Save in Excel Using Shortcut Keys

Save early, save often!

Excel spreadsheet

You've put a lot of work into your Excel spreadsheet; don't let it slip away because you forgot to save it! Use these tips to keep your work safe and saved for the next time you need that file.

Excel Save Shortcut Keys

Save files in Excel with shortcut keys

(Ted French)

In addition to saving workbook files using the Save option located under the File menu or Save icon on the Quick Access toolbar, Excel has the option to save using shortcut keys on the keyboard.

The key combination for this shortcut is:

Ctrl + S

  • If the file has been saved before, the mouse pointer will change to an hourglass icon while the save takes place.
  • If the workbook is being saved for the first time, the Save As dialog box will open.

First Time Save

When a file is opened for the first time, two pieces of information must be specified in the Save As dialog box:

  • The name of the file (up to 255 characters including spaces).
  • The location (folder) where the file will be stored.

Save Frequently

Since using the Ctrl + S shortcut keys is such an easy way to save data, it is a good idea to save frequently – at least every five minutes – to avoid loss of data in the event of a computer crash.

Pinning Save Locations

Since Excel 2013, it has been possible to pin frequently used saved locations under Save As.

Doing so keeps the location readily accessible at the top of the Recent Folders list. There is no limit to the number of locations that can be pinned.

To pin a save location:

  1. Click on File > Save As.
  2. In the Save As window, place the mouse pointer on the desired location under Recent folders.
  3. At the far right of the screen, a small horizontal image of a push pin appears for that location.
  4. Click on the pin for that location. The image changes to that of a vertical image of a push pindrop-down indicating that the location is now pinned to the top of the Recent Folders list. 
  5. To unpin a location, click on the vertical push pin image again to change it back to a horizontal pin.

Saving Excel Files in PDF Format

Save files in PDF format using Save As in Excel 2010
(Ted French)

One of the features first introduced in Excel 2010 was the ability to convert or save Excel spreadsheet files in PDF format. 

A PDF file (Portable Document Format) allows others to view documents without needing the original program – like Excel – installed on their computer.

Instead, users can open the file with a free PDF reader program such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

A PDF file also allows you to let others view spreadsheet data without giving them the opportunity to change it.

Saving the Active Worksheet in PDF Format

When saving a file in PDF format, by default only the current, or active worksheet – that is the worksheet on screen – is saved.

The steps to saving an Excel worksheet in PDF format using Excel's Save as file type option are:

  1. Click on the File tab of the ribbon to view the available menu options.
  2. Click on Save As option to open the Save As dialog box.
  3. Choose a location for saving the file under the Save In line at the top of the dialog box.
  4. Type a name for the file under the File name line at the bottom of the dialog box.
  5. Click on the down arrow at the end of the Save as type line at the bottom of the dialog box to open the drop down menu.
  6. Scroll through the list to find and click on the  PDF (*.pdf) option to make it appear in the Save as type line of the dialog box.
  7. Click Save to save the file in PDF format and close the dialog box.

Save Multiple Pages or an Entire Workbook in PDF Format

As mentioned, the default Save As option only saves the current worksheet in PDF format.

There are two ways to change save multiple worksheets or an entire workbook in PDF format:

  1. To save multiple pages in a workbook, highlight those worksheet tabs before saving the file. Only these sheets will be saved in the PDF file.
  2. To save an entire workbook:
    • Highlight all sheet tabs;
    • Open Options in the Save As dialog box.

Note: The Options button only becomes visible after the file type is changed to PDF (*.pdf) in the Save As dialog box. It gives you a number of choices regarding what information and data are saved in PDF format.

  1. Click on the PDF (*.pdf) option to make the Options button appear in the Save as type line of the dialog box;
  2. Click on the button to open the Options dialog box;
  3. Select Entire Workbook in the Publish what section;
  4. Click OK to return to the Save As dialog box.