Enable “Save As” in OS X El Capitan, Yosemite, Mountain Lion, & OS X Mavericks
Mac users with Mac OS X Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, and Mountain Lion 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 macOS Sierra, OS X El Capitan, 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 Mac OS X!
How to Use “Save As” in OS X El Capitan, Mavericks, Yosemite, & 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 all modern versions of Mac OS X.
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, El Capitan, Yosemite, & 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
Here’s how this looks creating the “Save As…” keyboard shortcut in Mac OS X Yosemite and El Capitan onward:
And here’s how the keystroke creation looks in older versions of OS X like Mavericks and Mountain Lion, it’s exactly the same despite slightly different appearances to visual elements:
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, the video approach works with any version of OS X beyond version 10.8, including 10.9.+, 10.10.+, 10.11+. Here is a quick setup of the “Save As…” keystroke in OS X Yosemite and El Capitan:
As you can see it’s exactly the same. The essential thing to remember is to properly type “Save As…” (with three periods) as the menu item so that it’s properly recognized. Once you enable this keyboard shortcut, you won’t need to use the Option modifier menu toggle mentioned at the top of this article either. Great, huh?