How To Change The Default File Opening and Saving Location For Microsoft Office

If you’re a big Word and Excel user, you may open and save several documents in a day.  Word and Excel are set by default to save in your My Documents folder on Windows XP or Documents library on Windows Vista/7.  This default location is OK if you’re a home user but may not be ideal if you’re in a work environment where mapped drives and other network shares are common.

In this guide I will show you how to change the default file opening and saving location for two common Microsoft Office programs, Word and Excel.

Microsoft Word

Step one: Open Word and navigate to the Microsoft Office Button (or simply the File menu if you’re using Office 2010) and click Word Options.

Step two: In the new window, click Save on the left side.

Step three: Click Browse next to the Default File Location box and select the folder that you wish to be the new default opening and saving location and click OK when finished.  You can also type the path to the directory if you wish.

Microsoft Excel

Step one: Open Excel and navigate to the Microsoft Office Button (or simply the File menu if you’re using Office 2010) and click Excel Options.

Step two: In the new window, click Save on the left side.

Step three: For reasons unknown, Excel does not have a Browse button next to the Default File Location box so you’ll have to type the path to the directory of your new default opening and saving location.  When finished, click OK.

That’s it!  If you have any questions, be sure to comment below.

  • Moshe

    I have changed these locations, but whenever I go to the files tab, the computer goes looking for Server1…..I am in another country, and my computer hangs there for quite a while.

    • Anonymous

      Unless you actually have a Windows server and mapped shares, don’t change the default location. If your Windows computer is on a domain or in a workgroup with a fileserver, or has a NAS, or an attached (USB, eSata) drive that is always on, do not point to it as the default file location or move My Documents to that location.

  • http://www.techerator.com Dustin Patterson

    When you change the default Save location, you also change the default Open location to be the same thing.

    • Anonymous

      Where do you change the Open location?

      • kathleendunk

        let me know if you find this out as this is the problem i am also having…i cannot open email files of excel in excel and they try to open in word and it cannot be done..thanks

        • Anonymous

          File Associations

    • Johngrant

      Dustin,
      The default open location does not change on my version of Office 2010.

      • inachu

        I am in the same boat as you and this does not work as you say. MS TECH CREW have abandonned any fixes for this tiny bug.

    • Frustrated

      Changing the default Save location does not change the default Open location.  Publisher 2010 does not seem to have options for either.

      • inachu

        YOU ARE 100% CORRECT!

    • http://theradicaljourney.com/2012/05/18/only-kill-the-bad-man/ Tim

      In Word 2010, the way to change the Open location is to go to File, then Options, then Advanced and scroll to the bottom and click on the File Locations button, highlight Documents and click on Modify, then find the location you want as your default opener and click on it, then hit OK and back your way out of the way you got there.

      • Zulfikar Ali

        Thanks it works charm..
        may i know how to do it in excel?

        • Moggypop

          e.g. EXCEL 2010
          Open EXCEL
          File
          Options
          Save
          Under “Save workbooks” and
          Default file location…
          Type in the path (folder) you want your program to open in.
          It might be necessary (or maybe only this might do the trick), to also:
          Open EXCEL
          File
          Options
          Advanced
          Scroll down to “General”
          “At startup, open all files in”:
          Type in the path (folder) you want your program to open in.

  • Jeanne Speranza

    Is there a way to modify this location for anyone who logs into the same workstation?  I am looking for a way to do this on a Citrix box.

  • Silversue2x2

    I’m with you guys on this one…….and I’m usually pretty Word-literate……but have followed the same instructions that change the SAVE location and don’t see where I can change OPEN (because changing the one, does not change the other).    Or, lightbulb just came on, will this only show up after I restart the program???  I’ll find out in the morning when I turn my computer back on!!

  • Jan Webb

    Why can’t I set my default open location to My Computer instead of My Documents

  • Basil

    You are correct, but I have a user with Windows XP and Office 2010.  In Excel when user change it the S:. The content of the S: drive is correct, but the description is My Document.  User tried a different network drive U:.  This shows the correct content and description for the U:.  Question how to one get the correct description for the S: drive?

  • Kentlewan

    hey!  You guys rock!  how come MS$$$ doesn’t tell us this stuff?

    • Anonymous

      They do. Try using Help.

  • kathleendunk

    i received an excel file and when my computer asked how i wanted to open it i clicked word and now when it o[pen s in word you cannot read it and nothing is there…so how do i go back and change my computer to open in excel. Excel was not listed as an option on my computer!! and i could not find it when i browsed so thought word was what i should choose…please help. I can save excel workbooks as your above note but when i receive an excel in email, i cannot open it in excel…

    • Anonymous

      Files open according to the file association (application associated with the file type) for its extension (the letters to the right of the period in the files name). When you install Office it sets these associations for files it can handle. You can use “Open with…” (right-click the file) to try another application. Be sure to leave the “always use…” box unchecked until you are positive you want to change it.

  • Anonymous

    File, Options, Save, Default File Location… You have to change this for each Office Application. There is no global setting for Office. However, you can change the location of My Documents in its Properties (Right-click My Documents) with the Move button.

  • Anonymous

    My Documents is part of the Documents library by default. If you don’t believe me, right-click Documents and look at the Properties. Is everyone here an ex- or current Apple user? Start right-clicking people! You modify the Documents library in the Properties. BTW, Apple users can enable right-clicking in the mouse properties in OSX. Then you don’t have to Ctrl-Click. Right-click everything. Your friend will think you are a genius.

  • Wendy

    The issue I am having is when I open a workbook and then go to open another one, the open location goes right back to my docs…in the old version of Excel, it returned to the last place that I opened a file.

  • sally

    Thanks for the help, but I have changed the default location in Options, but when I click the open icon, excel goes to Desktop/Libraries/Documents – what do I have to do to get stupid excel to go where I want it to go?

  • http://pinterest.com/anniesuzie/ Annie Suzie

    Flippin nuisance Excel doesn’t have a browse button!

  • inachu

    This is a bug in Microsoft office suite as you can fix it in word but it never gets properly applied to EXCEL and it points to some location that windows uses as a cache space for open files and after applying the changed location then sometimes randomly it can move back to the strange area without user interaction. So even though this sounds like the fix and SHOULD be a fix for all users of the Office suite the sad fact is that it DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK and MICROSOFT EMPLOYEE PROGRAMMERS need to make sure EXCEL knows how to read the defaults of MS WORD and copy the same settings but no… They make EXCEL like a separate beast that saves files in CACHE LAND and sometimes the fix works for a short while then problem pops back up. SO IN REALITY THIS FIX IS A NON FIX.

  • inachu

    Another way to force to break the default location is to have someone email the excel file to you and now open the excel file directly from inside the email and it will give some weird cache location when you want to save it.