Stop “Save As” From Changing Original File in OS X Mountain Lion

Sep 25, 2012 - 16 Comments

Stop Save As changing original file in OS X

“Save As” is back in OS X Mountain Lion and Mavericks, but many users have complained of how it modifies the original file in addition to the newly saved file, thereby defeating the purpose of how many people use Save As. If this bothers you, you’ll be pleased to discover that from OS X 10.8.2 onward, there is now an easy option to toggle that prevents Save As from altering the original file when it’s called.

Note that if you do not see this feature or option, you need to update OS X to a more modern version.

  • Open a file and choose “Save As” as usual
  • At the Save dialog window, uncheck the box for “Keep changes in original document”
  • Save as usual

As long as that checkbox is not active, the original file will not be modified.

Though there isn’t a system-wide adjustment to control this behavior in all apps, you do only have to uncheck it once per application. In other words, if you uncheck it in Preview for one file, it will be automatically disabled for every other file opened in Preview app, unless it is checked again of course.

Many users thought this was a bug when it was first discovered, but it’s actually just a part of the Versions feature of OS X. If you don’t like the way it behaves, just toggle the ‘changes to original document’ option to OFF and proceed as usual.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. George Trethewey says:

    There is a way to apply this to all applications:

    defaults write -g NSDocumentSaveAsShouldRevert -bool true

    Unfortunately, applications in which you’ve already used Save As… may have saved their own copy of the setting, so you still need to keep an eye out.

  2. mike says:

    Come and join our thread on Apple Discussions. When a thread reaches 63 pages you know you’ve done something wrong.

  3. Guest says:

    The option is only smoke in the eyes: an illusion of safety.
    It is NOT that it does not save the changes. It saves the changes while you type and it revert to the original when you save as…

    Imagine the application you are using crashes with the Save As dialog open. No new file, of course, but the old one contains the changes. You never saved it, but autosave did.

    The real problem here is Autosave and Versions, the dummiest version control implementation ever made by human.

  4. Gene says:

    Apple is moving OS X toward iOS. In iOS, changes to documents usually are automatically saved.

  5. A1 says:

    Hmm can’t see that option anywhere, I’m on 10.8.2 any advice?

  6. James Ludtke says:

    It is a very good sign that Apple listened to its customers, and finally provided a way to “Save As” the original way.

    BTW, I did not like auto-save when it first came out. Not to go against the trend, I left it on anyhow. When I finally got tired of the lack of “Save As”, I turned auto-save off, only to find out that I got used to auto-save. So I turned it back on.

    Now I can have the old way of “Save As”, and the new way of auto-save.

    Good for Apple. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Also thanks to all the Mac-loving complainers.

  7. Roger Beamon says:

    Agree with Mark, but now that I’ve got shift+cmd+s envoking “Save As” plus Paul’s suggestion here, I can finally return to my antediluvian use of Pages and Preview.

    Thanks Paul.

  8. I agree with Mark. Why would the behavior of “Save As…” be changed? It has been the same since 1984: If you want to save the document, you “Save…” if you want to keep the original and make a different version, you use “Save As…”!

    Is there some amazing benefit to making changes to both that I’m just not seeing?

  9. Mark Evans says:

    What kind of idiot would set the default behavior to change the original file?!?!?

    • Matthew Browne says:

      I agree with Mark’s comment – this is madness! My faith is OSX is sliding with these continuous stupid ideas… Its been getting slower since Snow Leopard and the addtional features are usually not helpful or downright daft like this one… Seriously?! Come on apple, we turned to OSX because we want to get out work done and not worry about crashes and stupid bits

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