How to Make a Copy of a Word Document: 5 Different Ways

Key Takeaways
  • Duplicating a Word Document: You can copy and paste text within Word, duplicate entire files, use "Save As" to create a new copy, open a document as a new copy, or generate a new document from an existing one.
  • Reasons for Duplication: It's often necessary to duplicate documents for creating backups, using templates for consistent formats, managing different versions of a document, or sharing copies while preserving the original.
  • Duplicating a Google Docs File: In Google Docs, you can easily make a copy of a document by selecting "Make a copy" from the File menu, allowing you to work on or share the document without altering the original.

In today’s world, we often need to make copies of our documents, especially when working with Microsoft Word. Making a copy can be useful for keeping the original file safe while we make changes, for using the same document in different ways, or for keeping a backup.

In this post, let’s take a look at different methods using which you can make a copy of a Word document.

Why Duplicate a Word Document?

One might want to duplicate a document for a variety of reasons, it could be just as simple as keeping a backup or sharing it across devices. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider duplicating a Word document:

  • Backup: Sometimes, you need to make changes to a document without altering the original version. Duplicating allows you to create a backup copy and experiment with edits while keeping the original intact.
  • Templating: If you frequently use a particular document layout or format, such as let’s say a letterhead, duplicating a template saves time. You can reuse the structure without starting from scratch every time.
  • Version Control: In documents that evolve over time such as a copy of your Resume, it’s helpful to have different versions of a document. You can track changes or revert to earlier versions if needed.
  • Sharing: When sharing documents with others, it’s often safer to send a copy. This ensures your original file remains unaltered, even as collaborators make changes.

READ MORE: How to Convert a Word Document to PDF ➜

How to Make a Copy of a Microsoft Word Document

There are a bunch of different ways using which you can make a copy of your Microsoft Word document.

1. Copying and Pasting Text Within Word

One of the simplest ways to duplicate a Word document is by copying the content from the original file and pasting it into a new one. Follow these easy steps to do so:

  1. Start by opening the Word document you wish to duplicate.

  2. To select all the content, click at the beginning of your text and drag your cursor to the end. Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts: Press Shift and Page Down keys together, or on some laptops, Shift + Fn + Page Down, after placing your cursor at the start of your document.

  3. Right-click on the selected text and choose Copy or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C on Windows and Command + C on Mac.

  4. Go to the File tab, select New, and then choose Blank Document to open a new Word file.

  5. In the new document, right-click where you want to insert the text and choose Paste or use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + V on Windows and Command + V on Mac.

By following these steps, you can quickly and accurately duplicate the contents of your Word document.

2. Duplicating Entire Word Files

Duplicating a Word document is another straightforward method that doesn’t require opening the file. This process is similar for both Windows and Mac users. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac) and go to the folder where your original Word document is stored.

  2. Click on the Word file you want to duplicate.

  3. Right-click on the file. On both Windows and Mac, choose Copy from the dropdown menu or use the Control/Command + C shortcut.

  4. Navigate to the folder where you want to place the copy.

  5. Right-click in an empty area of the folder. Finally, select Paste, or use the Control/Command + V shortcut.

The operating system will then create a copy of your document in the selected location. This copy will be an exact duplicate of your original file, allowing you to keep the original document unchanged.

3. Utilizing ‘Save As’ to Create a Copy

Creating a copy of your Word document can also be efficiently done using the “Save As” feature. This method is ideal when you need to make a duplicate of your file while keeping it open. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by opening the Word document you want to copy.

  2. Click on the File tab at the top left corner of your Word window. From the menu, select Save As.

    On older versions of Word, you’ll be directly given a Save As dialog box, where you can browse and choose a new location to save the copy or simply give a new name to the file.
  3. On newer versions, you might need to make another click, File > Save As > then choose the Browse Button to select a path.

  4. Once you’ve selected the location and named your file, click Save. This action creates a copy of your document, which you can edit independently of the original.

This method is beneficial for maintaining the integrity of your original document while working on or distributing a modified version.

4. Opening a Document as a New Copy

If you need to work on a document while ensuring the original stays unaltered, you can open it as a new copy. This method is handy when you want to view or edit a document without affecting the original file. Here’s how to open a document as a new copy:

  1. Click on the File tab, which is typically located in the top left corner of your Word window. From the options presented, choose Open > Browse.

  2. Navigate to the location where your desired document is stored. Instead of directly opening the file, click on it to select it.

  3. With the document selected, look for an icon with a bottom-pointed triangle right next to the Open option, click on it, and choose Open as Copy, or a similar variation.

The document will open as a new, unsaved copy. This allows you to make changes and save them as a separate file, keeping the original document intact.

5. Generating a New Document from an Existing One

Another efficient way to create a duplicate of a Word document is by generating a new document from an existing one. This method is useful when you want to use the content or layout of an existing file as a starting point for a new document. Here’s how you can do it:

Note that the option would only be available on older versions of Word, such as Microsoft Word 2010.
  1. Open the Word application on your computer.

  2. Click on the File tab in the top left corner of your Word window. From the menu, select New.

  3. In the New menu, look for an option that says New from Existing.

  4. A dialog box will appear, prompting you to choose an existing document. Browse to the location of the file you want to use as a base for your new document and select it.

  5. Once you’ve selected the file, click Create New. Word will open a new document that contains all the content and formatting of the original file.

You can now edit this new document as needed. Remember to save it with a new file name or in a different location to keep it separate from the original.

Bonus: How to Duplicate a Google Docs File

Duplicating a Google Docs file is a straightforward process, ideal for when you need a copy of your document for different purposes while keeping the original file unchanged. Here’s a how-to do it:

  1. Begin by navigating to the Google Docs file you want to duplicate. You can do this through your Google Drive or by opening a direct link to the document.
  2. Once your document is open, look for the File tab located in the top left corner of the Google Docs interface. Click on this to open a dropdown menu.
  3. In the dropdown menu, find and select the option that says Make a copy. This will make a copy of the existing document.

READ MORE: How to Add Word Art in Google Docs on Desktop & Mobile ➜


In conclusion, Microsoft Word offers several methods to duplicate documents, each catering to different needs and scenarios.

Whether you’re simply copying and pasting content within Word, duplicating entire files through your operating system, using ‘Save As’ for a direct copy, opening a document as a new copy, or generating a new document from an existing one, there’s one option for everyone.


Can I duplicate a Word document if I only have a viewer and not the full version of Word?

Yes, you can still duplicate the file using your operating system’s file explorer by copying and pasting the entire file, even if you can’t edit the document in Word.

Will copying a Word document also copy its formatting and images?

Yes, when you duplicate a Word document using any of the methods mentioned, all formatting, images, and other elements within the document are also copied.

How do I ensure that my duplicated document doesn’t overwrite the original?

Always save the duplicated document with a different name or in a different location. This practice is particularly important when using the ‘Save As’ method.


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.