In an effort to help users "save files to the cloud more easily," Microsoft has added an additional dialog box to save to Office 365 desktop applications, including Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
The new "save experience" was announced. in January, but will be released to all customers in September as part of the biannual Office release.
It should be so simple. Windows has a Save Embedded File dialog box. Developers can call the API, with options to customize it if necessary. Well, two APIs actually: the old Common File Dialog and the Common Element Dialog introduced in Windows Vista.
But this was not good enough for the Office team and in Office 2010, Microsoft introduced the Backstage as a document management function. Press Save As, or press Save to a document that has never been saved before, and enter the Backstage. This has the concept of Places, and if you are lucky, you can select a place, such as your Documents folder, write a name, change the file type if necessary and press Save, the Save function is represented by a floppy disk icon, apparently something that was necessary for the storage of documents in the previous computer history.
If you are not so lucky and the location you want does not appear in the Backstage, click Browse and the old Windows Save dialog box will appear. In this case, instead of saving you time, the Backstage has added an additional step.
There is an additional wrinkle in the Backstage. In Options, you can configure "Do not show Backstage when opening or saving files with keyboard shortcut". As this option implies, this means that you do not see the Backstage when invoking Save with Ctrl-S, but it does if you go to "File – Save As". However, it does not do so if you go to "File – Save", even with an unsaved document. Consistency, who needs it?
The Office team continued to reflect on how file saving could be improved, and recently an additional improvement occurred. When you save a document for the first time, you now get an "updated save experience" which by default is OneDrive or SharePoint Online. The new dialog box is neat, small and simple compared to Backstage, as long as you see the location you want and the default value is sensible. If it doesn't suit you, click on "More" save options and get the Backstage. And if that doesn't suit you, press "Browse" and you will return to the old Windows Save dialog box.
So, in the worst case, you now have two additional steps.
The new dialog box only appears if you are logged in to Office 365, but this is difficult to avoid since the login is also your license with subscription versions
This new dialog box, we note, seems to ignore the "Save to computer by default" option that users can configure in the Options dialog box. Microsoft states that: “This new experience allows users who are signed in to Office 365 to easily save their Word, Excel and PowerPoint files to a default location in the cloud. For organizational accounts, this will be OneDrive for the Company. Once saved in the cloud, users can easily rename and move the file from the application to other folders. ”
Where users save documents is important. Documents stored on a laptop, for example, are vulnerable to failures, losses or theft in the unit. Documents stored locally are also a bit useless for collaboration, although not all documents are suitable for sharing. Files saved in the cloud are also less vulnerable to ransomware.
However, users will not necessarily save in the cloud, even with the new dialogue. You can display a list of locations, including local document folders, and set one of them as the default.
It is also a problem if your company's policy is that all files are stored in a local network location. In its customer orientation, Microsoft comments:
"If your organization does not use OneDrive, we recommend you start planning an adoption campaign to take advantage of the cloud, allowing users to securely access their files anywhere and work without problems with others, even in real time. "
This could be a problem for companies with a policy of not using OneDrive. An action is required to positively disable OneDrive, such as blocking users from OneDrive storage provisioning. You can remove OneDrive from Windows Explorer with a Group Policy "Avoid using OneDrive for file storage," but this would not block access to the web browser, and since Office skips Explorer, it may not be effective there. .
An infinite number of ways for administrators to control where files are saved. You can redirect the default document locations. You can apply a new feature called Known Folder Movement, which migrates and redirects the default document locations to OneDrive, or you can block this. And there are numerous OneDrive policy configurations.
However, it is too complicated, and the decision of the Office team to largely omit standard Windows tools and configurations to save locations complicates administration. There are so many permutations of administrative configurations, user options, and now not one, nor two, but three Office save dialogs, that understanding all interactions is a challenge.
Everything will work smoothly, perhaps, if you fully adopt Office 365 instead of mixing and merging with local file shares or rival cloud storage such as Dropbox or Box; and this is undoubtedly a factor in the changes in the Microsoft® user interface.