Saving and Sharing Documents

Save and share Microsoft Word 2016 documents to your computer or OneDrive account. Use the export as PDF Word function as well.


When you create a new document in Word, you'll need to know how to save it so you can access and edit it later. As with previous versions of Word, you can save files to your computer. If you prefer, you can also save files to the cloud using OneDrive. You can even export and share documents directly from Word.

Watch the video below to learn how to save and share Word documents.

Save and Save As

Word offers two ways to save a file: Save and Save As. These options work in similar ways, with a few important differences.

About OneDrive

Most features in Microsoft Office, including Word, are geared toward saving and sharing documents online. This is done with OneDrive, which is an online storage space for your documents and files. If you want to use OneDrive, make sure you’re signed in to Word with your Microsoft account. Review our lesson on Understanding OneDrive to learn more.

To save a document:

It's important to save your document whenever you start a new project or make changes to an existing one. Saving early and often can prevent your work from being lost. You'll also need to pay close attention to where you save the document so it will be easy to find later.

  1. Locate and select the Save command on the Quick Access Toolbar.
    clicking the Save command on the Quick Access toolbar
  2. If you're saving the file for the first time, the Save As pane will appear in Backstage view.
  3. You'll then need to choose where to save the file and give it a file name. Click Browse to select a location on your computer. Alternatively, you can click OneDrive to save the file to your OneDrive.
    clicking Browse
  4. The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the location where you want to save the document.
  5. Enter a file name for the document, then click Save.
    using the Save As dialog box
  6. The document will be saved. You can click the Save command again to save your changes as you modify the document.

You can also access the Save command by pressing Ctrl+S on your keyboard.

Using Save As to make a copy

If you want to save a different version of a document while keeping the original, you can create a copy. For example, if you have a file named Sales Report, you could save it as Sales Report 2 so you'll be able to edit the new file and still refer back to the original version.

To do this, you'll click the Save As command in Backstage view. Just like when saving a file for the first time, you'll need to choose where to save the file and give it a new file name.

clicking the Save As command

To change the default save location:

If you don't want to use OneDrive, you may be frustrated that OneDrive is selected as the default location when saving. If you find this inconvenient, you can change the default save location so This PC is selected by default.

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
    clicking the File tab to open Backstage view
  2. Click Options.
    Clicking Options in Backstage view
  3. The Word Options dialog box will appear. Select Save on the left, check the box next to Save to Computer by default, then click OK. The default save location will be changed.
    Changing the default save location


Word automatically saves your documents to a temporary folder while you are working on them. If you forget to save your changes or if Word crashes, you can restore the file using AutoRecover.

To use AutoRecover:

  1. Open Word. If autosaved versions of a file are found, the Document Recovery pane will appear on the left.
  2. Click to open an available file. The document will be recovered.
    recovering a document with the AutoRecover feature

By default, Word autosaves every 10 minutes. If you are editing a document for less than 10 minutes, Word may not create an autosaved version.

If you don't see the file you need, you can browse all autosaved files from Backstage view. Select the File tab, click Manage Versions, then choose Recover Unsaved Documents.

accessing all unsaved versions

Exporting documents

By default, Word documents are saved in the .docx file type. However, there may be times when you need to use another file type, such as a PDF or Word 97-2003 document. It's easy to export your document from Word to a variety of file types.

To export a document as a PDF file:

Exporting your document as an Adobe Acrobat document, commonly known as a PDF file, can be especially useful if you're sharing a document with someone who does not have Word. A PDF file will make it possible for recipients to view—but not edit—the content of your document.

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view, choose Export, then select Create PDF/XPS.
    selecting the Export as PDF command
  2. The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the location where you want to export the document, enter a file name, then click Publish.exporting a document as a PDF file

If you need to edit a PDF file, Word allows you to convert a PDF file into an editable document. Read our guide on Editing PDF Files for more information.

To export a document to other file types:

You may also find it helpful to export your document to other file types, such as a Word 97-2003 Document if you need to share with people using an older version of Word or as a .txt file if you need a plain-text version of your document.

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view, choose Export, then select Change File Type.
    selecting Change File Type
  2. Select a file type, then click Save As.
    choosing a file type for export
  3. The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the location where you want to export the document, enter a file name, then click Save.

You can also use the Save as type drop-down menu in the Save As dialog box to save documents to a variety of file types.

selecting a file type from the Save As Type box drop-down menu

Sharing documents

Word makes it easy to share and collaborate on documents using OneDrive. In the past, if you wanted to share a file with someone you could send it as an email attachment. While convenient, this system also creates multiple versions of the same file, which can be difficult to organize.

When you share a document from Word, you're actually giving others access to the exact same file. This lets you and the people you share with edit the same document without having to keep track of multiple versions.

In order to share a document, it must first be saved to your OneDrive.

To share a document:

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view, then click Share.
    clicking the Share option in Backstage view
  2. The Share pane will appear.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about different ways to share a document.

edit hotspotsthe share pane

Post to Blog

From here, you can use Word to post entries directly to your blog if you use one of the supported blogging sites such as SharePoint Blog, WordPress, or Blogger.


  1. Open our practice document.
  2. Use Save As to create a copy of the document. Name the new copy Saving Challenge Practice. You can save it to a folder on your computer or to your OneDrive.
  3. Export your document as a PDF.