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: Default Picture Location.

Default Picture Location

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 5, 2018)


Word allows you to insert graphics (pictures) into your documents. You normally do this by choosing Insert | Picture | From File. On my system, Word always defaults to the My Pictures folder, although this may be different on your system. If you want Word to start in a different folder, you can specify the folder by following these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the File Locations tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The File Locations tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. In the File Types list, select Clipart Pictures.
  5. Click on Modify. Word displays the Modify Location dialog box.
  6. Use the dialog box to locate and select the folder you want to use as the starting location for your graphics files.
  7. Click on OK.
  8. Click on OK again.

That's it. Now each time you use the Insert | Picture | From File sequence, Word displays the folder you selected in step 5.

It is unfortunate that Word doesn't have a "memory" concerning the graphics files directory, as it does for document directories. Word remembers the folder you last used for documents during the current Word session; it won't do that for graphics—it always starts from the folder you specified in step 5.

If you want Word to remember the last place you were each time you use Insert | Picture | From File in the current session, then you need to go back to not having a default picture location set. (I know; this seems very odd.) If you follow the steps above, but erase the Folder Name box in step 5, you will set the Clipart Pictures location set nothing—no location. Now, when you use Insert | Picture | From File, Word again starts at My Pictures, but it remembers where you navigate. This means that during the current session, each time you insert a picture from a file Word will start at the folder from where you last inserted.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1614) 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: Default Picture Location.

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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What is four less than 8?

2017-04-04 21:46:59

Don Ens

This tip does not work. My Excel 2002 does not have a File Locations tab under Tools, Options.

2016-07-05 14:58:21

Monica Cain

Your steps to remove any default for graphics does not work. No matter what I try to erase in the file location window that location already there remains.
I need clearer instructions
Thank you

2014-03-01 18:52:49


It does not work for me. Word 2003. Path already set. When I try to modify, the Folder Name box is empty already; and if I click OK, the path remains the old one. If I try to choose something illegal path ("My Computer"), Word does not permit to set it.

What to do? Thank you in advance.

2013-03-08 01:31:37

Calvin Nam

Thanks a lot for your advice.. I have been having a hard time with this problem for ages.. Microsoft tend to enforce it's system onto our computers.. I dislike when they do that.. every folder always ends up in My Documents..
It took me awhile to read your advice as I'm currently using the worst Microsoft Word version ever (2007).. it took awhile to find 'File Locations'.. but yeah, I succeeded..

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