Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Setting Your Default Document Directory.

Setting Your Default Document Directory

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 15, 2021)

Normally, Word starts looking for documents in the directory in which you started the program. If you want to change the default directory path, you can do so in the following manner:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Click on the File Locations tab. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The File Locations tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Documents option is selected from the list of file types. (This is the first choice in the list, and is typically selected by default.)
  5. Click on the Modify button. Word displays the Modify Location dialog box.
  6. Use the controls in the dialog box to locate the directory you want used as the default document directory.
  7. Click on OK. The directory you selected in step 5 should now appear in the Options dialog box.
  8. Click on Close.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1170) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Setting Your Default Document Directory.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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