The Save and Open Dialog Boxes

When you choose File→Save, you’re asked where you want the new document stored on your hard drive, what you want to call it, and what Finder tags (Broken Aliases) you want applied to it. The resulting dialog box is a miniature Finder. All the skills you’ve picked up working at the desktop come into play here.

To give it a try, launch any program that has a Save or Export command—TextEdit, for example. Type a couple of words, and then choose File→Save. The Save sheet appears (Figure 5-22).


In most programs, a quick glance at the Close button in the upper-left corner of a document window tells you whether it’s been saved. When a small dot appears in the red button, it means you’ve made changes to the document that you haven’t saved yet. (Time to press ⌘-S!) The dot disappears as soon as you save your work.

In programs that offer the Auto Save and Versions features described later in this chapter, like TextEdit, the red-dot convention has been retired. Instead, when you’ve made changes to a document since saving it, you see the light-gray word Edited in the title bar.


In the days of operating systems gone by, the Save dialog box appeared dead center on the screen, where it commandeered your entire operation. Moreover, because it seemed stuck to your screen rather than to a particular document, you couldn’t actually tell which document you were saving—a real problem when you quit out of a program that had three unsaved documents open.

In most Mac programs, ...

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