Bring back “Save As” in Lion

The autosave functionality in Lion takes some getting used to. It’s arguably a better way to do things, but after decades of manually saving files, it can take some time to get comfortable with how the new system works.

One change that particularly irritates me is the way the old Save As workflow has been replaced with Duplicate. The old system worked like this: After opening up an existing document and making changes, choosing “Save As” from the file menu allowed you to save those changes in a new file, instead of overwriting the existing one.

Of course this workflow isn’t really compatible with the autosave system, and as a result it has been replaced with Duplicate. There are two main problems I have with Duplicate:

The first is that it has no keyboard shortcut assigned by default, meaning it requires a time-consuming trip to the File menu. Fortunately, this is easily solved by assigning the shortcut yourself in the Keyboard section of System Preferences. Under the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, click on Application Shortcuts in the list on the left, then click the plus (+) button to add a new shortcut. Leave the drop-down menu as All Applications, set the Menu Title to “Duplicate” and assign a shortcut of Command-Shift-S, the same as the old Save As shortcut.

Duplicate Keyboard Shortcut

The second problem is that if you duplicate your file after you’ve already made changes (like you would do commonly with Save As), then you are presented with the following cumbersome dialog:

Duplicate and Revert Dialog

The default option, Duplicate, updates the existing file with the changes you have made as well as creating a duplicate, while Duplicate and Revert is more like the old Save As functionality. While there’s no perfect solution to this problem, there are two ways to avoid this dialog: Firstly, you could always remember to duplicate your files before you start making changes that you don’t want overwrite the existing file. This is probably the safest (and Apple-preferred) way, but will probably take me years to get used to. For those who really can’t stand the new way of doing things, Shawn Blanc has written a hack using Keyboard Maestro that automatically chooses Duplicate and Revert in the dialog for you.

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