"Don't Save" - Another Way to Undo Something

For those of you who are making and saving files, here's a tip that may be useful on occasion.

In another article ("Remember The Undo Command"), I went over the Undo command. The Undo command is very useful, however, in some programs you can only undo the one last thing you did (or just the last few things you did). In these programs, if you do a number of things, and get your work screwed up, so Undo won't help you, here's another thing that you can try.

When you are working in most programs (like a word processing program for typing), you should save your work "every five minutes" so if the power goes off, you will only loose up to five minutes of work, at the most.

If you get your work screwed up and Undo won't help, you can get your work back to the way it was the last time you saved. To do this, you have to close your file and NOT save it when you are closing it. Then you can open your file again, which will get the last version you saved.

To close your file, click on the Close button of the program you are using. It will ask you if you want to save your changes (the wording of this question can vary quite a bit from one program to the next). Read this carefully, like a lawyer (if you click on the wrong button, it will replace your last saved version, with the current screwed up one - with most programs this error can NOT be fixed, so read carefully), and click on which ever button will NOT save your changes. Then open your file again, the way you normally do, and it will be back to the way it was when you last saved. If it is still screwed up (which happens to all of us on occasion), you will have to correct the problems by re-tying things correctly.

More Advanced Tip: If you are not sure if you want to throw out the current version of your work, to revert back to the last saved version, save your current version "AS" a different file, like "temp" first, then close it, and open your last saved file to see if it is in better shape than the "temp" file. Then use which ever file is closest to what you are making.

This tip can also be handy if you tell your computer to do something, and says, "You will not be able to undo this. Are you sure you want to continue?" When I get this, I click on the Cancel button, save my work, and then do it. This way, if it does something I don't want, I can get it back to my last saved version. Note: It is also a good idea to run a test on a dummy file, before using your good file to do this sort of thing.

Thanks to a reader in Australia for suggesting we include this tip.

Written by Jim McGinn
Copyright 2002, McGinnovation Inc.

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