Finding Out the Folder for an Open Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 9, 2017)


Steven often has a Word document open and can't remember where it came from (i.e., what folder it is located in). The title bar for the document's window shows the document's title, but not the folder in which it is stored. He wonders about the easiest way to figure out the folder for a document that is already open.

It turns out that there are several different ways you can determine the folder for a document. Based on the huge number of people that supplied ideas, the most popular (and, therefore, commonly used) method is to simply press F12. Word displays the Save As dialog box, which includes as the default location the path of the currently active document. Once you glean the information you like, you can press Esc to dismiss the Save As dialog box without actually saving.

If you are using Word 2007, you can display the properties for a document, which includes its location. You do this by clicking the Office button, then clicking Prepare | Properties. Word displays a Properties pane at the top of the document, which includes a yellow bar showing the location for the document.

If you are using Word 2010 or a later version of the program, you can see the folder in which a document is stored by simply clicking the File tab of the ribbon. Near the top of the screen you can see the location, the detail of which will vary based on the version of Word you are using. For instance, if you are using Word 2010 you can see the traditional full path name. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. File location in Word 2010.

If you are using Word 2016, though, then the full path may appear truncated. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. File location in Word 2016.

Interestingly, if you look at what you see when the File tab is displayed, near the bottom of the right side of the screen you should see an option named Open File Location. If you hover over this with the mouse pointer, you'll see the full path for the folder. You can also click the option and thereby open a window that shows the contents of the folder.

There's also a tool you can add to the Quick Access Toolbar that will show you the document's location. Follow 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 later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Select the Customize option (Word 2007) or Quick Access Toolbar option (Word 2010 and later versions) at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Using the Choose Commands From drop-down list, choose Commands Not In the Ribbon. Word displays all the requested commands at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  4. Figure 3. Adding a command to the Quick Access Toolbar.

  5. Scroll through the list of available commands and choose Document Address.
  6. Click the Add button. The command is moved to the list at the right of the dialog box.
  7. Click OK. The new command now appears on the Quick Access Toolbar.

The Document Address tool is actually a drop-down list. It lists lots of different addresses, including places you've visited on the Internet. The top option, however (the one shown when you don't drop-down the list), is the folder location of the currently active document.

Finally, if you prefer a macro-oriented approach, you could create a very simple one that displays the path to the folder:

Sub GetPath()
     MsgBox ActiveDocument.FullName
End Sub

The macro could be easily assigned to a shortcut key or to a tool on the ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (4869) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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 five more than 3?

2017-12-23 22:57:12

Phil Reinemann

@Ted Duke: In WIndoze/File Explorer, shift-right-click the file and pick copy as path and it will be put in the clipboard. I use that all the time to let others know where the file is on the server.

Maybe a bit more than anyone needs but...

Sub ShowFileFullPath()
' 20161216 created (copied Excel macro) by PReinie
' Sometimes you just need to figure out where it is, and use it.
' Requires VB Tools->References Microsoft Forms 2.0 Object Library.
' If it's not listed, add C:\Windows\System32\FM20.dll or
' C:\Windows\FM20.dll as a reference, else you get "User-defined type not defined".

Dim copyToClipboard As VbMsgBoxResult
Dim fullPath As String
Dim DataObj As New MSForms.DataObject

copyToClipboard = vbYes
fullPath = Application.ActiveDocument.FullName

copyToClipboard = MsgBox(fullPath & vbCrLf & "Do you want the full path saved to clipboard?", vbYesNo + vbDefaultButton1)
If copyToClipboard = vbYes Then
DataObj.SetText fullPath
Set DataObj = Nothing
' I guess no copy to clipboard, so there!
End If
End Sub ' ShowFileFullPath

Also, Greg Maxey has a macro that replaces the file name with the full path & name at the top of the editing window. Sorry I don't have it in Word 2011 yet to post it here.

2017-12-09 14:28:43

Ted Duke

The tip showing that F12 opens File Explorer to display the location of an open document in Word is my candidate for "Tip of the Decade." Thanks, multiple times.

2017-12-09 12:11:58

Linda Skinner

I'm new to WordTips and find them interesting and helpful. Thank you.

In Word 2016 on my mac, I get the full document path by right-clicking the document name at the top of the document.

2017-12-09 04:42:44


I think there is a simple way: Select "Save as" and Word will show the folder where the document is located. There is no need to proceed with saving.

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