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Manual backups with Excel - What they are and how to make

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Manual cash register
Manual cash register

Introduction: Manual backups are a straightforward yet powerful way to ensure the safety and availability of your Excel data. In this section, we will delve deeper into the concept of manual backups, providing you with the knowledge and tools to implement them effectively.

What is a Manual Backup? A manual backup involves creating a copy of your Excel file or workbook outside of its current location, typically on your local computer or an external storage device. Unlike automatic backups, which occur at set intervals, manual backups give you full control over when and how you back up your data.

How to Create Manual Backups:

  1. Copying Files: The simplest method for creating manual backups is to make a copy of your Excel file and store it in a designated backup folder. You can do this by right-clicking the file, selecting "Copy," and then pasting it into your backup folder.

  2. Renaming Files: Another approach is to rename your file with a date or version number before making significant changes. For example, if your original file is "SalesData.xlsx," you could rename it to "SalesData_2023-09-06.xlsx" before working on it. This way, you maintain a historical record of your files.

  3. External Storage Devices: For added security, consider backing up your files on external storage devices like USB drives or external hard drives. Simply copy your Excel files to the device regularly.

Advantages of Manual Backups:

  1. Control: With manual backups, you decide when and what to back up. This level of control allows you to capture critical points in your work, ensuring no important changes are lost.

  2. No Dependency on Automation: Manual backups are not reliant on automated systems or software features, reducing the risk of unexpected failures in the backup process.

  3. Versioning: By creating copies or renaming files with dates, you can maintain a history of your work, making it easier to revert to previous versions if needed.

Best Practices for Manual Backups:

  1. Consistency: Establish a routine for creating manual backups. Whether it's daily, weekly, or before making significant changes, consistency is key.

  2. Organization: Keep your manual backups organized in a dedicated folder structure. This will help you quickly locate and retrieve specific versions when necessary.

  3. Labeling: Use clear and descriptive file names for your backups. Including dates or version numbers makes it easier to identify the content and timeline of each backup.

  4. Secure Storage: Store your manual backups in secure locations, both locally and externally, to protect against data loss due to hardware failure, theft, or other unforeseen events.

By incorporating manual backups into your Excel workflow, you gain a valuable layer of data protection and peace of mind. You're in control of your data's destiny, ensuring that your hard work is always within reach, even in the face of unexpected challenges.

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