HOW  TO  OPEN  AND  SAVE  A  FILE


In this section I will show you how to save a TEXT File using the built-in Text Editor (application) called TextEdit. Although you don't have to use TextEdit to follow the examples in this section, TextEdit is a simple enough application for learning: How To Save A File. The SAVE methods shown in this section work exactly the same with so many other applications and operating systems simply because they are standard SAVE methods. In other words, this section applies to and relates to Saving A File in general.....on the three major operating systems (OS X, Windows and Linux).


In order to save a text file the text file must exist, of course. It must be created. I say "of course" as in "you should know the text file needs creating" but you would be surprised how many people do not grasp that idea. They think the text file already exists and is somehow up and running in front of them whereby they are then going to save this non-existant text file. Computers are clever, but not that clever!

You create a text file by first launching (opening/running/executing) the Text Editor application of your choice. For these examples the text editor application called TextEdit. So begin by clicking on the docked icon (Smiley Face icon) called FINDER in order to open the Finder window (Fig 1.1).



Fig 1.0  Click on the docked icon called FINDER to open the Finder window




Fig 1.1  The FINDER window is now open displaying the contents of the DOCUMENTS folder

When the Finder window opens (above) it will normally be displaying the contents of the last folder opened, or its pre-defined folder (i.e. DOCUMENTS), depending on the way you have FINDER Preferences set up. In the above example the contents of the DOCUMENTS folder is being displayed. Or put another way, the DOCUMENTS folder is open. To launch (run/execute) the text editor application called TextEdit the APPLICATIONS folder needs to be open, so continue by clicking on the APPLICATIONS folder link located on the sidebar of the Finder window (Fig 1.1 above) to open the actual APPLICATIONS folder (below).

When the actual APPLICATIONS folder opens (below) you need to locate the TextEdit application icon and double click on it. Doing so will then launch (run/execute) the actual TextEdit application (Fig 1.5).



Fig 1.2  Locate the TextEdit application icon within the APPLICATIONS folder and then double click on it

The first application window to appear after double clicking on the TEXTEDIT application icon (above) is the following OPEN File Requester. It asks you where you initially want to open a text file (document) from; Either 'from the cloud' using the iCloud service or from your Apple Mac computer. In this example though I am going to create, and therefore open, a new blank document.

THE  OPEN  FILE  REQUESTER

The OPEN File Requester, like all file requesters, needs navigating. You need to tell it where you would like to open a document from (i.e. from the Cloud, from a Flash Drive or from a Network Folder) and what kind/type of document you want opening (i.e. a Text file or Microsoft WORD file).


In this next example I have navigated the OPEN File Requester to the iCloud folder, which is stored on one of Apple's network folders, by clicking on the ICLOUD button in the top-left corner of the OPEN File Requester. This has told the OPEN File Requester to view the contents of Apple's network folder, and more specifically the network folder they have allocated for my AppleID Account, so that I can then see my personal files; in this case my one and only Text File called Letter.rtf. I could click on that text file and then click on the OPEN button in the bottom-right corner of the OPEN File Requester in order to open that text file, but for this example because I only want to create (open) a new blank document (text file) I will just click on the NEW DOCUMENT button in the bottom-left corner of the OPEN File Requester.



Fig 1.3  Click on the NEW DOCUMENT button in the bottom-left corner of the OPEN File Requester to continue

In this second example of the OPEN File Requester I have clicked on the ON MY MAC button instead of the ICLOUD button and then clicked on the DOCUMENTS folder link to the left of the OPEN File Requester. This has told the OPEN File Requester to view the contents of the actual DOCUMENTS folder, so that I can then see my personal files; in this case my one and only Text File called Research_Notes.rtf. I could click on that text file and then click on the OPEN button in the bottom-right corner of the OPEN File Requester in order to open that text file, but for this example because I only want to create (open) a new blank document (text file) I will just click on the NEW DOCUMENT button in the bottom-left corner of the OPEN File Requester.



