely change toe original. If you want to make a change do the Save As before you modify (if you remember to do it) so you are acting on the new version.

  4. Edgar says:

    Stay away from this is you don’t want to have major problems finding yourself losing important documents.

    As already stated by Dah.veed, a save as will save on both the old and the new documents.

    Should be said at the beginning of the article!!

  5. icreongame says:

    Great, I was looking for this from past many days.

  6. twg says:

    Under “File” just click on “Duplicate” and change the name and save it. This does not override the old file name.

    • Dah•veed says:

      The issue here is that you have to have intention aforethought. Many times folks don’t decide that they want to save the changes as a separate file and keep the original untouched until well into the project of making changes.

      • Gustav says:

        This is true, but even though it was always the way, it was very dangerous behaviour. There’s always the chance of accidentally saving when trying to press a different keystroke or you were in the habit of pressing Cmd-S because you were saving a lot in another document previously.

        The new Save As… is worse because there’s no indication it did not behave as before.

  7. Thomas says:

    Sorry, but what is the real difference?

  8. Richard says:

    Apple seems to be making steps backwards these days. Removing Save As and replacing with Duplicate is just plain dumb. Why “fix” something that isn’t broken? And the fact that Save As now makes changes to both versions of the file. How can this kind of crap get past the Apple QA process? Or do they even have one nowadays?

  9. Remco says:

    It seems Apple has listened to the complaints, as 10.8.2 adds the option ‘Keep changes in original document’ in the Save As dialog. Thankfully it even seems to remember that you’ve disabled it.

    I tested this and if this option in the Save As dialog is unchecked, changes are NOT written to the original file.
    So unless I’m missing something here, Save As is working as ‘normal’ again.

  10. Jenn says:

    Thank you – this was perfect and incredibly helpful!

  11. adm says:


    Although the original author hasn’t bothered to respond to the MAJOR bugs in the original article (as described in detail in the comments), this now WORKS CORRECTLY on OS X Lion (10.8.2).

    Use it – it’s great.

    • Dean Shepherd says:

      Hi. I’m new here.

      I’ve got 10.8.2 installed. Are you saying the dodge described in this Article now works despite initial doubts/problems?

  12. scott says:

    oh my god. thank you.

  13. Thanks so much for this. It Works!

    There’s a disturbing trend in Apples OS where they seem to be both over thinking the interface and simultaneously dumbing it down for beginners.

    Here’s to hope they return to a more logical thinking process as they receive feedback from users.

    • Dean Shepherd says:

      Agreed. They’ve really emasculated scanning in Preview. In Snow Leopard it would pre-scan and select multiple objects automatically – no need to move crop lines around for each object. This was far in advance of any PC scanning software I use at work, even from HP.

      Now, even with 1.8.2, Preview can’t even delineate a single object. I have to move the crop lines to select even a single object. This does not even match the basic software on my PC at work (which itself hasn’t had the HP scanning software been updated since 2008 or maybe 2009 – so long ago I forget).

      Apple seems to be removing everything genuinely useful to people simply to add functions only the less intelligent tend to use. I think I need to go back to SL. Hopefully I can find a ay to do this.

      I only upgraded to ML from SL because I bought the USB Fender Strat guitar and AppleStore said it was necessary to have ML installed. I have since read from other USB Strat users that SL is fine.

  14. Dean Shepherd says:

    Just the job. Just what I needed to know.

    However, to truly achieve Scott’s ‘god’ status, thou shalt tell me –

    1) How to restore access to the ‘Library’ folder, and

    2) How to restore all the advanced scanning functions in ‘Preview’ lost when changing from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion.


    Satisfy number 1) and I will release Steve Jobs from his eternal incarceration;

    Satisfy 2) and I will anoint you as the one true god (for scott at least);

    Satisfy 1) and 2) and I will be seriously impressed.

  15. arumdev says:

    Dean Shepherd:

    To restore the library folder to it’s rightful home (in fact it’s always been there, it’s just hidden), paste the following line into terminal and press enter:

    chflags nohidden ~/Library/

    job done.

    I’m afraid I can’t help with problem 2.

  16. gherrick says:

    my problem is w Preview in 10.8.5. The procedure, “Enable “Save As” in OS X Mountain Lion,” set out above does not change the Preview menu, and it also does not show a “Duplicate” option, nor does the Opt key modification of the Preview>File produce the Save As… option. My only route is to export, which is annoying clumsy. Has something changed since the early 10.8 versions?
    Hey Apple: “If it ain’t broke…”

  17. Thank Goodness! says:

    You are a god… that is all

  18. blub says:

    Thanks a lot! I was getting crazy without “save as…”

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