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Default Picture Location

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Default Picture Location.

Word allows you to insert graphics (pictures) into your documents. You normally do this by using the Picture tool in the Illustrations group on the Insert tab of the ribbon. On my system, Word always defaults to the Pictures Library 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. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the options and click the File Locations button. Word displays the File Locations dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The File Locations dialog box.

  5. In the File Types list, select Clipart Pictures if you're using Word 2007 or Word 2010. For Word 2013, select Images.
  6. Click on Modify. Word displays the Modify Location dialog box.
  7. Use the dialog box to locate and select the folder you want to use as the starting location for your graphics files.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Click on OK again.

That's it. Now each time you use the Picture tool, Word displays the folder you selected in step 6.

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 6.

If you want Word to remember the last place you were each time you use the Picture tool 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 6, you will set the Clipart Pictures location to nothing—no location. Now, when you use the Picture tool, Word again starts at the Pictures Library (or whatever your system default is) 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 (10173) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Default Picture Location.

Related Tips:

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

 

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Comments for this tip:

Roger    03 Dec 2016, 04:49
Hi Allen
Thanks for all these tips.
Simple questions..
Can one have subdirectories in the Images location?
Regards
Roger
Frank Baillie    16 Nov 2016, 13:22
Many thanks, this has been driving me crazy.
Alex    28 Sep 2016, 22:28
Using Word 2013, the File Locations>Modify dialog won't let me delete the default location. I changed it to Documents long ago because all of my graphics are kept in the same folders (or sub-folders there) as the docs I'm working on (why would I keep them somewhere different?? Only in Techie World, a strange & wonderful planet occupied by people who apparently don't actually use, in any meaningful way, the software they design).

I tried deleting the whole thing, but when I said OK, it stayed the original way. I tried deleting levels of the location, first Documents, then Documents & my UserName, but that didn't work either.

Apparently, once you've chosen a default file location for images in Word 2013, you're stuck with it forever (unless you want to choose some OTHER folder that you will be stuck with). This is sooooo silly. I'm sure that Word used to remember where I got things from. Am I mis-remembering?

Best
Alex

PS: I will read about changing this loc in the registry as mentioned in Charles' comment from 27Nov15. Maybe that will work.
Manfred    09 Aug 2016, 19:01
This only helps with clipart. What about photos? I'm always having to navigate to the server folder I keep photos because Word goes to my Pictures folder.
Cheers.
Charles    27 Nov 2015, 12:57
You can't simply delete the default image location, as you've found, Matti - you have to go into the Registry. See here: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2007-word/ms-word-defaults-to-a-set-folder-under-the/d604a81e-aa68-44e9-b7e0-ca9ad8f17e33

 
Matti Siren    27 Nov 2015, 03:43
I accidentally set my image location in Word 2013 to C:\, and now I can't find any way to remove it. How exactly shall I proceed with "erase the Folder Name box in step 6"?
 
 

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