It's funny that we still use floppy disks icon for save operation association while floppies have long been outdated, unused and many computer users nowadays don't even know how floppy disks actually look like?


What could be a more contemporary icon for Save operation?

Sidenote: This is not a duplicate of Save icon, is the floppy disk icon dead? question because it explains why floppy disk icon is used. I'm rather asking what could be todays replacement for it.

  • 3
    As stated by Charles Boyung in that question:"the icon is ubiquitous with saving. Changing it would cause more problems than it would solve. Think of it this way - can YOU think of anything to replace it with that would be more universally understood? There really isn't anything. The same thing holds true for the "phone" icons used on cell phones and even Skype, or (eventually) the envelope icon for email. When was the last time you saw a phone that actually looked like the old, standard handset that is almost always used as the phone icon?" Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 11:35
  • @ChrisF: I'm not asking why doesn't it get replaced. I'm asking what could replace it? Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 11:45
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    The answer is "nothing could replace it" for the reasons given.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 11:46
  • 1
    This has already been asked elsewhere graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/323/… in a different context.
    – zzzzBov
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 14:16
  • 1
    It's also a high rated question on Stack Overflow: stackoverflow.com/questions/1019573/… Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 14:25

6 Answers 6


Why would you want something more contemporary which users don't understand? What are you improving about their experience by doing this?

Don't use something different just to be cool or clever. All you would be doing is illustrating that good graphic design is not the same as good UX design.

  • 1
    I'm not saying I'd like to change floppy icon. I'm just contemplating alternatives/ideas. but I still upvoted your answer. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 11:47
  • I understand that, but even saying that "x" is a more contemporary icon will get people to use it even though it is bad ux.
    – JohnGB
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 11:51
  • An 'Upload to the Could" icon (cloud with an upwards pointing arrow) could work fairly well. It is in context as well as contemporary. I don't think it is as widely understood as the floppy icon but is gaining in acceptance as Upload icon. The use case is pretty much the same for saving nowadays.
    – Martyn
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 2:52

Here's what is rapidly becoming the new replacement save icon:

enter image description here

That's assuming it's needed at all of course. For example, it's used by Google Docs here - although they've added text as well in this case:

enter image description here

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    I'm assuming that the first image is meant to be blank.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 12:03
  • @ChrisF Yup! ;-) Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 12:11
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    And there I thought it was going to be a portrait of Barack Obama :P
    – JohnGB
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 12:55
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    That first "image" really had me confused for a few seconds. I thought something was wrong with my browser :-D
    – Omar Kohl
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 13:41
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    Wanted to downvote, but then i read it )) Yes, auto-save is global ui trend nowadays.
    – c69
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 21:15

As others have pointed out it probably isn't going to be replaced by anything but rather be removed and replaced by an undo button. Google Docs is probably the best example.

The funny thing is that I actually miss the button. Several times after writing I wanted to save and felt very uneasy until I went into File/Save (but of course by that time that button said "Saved" and was disabled). That's how used we get to these things and to loosing stuff on Windows 95 because we didn't save often enough.

  • Hence the auto save functionality. Computers used to be much more unstable those days. I can remember doing stuff for a few hours in CorelDraw 3 when it froze on me. It was like a nightmare! Thank god for auto save that I set to 10 minutes. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 14:02

I think the disk icon is here to stay. Everyone knows what it means, and it makes the point clear. A CD icon would be confusing, and I haven't seen a decent enough hard drive icon that can replace it. Plus, as we get older, maybe kids will ask us what the save icon picture is, and we can reminisce about the good old days. :)

Black Save Icon Blue Save Icon

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    I remember first seing the 3.5" floppy when a friend of mine got Amiga computer... Felt so fancy carrying it in a shirt pocket... :) Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 14:01
  • I used to carry them around, too. It was awesome. USB's are nice, too, but there was a different feeling back then.
    – Musaab
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 14:22
  • I have seen a hard drive icon for some apps, I think mostly on Macs and Linux.
    – Todd Moses
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 18:05
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    Linux people like us are not the average user. Think of the "unwashed masses".
    – Musaab
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 18:21

From The Design of Everyday Things, convention is the last resort of design, and the floppy disk has become convention. There's a chance that different colors or positions might work better for traffic stop lights, but trying to change the colors would not only be foolish, it would be dangerous.


To oppose the other answers, there is a "save" icon I've seen once or twice that I think works quite well - and is even more low-tech. An image of a pencil.

  • 6
    ... more likely associated with edit Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 6:01
  • In the right context, yeah. But when paired with an "Open" button on a menubar, it makes sense to me.
    – Izkata
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 1:11

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