New Workbook Based On Old One

imageIt's almost Halloween, and perhaps you're familiar with the horror story that I'm about to tell you. (And there is a treat at the end of the tale too.)

One day, not too long ago, Dr. Frankexcel needed to create new workbook. Instead of building the new workbook from scratch, Dr. F had a brilliant plan – open an old workbook, and use it as the base for the new file. Just open the old file, then quickly do a Save As, to create the new file, without damaging the existing one.

What could possibly go wrong? Bwaahhhaahhaa!

Suddenly, an angry mob was pounding on his laboratory door, waving pitchforks, and demanding that he return their stolen pivot tables. By the time Dr. F got back to his lab, he had forgotten his brilliant plan. Instead, he deleted sheets, and obliterated key formulas in the old file, then saved it.

Curses! The old workbook had changed into Frankexcel's monster! That old file could not be brought back to life, despite all of Dr. F's frantic efforts to revive it.

Create a Copy First

Don't let this horror story happen to you! You might not have an angry mob of villagers to worry about, but there are plenty of other interruptions while you're working in Excel.

So, instead of opening the original file, and doing a Save As, create a copy of the old file, and work on that. You can create a copy in Windows Explorer, but there are ways to create a copy within Excel too.

Excel 2010 – New File

If you're using Excel 2010, click the File tab on the Ribbon, then click NEW

In the Available Templates section, click on New From Existing, and select the file that you want to copy.


Excel 2010 – Recent

It's even easier to copy a file that you opened recently.

  • Click the File tab on the Ribbon, then click Recent
  • Right-click on the file that you want to copy, and click Open a Copy
  • A numbered copy of the original opens, and you can save it with a new name.


Excel 2010 – Recent

The New From Existing option was removed in Excel 2013, but the Open a Copy feature is still available.

  • Click the File tab on the Ribbon, then click Open
  • In the list of Recent files, right-click on the file that you want to copy, and click Open a Copy
  • A numbered copy of the original opens, and you can save it with a new name.


Video: Open a Workbook Copy

Watch this short video, to see the steps for creating a quick copy of a workbook, without opening the original file.

Scary Pivot Table Training Giveaway

Another thing that scares some people is a pivot table. If there's anything about them that scares or confuses you, you can enter the giveaway on my Pivot Table blog.

You'll have a chance to win one of the awesome online Pivot Table courses from My Excel Online Training, valued at $199 US.

The entry deadline is Nov. 9th, 2014, and you can find the details here.

xtremepivot table giveaway


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7 Responses

  1. Randy says:

    Or just make sure you are working within Dropbox and you can then download or revert back to, or download, to any previously saved version from any time in the past. It’s simple since it’s there when you need it and you won’t have to change the way you are doing things. I can’t tell you the countless times this has saved me from turning into a ghost.

  2. Adan Cueva says:

    Dear Debra,
    I have been trying to learn from your “FormSheetEditMulti.xls” which is in MS 2003-2007. But unfortunately it does seem to work with MS 2010.
    Is there any reason? O should i look for samples developed with MS 2010
    Your help will be appreciated

    • @Adan, the code works in Excel 2010 and 2013 too.

      Make sure that you enable macros, when you open the file. If you don’t see a security alert, you might have to change your Macro settings in the Trust Centre, in Excel Options.

  3. Adan Cueva says:

    Thank you. I decided to start afresh with a compatibility copy in 2010.
    Now i face a new challenge, when expanding the first data columns (bcdef)
    find out that
    1. Qtity and TOTAL cells are saved but does not retrieve, only appears as #N/A
    2. if i want to add another ‘calculation cell’ the formula is deleted when updating/adding
    Thank you for your helpfulness

  4. Adan Cueva says:

    Why can you answer my questions? How much do i have to pay?

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