Fig 1.4  Click on the NEW DOCUMENT button in the bottom-left corner of the OPEN File Requester to continue

Clicking on the NEW DOCUMENT button will make the OPEN File Requester close (disappear) whereby a new blank TextEdit window will appear ready for typing something into its TEXT edit box (writing/display area), such as a Letter, Essay, Recipe or whatever.



Fig 1.5  A new blank TextEdit window with a flashing cursor inside its TEXT edit box (writing/display area)

For this example I have typed out a small letter, to my friend Denise, inside the TEXT edit box (writing/display area) of the TextEdit application window. It is this letter that I will be saving in a minute. The letter itself (its content) is unimportant here. What is important is knowing how to save the text you have just created; how to save it as a document (i.e. text file) using the TextEdit application, Pages application or Microsoft Word application for example. Because I am using the TextEdit application the letter I have just created (written) will be saved as a .rtf file (Rich Text File) by default, but if I was using the Microsoft Word application that letter would be saved as a .doc or .docx file (DOCument text file) by default instead. And if I was using the Apple Pages application the letter would be saved as a .pages file (Pages text file) by default.



Fig 1.6  Type something inside the TEXT edit box (writing/display area) of the TextEdit application window

Ignoring the file formats for a moment - RTF, DOC, DOCX and Pages. The next step, once you have written your letter or whatever, is to click on the FILE menu belonging to the Text Editor / Word Processor application you are using - In this example the TextEdit application (Fig 1.7). Doing so will display that application's menu items (Fig 1.8) whereby you then need to select its SAVE menu-item to continue.



Fig 1.7  Click on the FILE menu belonging to the TextEdit application.....




Fig 1.8  .....and then select the SAVE menu-item to continue.

Clicking on the SAVE menu-item will bring up the following SAVE File Requester. It asks you where you initially want to save a text file (document) to; Either 'into the cloud' using the iCloud service or to a folder on your Apple Mac computer.

THE  SAVE  FILE  REQUESTER

The SAVE AS edit box is automatically filled in with the filename Untitled.rtf. Untitled is a generic, default, filename given to all newly created/written text files (documents) and .rtf means the current text file (document) will be saved using the RTF (Rich Text File) file format (file data structure and styling).



Fig 1.9  Click inside the SAVE AS edit box, if need be, and then change the Filename; currently called Untitled

The WHERE drop-down menu allows you to choose where you would like to save the, Untitled.rtf, text file (document) to.....inside a folder on your computer, inside a network folder or inside your iCloud folder. Below I have clicked on the WHERE drop-down menu and am just about to select a network folder on my Seagate GoFlex Home network hard drive, but as you can see; the Desktop folder on my apple mac computer is also available, as is the iCloud folder.



Fig 1.10  Click on the WHERE drop-down menu, if need be, and select the folder where you would like to save (store) this text file inside

The FILE FORMAT drop-down menu allows you to change the format of the document (text file). The file format is basically the way the data inside the file is structured. Ignore the technicals! All you need to know is that you can save the text file (document) as a RTF (Rich Text File) file, as a .doc or docx file (Microsoft Word Document) or as a .odt file (Libre Office Document). RTF formatted (data structured) files are basically plain text files that can include coloured text and images for example whereas DOC and ODT formatted (data structured) files can include a lot more stylings and objects (i.e. Charts and Tables).

Below I am selecting the DOC file format from 1997, as opposed to the more modern DOCX file format from 2007 to 2013, simply because I want the text file (document) to be saved using a file format (data structure) that other applications can understand; so they can open that Untitled.doc file. Notice how the SAVE AS edit box (Fig 1.12) has now changed to reflex the .doc file format.



Fig 1.11  Click on the FILE FORMAT drop-down menu, if need be, and select the File Format you would like this text file to be saved in.




Fig 1.12  When you change the File Format of a document (text file) it is reflected in the SAVE AS edit box

If you were to save the text file for real (i.e. not following these examples) you would obviously give the file a better, more meaningful, file name. In this next example I am going to save the text file (document) under the filename of Party_Invite.doc. Therefore it will be a document (text file) that can be viewed on a Windows 8, OS X (Mountain Lion) and Linux Ubuntu operating system/computer with either Microsoft Word or Libre Office installed. Furthermore, I am going to save the text file (document) into my iCloud folder for both safe keeping and so that I can send it later as an e-mail from either my Macbook Pro laptop or iPad. That's the beauty of saving files in the Cloud (inside your iCloud folder) - The files can be viewed from many computer devices.

