CADDManager on October 19th, 2009

The shout goes up…   Save it or Lose it!

That was the reminder that we all used say to keep our files safe.  We were addressing the fact that a computer crash may take out your work.  If it was not saved back to the server, then it might be lost.  Sometimes this would be said in frustration by one that had just been bitten by a crash (software or hardware).  Sometimes it was just a casual reminder.

You may not be needing reminders like this to make sure that your users are remembering to save, but you do need to think about the whole save process.

How often do you save?

Do you rely on AutoSaves to save your files?

Do they even think about saving?

How much data are you willing to risk in an unsaved file?

AutoSaves are not real saves of your file data. It is a save to local. The location is defined by the SAVEFILEPATH variable.


This is the system variable that sets the automatic save interval, in minutes.

0 – Turns off automatic saving.

>0 – Saves the drawing at intervals specified by the nonzero integer automatically

The value of SAVETIME is an integer between 0 and 600 minutes.

The SAVETIME timer starts as soon as you make a change to a drawing. It is reset and restarted by a manual QSAVE, SAVE, or SAVEAS.

So what do you set your Save Time as ?

I think that if you are in a good habit of saving your files and are not forgetful, then set it higher than 10 minutes.   You could even turn it off (not recommended).   If you are not in the habit of saving then set it lower or at 10 minutes.

My other Save rule of thumb…  save you drawing every 10-15 minutes or so and after every major operation.  Also save it when you are interrupted, leave your desk or get a phone call or chat message that might derail your thought process.

You can set the time of an AutoSave in the Options Dialog box.


Automatic Save
Saves your drawing automatically at the intervals you specify. You can specify the location of all Autosave files by using the SAVEFILEPATH system variable.  SAVEFILE (read-only) stores the name of the Autosave file.

Note:  Automatic save is disabled when the Block Editor is open.

Minutes Between Saves: When Automatic Save is on, specifies how often the drawing is saved. (SAVETIME system variable)

System Variables – you can type these in at the command line to make changes.


Specifies the path to the directory for all automatic save files for the current session.
You can also change the path on the Files tab in the Options dialog box.  The default is to place it in a temp file under your Docs and Settings.


SAVEFILE stores the current automatic save file name.  It is read only – so you can display it, but not edit it.

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2 Responses to “AutoCAD – Save it or Lose it”

  1. The following line “AutoSaves are not real saves of your file data. It is a save to local.” – is not entirely accurate. Autosave *is* a “real save” of your data, except that it’s a copy of the data, written to a separate location (which is not necessarily a “save to local”)

    It’s also important to point out that autosave should not be relied on as a backup since autosave files are deleted upon a successful exit of AutoCAD, and each time you run QSAVE or SAVEAS. More details:

  2. Most of us here where I work that use Civil 3D have turned the AutoSave function off, in fact I recommend it. The drawings are just to intense to have the AutoSave come on, especially when you are working through a process and that function starts up and bogs you down. We have all trained ourselves to just save often, and after each process, with Civil 3D saving often is a prerequisite.

    Unless your doing Vanilla AutoCAD stuff I think the AutoSave is more of a hindrance then a helping.

    Brent Daley
    Civil Designer/CAD Services Manager
    The Land Group, Inc.

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