How do I... Set my own default file locations in Word 2007?

Out of the box, Word 2007 is set to save documents to My Documents in Windows XP and to your Documents folder in Windows Vista. User templates are stored by default in C:\Documents And Settings\<Username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates in XP and in C:\Users\<Username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word in Vista.

If these locations work for you, you're all set. But if you'd prefer to keep documents and/or user templates in a folder of your choosing (or if your organization mandates a particular location, say, a company file server), you'll need to tweak these defaults.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

The old way

In Word 2003 and earlier, you go to Tools | Options | File Locations to access the settings shown in Figure A. Then, you select a file type (Documents, User Templates, etc.) and click Modify. In the Modify Location dialog box, you navigate to the folder you want to set as the default and click OK to make the change. Click OK again to close the Options dialog box and your new default will be in effect. Figure A

The Word 2007 route

To make similar changes in Word 2007, you need to tweak the same options -- but they're not in the same spot.

Start by clicking the Office button and then click Word Options at the bottom of the Office menu. If all you want to do is change the default location for saving files (and not templates), click Save in the left panel. Word will present the options shown in Figure B. Figure B

Click the Browse button to the right of Default File Location and Word will open the Modify Location dialog box, where you can navigate to the desired folder. Click OK once you've selected a location and click OK again to close Word Options.

If you want to change the default location for templates, you'll need to display a different set of options. After you click Word Options on the Office menu, click on Advanced in the left pane. Word will present a huge assortment of settings, but the one you want is near the bottom. Scroll down to the File Locations button, shown in Figure C. Figure C

When you click this button, Word will open the File Locations dialog box, as shown in Figure D. (You'll notice a striking similarity to the Word 2003 counterpart we saw in Figure A.) Now you can choose User Templates, click Modify, navigate to the folder where you want to save your templates, click OK to make the change, and click OK to close Word Options. Figure D

Note that you can change the default folder for documents as well as templates via the File Locations dialog box -- it's a one-stop shop for tweaking default save locations for all the file types.


Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.


This is great , but what if after I change it goes back to the network drive? does this indicate there is a network policy in place ? If so what is the setting to change excatly ?


"Insert Hyperlink" dialog still goes to current user's Document folderby default. Is there a way to change it as well?


When you logon to the network, chances are that there is a script that downloads a new NORMAL.DOT. After logging in to the network, before starting work, find NORMAL.DOT and check the date/time stamp. It is probably "old". Start Word, make the one change, then close Word, to save changes to Check the date/time stamp on your, it should now be current. That would prove that the change is actually saved to to Normal.DOT. At this point you have confirmed that when you log in, your NORMAL.DOT has an "old" date. Making your desired change is actually saved to NORMAL.DOT. So that implies that every day NORMAL.DOT is "refreshed" from the network. Your solution is simple. After saving your changes make a copy of NORMAL.DOT, just rename it in the same directory, ie NORMAL.BAK. Create a batch file to delete NORMAL.DOT and copy NORMAL.BAK to NORMAL.DOT. Every day after you log on, just run the batch file. If you want to get a little more fancy the batch file could be written to rename NORMAL.BAK, then start Word, then after Word stops, copy NORMAL.DOT back to NORMAL.BAK to capture any additional changes you made that day. From now on you would use the batch file to start Word instead of the default shortcut.

Editor's Picks