How To: Get Back the ‘Save As’ Command in OS X Lion

Posted in How To, Mac on 06/12/2011 by J. Glenn Künzler


I’m constantly frustrated with OS X Lion’s new “Versions” feature. It’s confusing, and eliminates one of the single most useful commands present in prior versions of OS X (or all current versions of Windows, for that matter): the “Save As” command.

What makes matters even worse, is that the common CMD-Shift-S command that so many have become accustomed to doesn’t work with Versions at all.

Sure, you can always duplicate the Save As command by first duplicating your file, and then saving it under a new name, but to add an extra step (and removing a keyboard shortcut) to what should be a simple, basic command just doesn’t make much sense.

Fortunately, OS X Daily comes to our rescue by providing a clever tip for how to duplicate the “Save As” functionality by using the Export command and a custom keyboard shortcut:

  • Open “System Preferences” from the  Apple menu and click on “Keyboard”
  • Click the “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab and then choose “Application Shortcuts” from the list
  • Now click the + plus icon to add a new shortcut accessible to All Applications
  • Type the Menu Title exactly as “Export…” with the three periods
  • Click the “Keyboard Shortcut” box and hit Command+Shift+S
  • Click “Add” and close out of preferences

Now every time you press CMD+Shift+S, an export box will appear, mimicking the function of the Save As dialog box from the past.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work the same way, as you can only export in a handful of formats (for instance, you can’t export in .Pages format).

For the times when you need to save in a specific format, you can map a keyboard shortcut to the “Duplicate” function instead using the above steps, but substituting “Duplicate” for “Export…”.

My solution has been to set up two different keyboard shortcuts, which is nowhere near as ideal as the single, simple shortcut of yesterday called “Save As”. Thanks Apple.

  • The new save functionality isn’t perfect (yet). But I will take it for the simple fact that I will never lose a document again.

    • Whpiii

      There is absolutely NO reason why you can’t have both. Steve was being Steve when he allowed this to happen. Right when he needed some kool-aid no one was there for him. Ironic, eh?

      • John

        obviously apple is on the path to kill the file system.

        • Wonder what the heck were they thinking got rid of this classic menu item. Try to change the world? Talking about changing at the wrong place.

  • ….what madness is this? No Save As, just a cryptic keyboard shortcut? That’s like taking away a guy’s Filet Mignon and giving him a Big Mac. I’ll stick to rotten old Snow Leopard.

  • As an Appleseeder we discussed and complained vociferously about this to Apple.
    Just another ‘mouse’ thing. (i.e. we know what’s best and you might get confused if you have extra buttons or you aren’t forced to continually save).

    I work professionally and I haven’t moved to Lion even though I’ve had it for almost a year.

    Love SnowLeopard and it’s extremely stable and not buggy. And SPODs.. not in SL.

  • bigbluewolf

    I can get the “Export…” command to work but not the “Duplicate…” even by following the same steps as for “Export…” – losing “Save as” is just plain stupid.

  • Pingback: “Save As…” Makes a Subtle Comeback in OS X Mountain Lion()


J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he’s up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor’s house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.