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Default Picture Location

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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 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.
  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 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Default Picture Location.

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Comments for this tip:

Irl    01 Oct 2013, 16:47
One way to do it in Word 2007 is edit the Registry. In
[HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice12.0WordOptions]
"PROGRAMDIR"="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\"
there is a PicturePath value. I deleted the key and now the File Locations shows blank for the Clipart Pictures spot and things work as previously mentioned: Start a new session, first time you have to navigate (use Recent items if applicable), then it remembers.
Shirley    02 Nov 2012, 17:35
Great site for all kinds of tips. Microsoft changes how things work for each version and it's tough to keep up. Did you find a way to reset the file location in Word/PowerPoint 2010? Still interested in having Word remember the last file location for selecting pictures. Thanks!
foo master    07 Sep 2012, 12:02
The tip says "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."

But the instructions it gives do not work! Extremely annoying. Makes everything about this site suspect.
Alan    27 Jan 2012, 15:07
I wrote a macro to reset the picture location.

Sub ResetPictureLoc()
    Options.DefaultFilePath(Path:=wdPicturesPath) = ""

End Sub
Alan    17 Jan 2012, 17:05
I am unable to reset the file location for pictures to blank in word 2010 and therefore, I have no picture 'memory'.

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