How to Automatically Backup a Word Document to OneDrive

Few things in life are worse than losing a Word document you’ve spent hours slaving over. Even saving isn’t always enough if your hard drive crashes and you lose everything. The good news is that you can automatically back up Word documents to OneDrive.

OneDrive’s automatic backup feature gives you peace of mind. Thanks to redundant storage, you know that even if you lose your entire hard drive, the automatically-backed-up documents will be safe in the cloud, and you can access them through another machine.

How to Autosave Word Documents to OneDrive

Microsoft Word can integrate with OneDrive and automatically save documents there. Rather than try to backup a document, start your project the right way with automatic saves to the cloud. Not only does this protect you against the loss of a document, but it means you can access it from anywhere.

Follow these steps to automatically save Word documents to OneDrive:

  1. With your document open, go to File > Save As.
  1. Select OneDrive and the subfolder you want to save the document in.
  1. Select Save.
  1. In the Word document, toggle Autosave to the On position.

When you save a document to OneDrive, it will automatically enable Autosave. However, if you have a document that isn’t already saved to OneDrive and you toggle Autosave, it will prompt you to select a folder.

Select OneDrive in the screen that appears to automatically begin backing up your document to OneDrive. 

How to Automatically Back Up a Word Document to OneDrive

Follow the steps below to set up the automatic backups through OneDrive. 

  1. Click the OneDrive icon in your taskbar (the one that looks like a cloud).
  1. Select Help & Settings.
  1. Select Settings > Backup > Manage Backup. A new screen appears that allows you to choose which folders you want to back up. 
  1. Choose the Documents folder to back up Word documents. 
  2. Choose any other folders you want to back up and select Start Backup   all existing files will be stored in the cloud through OneDrive. Depending on the size of the files, this can take some time. 

OneDrive will automatically sync files as you work on them. Although you should be in the habit of hitting CTRL + S to save your progress as you work on a document, OneDrive will periodically upload the most recent version of the document to the cloud. 

Save new Word documents into the Documents folder, or they will not be backed up automatically.

You can check the status of a sync by hovering your cursor over the OneDrive icon in the taskbar. It will show the current progress of the upload and the time you will need for the initial backup. 

How OneDrive Organizes Files

By default, OneDrive shows files in the File Explorer. If you have more than one OneDrive account, the way files appear is a bit different.

  1. After you sign into OneDrive and set up your backup, you can find your files in the File Explorer within Windows. 
  1. Click the File Explorer icon and then choose OneDrive from the list on the left. You will be able to see every document, picture, or other files you have backed up from your PC in OneDrive. 
  1. If you use two separate OneDrive accounts and access them both on a single machine, the files will appear with different naming schemes. 
  • You will find all of your personal files under OneDrive — Personal
  • All other files–for work or school–will appear under OneDrive — Company/School Name. 

How to Download Files From OneDrive

If the worst happens and you lose access to your computer (or you accidentally delete a file and need to re-download it from the cloud), it’s easy to do. 

  1. Go to and sign in with your account. You will then see every file that you’ve saved to your OneDrive account.
  1. Select a file and then look to the top of the screen. You’ll see an icon and the word Download. 
  1. Click that icon to save the file to the machine you are currently on. 
  1. This same method works if you need to download an entire folder. 

OneDrive Offers Automatic Protection

Hard drives fail. Computers are stolen. Enable automatic backups with OneDrive and take the time to understand how the program works. Then you can breathe easy knowing your important Word documents and other data are protected.