OriginLab Corporation - Data Analysis and Graphing Software - 2D graphs, 3D graphs, Contour Plots, Statistical Charts, Data Exploration, Statistics, Curve Fitting, Signal Processing, and Peak Analysis     
Skip Navigation Links
All BooksExpand All Books
Origin HelpExpand Origin Help
The Origin Project FileExpand The Origin Project File

3.1 Opening, Closing and Backing Up the Origin Project File

When you start Origin, a single workbook with one sheet shows in Origin workspace. If you open the Project Explorer window, you will see that this single workbook is under the Folder1 subfolder. The project file is organized by a folder and subfolder structure that you create to organize your child windows: all of your data -- graphical and tabular data, your notes and your analytical results, your project level variables, etc.

Note: Origin has two different data recovery features -- autosave and backup. They work differently and independently of each other. In short, autosave is most useful for recovering from program crashes and power failures, while backup is most useful for recovering data when you have a project file that will not open. Both are documented below.

Opening and closing the Origin project

By default when you launch Origin, the Origin window title shows UNTITLED-/Folder1 to indicate a blank new workspace and your current folder is Folder1. If you made some modification to this workspace, a dot character ("*") will show next to the word "UNTITLED" to indicate that the workspace has been modified. If you try to close the current workspace or exit Origin before you choosing File: Save Project or File: Save Project as, you will be prompted to save the project.

To open a project file:

  • From the menu, choose File: Open.... Make sure the Files of Type is Origin Files (*.opj, .og?, *.ot?). Select the .OPJ file and click Open. This will close everything in the current workspace and load the selected .OPJ file. If your current work was not saved, Origin will prompt you to save your work.
  • From the menu, choose File: Append. You can select multiple OPJ files. The selected OPJ files will be added into current workspace. You will be asked if you want to add them as subfolders in the current folder or added directly to the current folder. Note: Each child window name must be unique within a project, so child windows contained in appended OPJs may get renamed.
  • Drag-and-drop an .OPJ file from Windows Explorer into the Origin workspace. If the workspace is the default Untitled workspace, this action will be equivalent to File: Open. If there is work in the current workspace, the dropped OPJ file will be appended to the existing workspace.
  • Double-clicking an .OPJ file in Windows Explorer will launch a new instance of Origin with the OPJ file loaded.

To save a project file

  • Choose File: Save Project or click Save Project Button Save Project.png on the Standard toolbar. This will save everything in the current Origin workspace to the file name shown in Origin workspace title bar. Note: The Project Explorer folder that is active when saving the OPJ file will be the folder that opens when opening the OPJ file.
  • Choose File: Save Project As... and specify a Save In folder, File Name and Save as Type OPJ.
  • Right-click a folder or subfolder in Project Explorer to save only that folder and its subfolders into an OPJ file.

You can configure Origin to open a customized OPJ file on startup. Select Tools: Options, click the Open/Close tab and set Start New Project to Origin.opj. Click "Yes" at the prompt. Then, save your customized OPJ to the root of your User Files Folder using the name Origin.opj. Each time you run Origin, your customized project will be loaded automatically.

What is (and isn't ) saved with the Origin project file?

NOT Saved

Autosaving your project file

Origin has an autosave feature that is turned on by default. Once you've modified your project file, the autosave feature periodically saves project contents to a temporary file in the \Autosave subfolder. If you experience a program crash or power failure, you should be able to recover most of your work by browsing to and opening this temporary file. If you save the Origin project and exit the program normally, Origin "cleans up" by deleting the temporary file.

In order for the autosave feature to work:

  • You must have saved the project once; that is, if you are starting with a new project, you must have given it a name.
  • Once you save a project, the project must be modified since your last Save/Save As/Open or no temporary file is created.

To open the autosaved file:

  • Locate the autosave folder by
    • Select Help: Open Folder: Autosave Folder menu to open the folder.
    • Opening Tools: Options.... The System Path tab lists all paths created by Origin, including Autosave (Note that, on this tab, you can modify the location of your Autosave folder by highlighting Autosave and then clicking the Change... button).
    • Click the Start menu in Windows desktop, select Programs: Originlab: Origin Version: Autosave (earlier Windows OS); or browse your Start menu list of programs (aka Windows "Apps") and click on the OriginLab Autosave folder icon.
Autosave folder program list.png
  • Use File: Open... to open the file. The autosaved OPJ file should have the same beginning filename as your OPJ file. E.g. if your OPJ file name is 'MYFILE.opj, the autosaved file name will be something like MYFILE-xxxxx.OPJ.

Controlling autosave settings

To enable or disable the autosave feature, or to adjust the period of time between autosaves:

  1. Choose Tools: Options menu to open Options dialog.
  2. Go to Open/Close tab and check or uncheck the Autosave project every x minute(s) checkbox and adjust the saving frequency as needed.
Note: Autosave for large opj files can take a long time. There is a threshold project size -- 20MB by default -- that will trigger the following attention dialog box when the project is saved or autosaved:
Autosave prompt.png

This dialog box allows you, among other things, to turn off autosave for the current project or for any project larger than the threshold size.
Do this only upon careful consideration.

Additionally, you will see that there are options to turn off the attention dialog ("don't ask again..."). To restore the attention dialog once it has been turned off, open the Script Window (Window: Script Window), type the following command and press <Enter>:

doc -ca

The next time you save a large OPJ file, this Attention dialog will open if the @ASC threshold project size has been exceeded (see Related Topics, next).

Related Topics:

Creating a backup of the project file

When you manually save an Origin project file, a BACKUP.OPJ file is saved to your User Files Folder (UFF). If, for some reason, your modified file becomes corrupted, you should be able to roll back to the previous version of the file. Note: There is only one BACKUP.OPJ file so if you have later reopened another OPJ file and manually saved the OPJ, the BACKUP.OPJ will be for the new OPJ file. This feature is enabled by default and is independent of the autosave feature.

To open the back up project file:

  1. Run Origin.
  2. Choose Help: Open Folder: User Files folder or choose File: Open to browse User Files Folder to open the UFF folder.
  3. Choose BACKUP.OPJ and click Open.

To disable the creation of BACKUP.opj file:

  1. Choose Tools: Options... menu to open Options dialog.
  2. Go to Open/Close tab and uncheck Backup Project Before Saving checkbox.


© OriginLab Corporation. All rights reserved.