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I grew up on an Apple IIe. My daddy taught me a lot on that thing. (In retrospect, he did an awful lot of homeschooling of me, even though he sent me to public school.)
I learned to type.
He would say to me, “These are the home keys: ASDF and JKL;. If I walk by and you’re typing via hunt-and-peck, you’re not going to use this computer.”
I learned to read the user’s manual.
He wouldn’t help me until I proved to him that I looked the problem up in the index and found the page where the solution should be.
This was particularly annoying when I went to work part time where he worked. He was the computer guru (before they had actual IT guys) and would help other people without question. For me, though, it was always, “Did you read the manual?”
I learned to save.
I would leave the computer and when I returned, he would be on it doing something else. “Didn’t you save before you left?”
The first time he did this, he saved it for me. But he assured me he would never, ever, do this again.
That was my techno-start.
Through the years I’ve had to modify the “must save my work” attitude to fit the changing landscape of computers.
Have you ever written a blog comment only to hit “submit” and get some crazy error? Yeah – you know what I’m talking about.
How to get your work back.
So here are some of the things I do to make sure to save my work, even though there’s often not a save button in sight.
Control+Z will get you out of just about any jam. Sometimes, though, this just goes back one step.
Control+A then Control+C copies what you’ve just written and holds it until you copy something else. This is really helpful for those blog comments. Copy the text and if it crashes, go paste it quickly into a text document or Evernote.
Evernote is a great tool to capture loose text that you’re not sure you really want to delete. Like a particular sentence that you think doesn’t fit in your blog post (but then again, maybe it does). Or some html code that you’re taking out but might need to put back in if everything breaks.
What about other platforms – like WordPress?
This whole train of thought comes from one of my fellow writers here who accidentally deleted a whole post. So what if you do that?
There are two possibilities – one is the revisions box, the other is the trash.
In your WordPress “Edit Post” screen, there is a small dropdown in the upper right corner called “Screen Options.”
Click on it and you’ll see something like this:
Now make sure that “Revisions” option is checked. When it is, you’ll see this when you scroll way down:
This box is likely way way below where you normally type your blog posts. Scroll down and keep your eyes peeled. If it’s just the title bar of it, click on the “expand triangle” in the right and it will open.
You can click on any of the links and it will show you what was saved or auto-saved.
At the bottom of that screen, you can see the restore options, as well as a way to compare what you used to have with what you currently have.
What if you delete it from the list of posts?
Luckily WordPress has a trash bin that hangs around until you purge it. So if you deleted something in the list of posts, head to the trash.
When you hover over the title of the post, you get the option to restore it. If you want it back, click “restore.”
An ounce of prevention…
Make sure you manually save often.
And always (I do this – and not just because I’m paranoid), do Control+A then Control+C before clicking submit/save on anything web-based. Even WordPress.
Teach your kids these things too!
You’re not just in charge of Reading ‘Riting & ‘Rithmetic. You’re in charge of teaching all the other stuff too. Like saving your work.
Take some notes from my daddy. He did a pretty good job.
Note for Mac users: change the “control” button to a “command” button in the tips above and they’ll work the same.
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