Spreadsheet Security 1 - Backup Your Data!

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer."

That quote is by Randy Paush, an American educator, a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction, and design at Carnegie Mellon University

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

My father believed that if you have knowledge or experience that can help someone else, it is your responsibility to share that knowledge with as many people as you can, to help as many people as you can. It is a big reason why I write these blog posts, to share what I know so others can benefit from my experience.

When it comes to backups, oh boy! - do I have experience - and not all of it is good! So much that now friends think I am a bit crazy the way I am always backing up files, using time stamps, etc. Just the same, let me share some tips with you so that you never have to experience the nightmare of lost data that has happened too many times to me.

First, a definition. When I say "Backup" I mean you have at least one copy of a file, that you know is correct, that you keep in a secure place, from which you can easily retrieve the file. To ensure you always have a good backup, practice the following:

  • Backup your file before making a change that you may want to undo later.

  • Have a standard format that you always use to name your files. This will make it much easier for you to identify which backup file you want to retrieve. This is the format I use: [File Name] [yyyymmdd] [hhmm]. I use a 24 hour time format so the files are organized in order. (Thanks to Michael Newby for sharing this tip.)

  • Save your file often and use a different name every time you save - having a different time stamp will suffice.

  • Copy the backup to a place other than your PC.

  • Confirm that the backup file is readable and complete.

  • Save your file with a new filename as soon as you open a file to avoid accidentally overwriting the original.

  • Use, but don’t rely, on Autosave

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