Beware of Auto Save in Microsoft Project!

You may initially think that Microsoft Project’s auto save feature can be a great life saver… but beware!

When you save a project schedule in Microsoft Project — either manually or automatically — all of your ‘undo’ operations are removed.

Prior to the save:

Auto Save in Microsoft Project

After the save (notice the ‘Undo’ button on the Quick Access Toolbar is greyed out):

Auto Save in Microsoft Project


The danger of auto save should be obvious; if Microsoft Project is configured to auto save periodically (every 5 minutes, 15 minutes, etc.) and if you have completed a series of actions in the project schedule that you may want the ability to undo, then the next auto save could wipe them out. You then need to remember the exact steps that you performed and the order that you performed them… and reverse them manually.

Instead, you can choose to disable the Microsoft Project auto save feature and ‘train yourself’ to manually save periodically… when you are ready to lose your undo operations.

To disable the auto save feature in Microsoft Project, complete the following steps:

1. Click the ‘File’ tab to enter the Microsoft Project Backstage.

Auto Save in Microsoft Project


2. Click the ‘Options’ item at the bottom of the Backstage menu.

Auto Save in Microsoft Project


3. In the ‘Project Options’ dialog box, click the ‘Save’ option in the left panel.

Auto Save in Microsoft Project


4. On the ‘Save’ page, deselect the ‘Auto save’ option, then click the ‘OK’ button to close the ‘Project Options’ dialog box.

Auto Save in Microsoft Project


If you MUST enable the auto save feature in Microsoft Project, I strongly recommend that you also enable the‘Save active project only’ option, as well as the ‘Prompt before saving’ option; these selections will limit the auto save to the project that you are currently working on, and Microsoft Project will prompt you before saving (and deleting your undo operations).

Auto Save in Microsoft Project

Written by Tony Zink

Tony Zink is Vice President of Learning and Innovation at Houston, Texas-based EPMA, a Gold Microsoft Project and Portfolio Management Partner that provides PPM implementation, integration, development, training, and support services to large and small organizations world-wide. Tony volunteers his time to the Project Management, MS Project, and SharePoint user communities through organizing and presenting at conferences, user groups, and round table sessions, publishing articles, and answering questions in online forums. Tony co-authored two of the best-selling books in the Project and Portfolio Management field, ‘Implementing and Administering Microsoft Project Server 2010’ and ‘Managing Enterprise Projects with Microsoft Project Server 2010’, and he developed the entire training curriculum for EPMA Institute. In Tony’s spare time, he is a bass slapper, a quadcopter pilot, and a karaoke superstar.

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