Recently I lost power in my home after working on a spreadsheet for over three hours. Even though Auto-save was turned on in preferences, I lost ALL the work-- Auto-recover did not capture any of the changes, either. I had to spend the rest of the day re-creating my changes.
Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off, and went to research how Microsoft had managed to lose all my data. I first went to confirm that AutoSave was turned on, and found "Turn on AutoSave by default" checked on the Preferences/Save panel. However, in the document title bar, AutoSave displayed as "OFF" and was grayed out to the point of imperceptibility. This is true not just of Excel, but Word and Powerpoint as well.
I licensed Office 365 from GoDaddy, so I called their tech support line, and they gave me the incredible story that AUTOSAVE ONLY WORKS WHEN YOU STORE YOUR DOCUMENTS ON MICROSOFT ONEDRIVE - not natively on the Mac or on DropBox, which I've used for years.
****, are you kidding me? According to the "Datanyze.com" website, OneDrive has less than 9% of the "File Sharing" market, well behind DropBox, Box, and GoogleDrive. Even assuming that all Google users are backed up to Google's servers, 2/3 of users out there aren't able to automatically back up their changes because they don't use OneDrive.
Even worse, most have probably been head-faked by Microsoft into thinking that they're safe because AutoSave displays as automatically turned on in Preferences. They don't notice the obscure label in the title bar and don't find out it's actually not turned on until they're hit with a disaster like I was, and then wonder **** happened.
This policy is patently irresponsible, and anti-competitive to boot. In order to have AutoSave, you not only have to store your documents on OneDrive, you have to start them up from OneDrive - not your Mac hard drive folder icon - or AutoSave is still turned off.
Now, I'm back to the pre-cloud days of having to constantly remember to save documents as I make important changes to them. Seriously?!?
And don't suggest that AutoRecover will keep me covered in the absence of AutoSave: I've lost countless hours of work when AutoRecover does not do its job. Its reliability on the Mac has always been spotty.
This is crazy. Is Microsoft really willing to callously risk the data integrity of the majority of its users just to coerce them to switch to OneDrive?!?
IMHO, what Microsoft needs to do is:
1. Display clearly in Preferences/Save that AutoSave is NOT turned on (and change the misleading "automatically as default" wording),
2. State the reason (i.e. OneDrive required) so that users like me don't waste hours trying to determine whether it's just one more Office 365 bug,
3. Add a local backup feature to Office 365 to automatically save to a hard-drive or competitive file sharing service (it can't be that hard),
4. Stop being evil by claiming that not enough people have complained about the missing feature to justify its renewed availability.
Really, Microsoft should be ashamed of having pulled a stunt like this. It's an irresponsible, blatantly anti-competitive move, straight out of the naughty 80s.
[NOTE - this post has been updated to reflect the fact that AutoSave was a more recent development by Microsoft, not a long-standing feature.]