How to Disable the Fast Save Feature in Word

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The Fast Save feature in word processing software like Microsoft Word is handy because it can shorten the time you spend waiting for your system to save your work. This may not be much of a concern with smaller documents, but if you’re working with especially large documents, the file save process can be lengthy. Despite the advantages of quick save times, the way in which the feature works can potentially allow access to sensitive information contained in your document without you even realizing it.

How Fast Save Works

When Fast Save is enabled, the act of saving a file doesn’t actually involve your entire file when you click the save button located on the toolbar, or when you press the CTRL+​S hotkey. Instead, it only appends changes you have made to the original document. In this way, the amount of information being saved with each save command is significantly reduced.

Why is this an important consideration for document security? Because anything you put into the document, including comments and information you may have thought you deleted, are still accessible to anyone who has a copy of the document and knowledge of how to get to that information.

Other Drawbacks to Fast Save

Though most users will likely not encounter issues with Fast Save, it is worth noting other possible issues the feature can present:

  • A Fast Save file may be more susceptible to corruption because of the greater complexity of the file saving process.
  • Word processors from other manufacturers that may normally be able to open your Microsoft Word file type may encounter problems opening a Fast Save file.
  • The file size of Fast Save file are larger and take up more space.
  • Software designed to complement or assist your word processing software, such as document management systems or spelling and grammar check software, may run into conflicts with the Fast Save file.

How to Disable Fast Save

This knowledge may sound like something only a forensic specialist may have, but it is not as complicated as you may think; most text editing software can reveal the history of changes to a document.

To be on the safe side, you can turn the Fast Save feature off by following these simple steps:

  1. Click on Tools in the top menu.
  2. Select Options from the menu list.
  3. Click on the Save tab.
  4. Under the Save options section, uncheck the box beside "Allow fast saves."
  5. Click OK.

You may spend a little extra time waiting for your documents to save, but it can provide you with an extra bit of security against accidentally exposing private data!

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