So with the Filename set, the Folder set and the File Format set; the last thing to do is click on the SAVE button of the SAVE File Requester in order to actually save the written text (i.e. Letter) as a file.



Fig 1.13  With the Filename, Folder and File Format entries set up; Click on the SAVE button to save the written text as a file (document)

The above examples have shown you how to Open and Save a text file using the relevant OPEN and SAVE File Requesters. However, even though they can both be used to Open and Save other files with other applications (because they are standard Open and Save procedures) the SAVE procedure above is only good for saving a new file with the same Filename, Folder and File Format details. Meaning, if I type some more text inside the above TEXTEDIT edit box and then click on the SAVE menu-item again the SAVE File Requester will not appear this time. This is because the TextEdit application will now assume I want to overwrite/resave the old, existing, Party_Invite.doc text file with the new/edited wording inside it. In other words, it would delete the old Party_Invite.doc text file and create a new Party_Invite.doc text file with this new/edited wording inside it before saving that new Party_Invite.doc text file inside my iCloud folder using the DOC file format. Therefore, the old Party_Invite.doc text file would of been overwritten/resaved by this new Party_Invite.doc text file.

So if you edit the Party_Invite.doc twenty times, saving it each time using the SAVE menu-item, all you will be doing is resaving the same text file in the same place with the same file format each time; just with different, edited, wordings (text). With this said then; How do you resave that existing, edited, text file using a different name, different file format and/or different folder for example when the SAVE File Requester no longer appears when you click on the SAVE menu-item? Answer. You you the SAVE AS menu-item instead.


The SAVE AS menu-item does exactly the same the job as using the SAVE menu-item - It will bring up (redisplay) the same SAVE File Requester. As said, if you save a text file for the first time the SAVE menu-item will bring up (display) the SAVE File Requester, but if you then edit that same text file and then click on the SAVE menu-item again it will not bring up the SAVE File Requester this second time of saving. What will happen is the edited text will create a new text file with the same filename in the same folder using the same file format, therefore overwriting the old text file. When you click on the SAVE AS menu-item it will redisplay the SAVE File Requester, therefore allowing you to specifying a new filename, file format and folder if need be.

By default (normal behaviour) the SAVE AS menu-item is not displayed alongside/below the SAVE menu-item, so you need to press down on the ALT (Option) keyboard key as you then click on the FILE menu. Doing so will make the SAVE AS menu-item appear.



Fig 1.14  Press down on the ALT (Option) keyboard key as you then click on the FILE menu in order to make the SAVE AS menu-item appear

As you can see; Saving a text file is more about knowing how to use the SAVE File Requester than knowing about how the actual text is saved onto your computer from a technical point of view. The above SAVE File Requester examples for example have shown you how to use the requester in its compact form, as the compact form is the standard way of using the requester, but you can actually expand the requester in order to navigate it further.

As an example of the just said; If you are saving a document (text file) onto your apple mac computer, as opposed to your iCloud folder, you can click on the EXPANSION button to the right of the SAVE AS edit box (Fig 1.15) in order to expand the view of the SAVE File Requester (Fig 1.16). Doing so will show you more of the folders available on your apple mac computer, therefore allowing you to navigate to other folders and sub-folders.



Fig 1.15  Click on the EXPANSION button to the right of the SAVE AS edit box




Fig 1.16  The view of the SAVE File Requester has been expanded for better navigation

By expanding the view of the SAVE File Requester and knowing a little about the apple mac's Folder Hierarchy and File Types (as shown in previous sections and categories throughout this website) you have more ability to navigate both the OPEN and SAVE File Requesters. In other words, understanding the basics of Folders and Files is so important in computing. As said at the beginning of this section; The above examples are generic - You should have no problems using similar file requesters based on the above examples and should therefore be able to open and save a file using other applications. Don't be afraid to experiment!!