Thank’s to OS X, lost work could become a thing of the past. Barring catastrophic failure of the hard drive, you need no longer worry about losing stuff of things go wrong. This is because OS X now has two clever system built into it: Auto Save and Version.
Provided you’re using an app that has support for these two features built in, OS X automatically saves what you do as you go along. If you late decide you want to jump back to an older version of the file, Then Versions enables you to do just that.
We’re going to take a look at how these two systems works so that you can make the most of them. The first thing to know is that not all your apps will work with Auto Save and Versions, although most ow do, particularly major applications. If you’re using iWork ’09, it might also need updating, you need to be running at least Pages 9.1, Keynote 5.1 and Numbers 2.1. Check by opening the app in question and going to Pages ? About Pages, Keynote ? About Keynote or Numbers ? About Numbers. If you bought a box copy, go to http://bt.ly/iworkupdate to get the update. Other OS X Mountain Lion apps, including TextEdit and Preview, are fully Auto-Save- and Versions-compliant.
Crucially, though – and we can’t stress enough just how important this is – you have to save your file once, manually, before Auto Save and Versions are able to kick in. So if you start writing a letter, save it immediately and you won’t have to worry afterwards. But, fail to do so, and your Mac won’t record your changes, since you’ve not yet told the system where to save them.
One thing that’s missing from the File menu is Versions-compliat apps is the Save As command. In previous versions of OS X, this would enable you to save a copy of the file you were working on, while retaining the original as a master version. Save As has now been replaced by Duplicate, which pops up a second window with the contents of your document. Note that this copy isn’t initially saved, however, so make sure you do this before you start working on it.
Also worth nothing is that in TextEdit, for example, the only way to save a document in a different format – which used to be done using Save As – is to make a duplicate and then save it, at which point you can choose a new format.
Quite why Apple has chosen this somewhat long-winded way of working isn’t clear. Anyway, let’s wake a closer look at Versions and how it works…
- Create Your Document > let’s create a simple TextEdit document. First save the file somewhere on your Mac’s drive such as the desktop, even before you start work. This will ensure that Versions and Auto Save can start their work.Now go to File ? Save, or press Command + S.
- Get To Work > As you write, your file is automatically saved. If you quit TextEdit, you won’t actually be prompted to save, since your changes have been stored automatically. Next time you open that file, the new work will be there waiting for you. That’s Auto Save in a nutshell.
- Save A Version > As your work, there’s nothing stopping you from pressing Command + S or using File ? Save a Version. This records the document, in its exact state, in the Version timeline, so you can revert to this precise point in your work at any time.
- Option Menu > Now hover your mouse pointer over the name of your file in the top of the window and you’ll see a triangle appear to its right. Click this to see a menu. Note the Revert to Last Saved Version entry, Which instantly takes you to the previous versions.
- Revert to Saved > Using Last Saved Version takes you back to the point your file was at when you last saved it (or hit Command + S). If you haven’t saved a version since you opened the file, you’ll be taken back to that point. When you revert to saved, OS X also saves a new versions.
- Browse Previous Versions > From the menu noted in step 4, select browse All Versions… This opens up the timeline that’s shown on the opposite page, with your current document on the left and previous versions on the right, giving you a quick side-by-side comparison of the two.
- Go Back In Time > Click on of the windows in the stack on the right to bring it forward so you can compare it to the current file.To move back, use the timeline on the right. As you hover over each notch, you’ll see when that version was saved. Click it to bring it to the front.
- Bring It Back > Once you’ve found the correct version to restore, click restore below. Remember that OS X will have saved a new version, so if you later realise you actually want part of the content you lost by reverting, it’ll be sitting waiting for you in your timeline – simple!