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Many applications display and allow you to edit the contents of files that belong to you. Such files are called documents, and these are document-based applications; the main signs of a document-based application are that its primary windows represent files and that it lets you edit the contents of those files. (For example, TextEdit and Preview are document-based applications; Safari is not, even though its windows are sort of like documents, because its windows don’t represent editable files belonging to you.)

Starting in Lion, some document-based applications participate in a new mode of being that Apple calls the modern document model. Such applications support Lion’s new Auto Save feature. These applications no longer require that you save a document as you edit it; instead, the document is saved automatically. Although this feature is not a new concept—many Mac applications have had it as an option for years—this behavior is not optional for applications that support it in Lion, and it may mean a new way of working for you on your Mac. So you need to know about autosaving so that you’ll be comfortable with applications that operate this way.


  

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