Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Changing the Default File Name.

Changing the Default File Name

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 17, 2020)


When you save a Word document for the first time, Word typically uses the first paragraph of the document as the suggested file name in the Save As dialog box. In reality, this choice for a default file name is the second choice for Word. It will use your document title as the default file name, provided you have set one.

You can use this information to your benefit by setting the document title in the templates you use to create your documents. For instance, let's say you use a template to create your letters. When you normally save a new letter, Word picks up the default file name from the first paragraph, which may be your letterhead or the date.

If you change the document title in the template to something such as Personal Letter, then Word will use Personal Letter.doc as the suggested file name. This is obviously much closer to how you want the saved file named than if Word had suggested the letterhead or the date. All you need to do is quickly customize the name (to something such as Personal Letter to Bill.docx) in the Save As dialog box.

To set a document title in a template, you use the Properties dialog box for the template. How you display the dialog box depends on the version of Word you are using:

  • If you are using Word 2007 click the Office button, then choose Prepare | Properties. Word displays the Document Information Panel at the top of the document. Use the Document Properties drop-down list (top-left corner of the Document Information Panel) to choose Advanced Properties. Word displays the Properties dialog box.
  • If you are using Word 2010 or a later version, click the File tab of the ribbon and then click Info | Properties | Advanced Properties. Word displays the Properties dialog box.

Make sure you do the above steps, depending on your version, after opening the template file. Regardless of which version of Word you are using, make sure the Summary tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Summary tab of the Properties dialog box.

Next, change the contents of the Title field to the default file name you want to use. You do not need to include the .Dotx portion of the file name. When done, click OK and then save and close the template.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5920) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing the Default File Name.

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 9 - 8?

2021-05-20 10:03:16


Haihm, what do you mean by "the name shown inside"? If you are referring to a field code that displays the name of the file, for example in a footer, then you really can't do anything about it directly, since Word will save the PDF file to look like the Word file would look if printed. Here are some work arounds you could try:
1. Edit the PDF file after you create it to change the filename text.
2. Edit the Word file to replace the field with its result (using Ctrl-Shift-F9) and then change the filename text of the result before you create the PDF.
3. Change the name of the Word file by saving it under the new name, update fields, and then save it as a PDF (however, this would still show the Word extension e.g., .docx).


2021-05-19 12:48:21

Phil Rabichow

Find your file in File Explorer, select it, press F2, & change your pdf file to what you want.

2021-05-18 17:33:17


I am trying to save my word as a pdf file, when I save the file for a specfic name like (CAR). Then when I open the saved PDF file, the name shown inside is default to as an example (BUS). Could you please help with that.

thanks a lot,

2017-01-20 10:56:50

Shirley Wilcox

Thank you Phil. That worked just fine. I am new to Word 2016 and thought it could be done as it was in Word 2007. Some things seem to be more difficult with these new "upgrades".

2016-09-26 12:38:50

Phil Rabichow

Can't you just go to Windows Explorer, find your file & change it's name?

2016-09-25 19:33:59

Peter Barry

When I saved the name of a file, I omitted two letters from the name.. How can I amend the File's name to include these letters?

Peter Barry

2016-03-14 04:41:56


Dear Allen,

I would like to have a template file name when saving like: “Title – [Title ID] – [Report Title].docs”

If we set the “Title” in the document property, it only shows “Title”. Do you know if there is a way to use special characters and space in Title & set it as default file name when saving, except using macros?

Appreciate your help.

Beset Regards,

2015-12-17 06:55:47

Stephen Psallidas

Thanks for this, however it doesn't work. The default name given to the file gets chopped off at the first non-alphanumeric character.

So when I have set the document Title to be:


in fact when I click 'Save As', I see


Does anyone know a way around this? Can the 'Save As' button have a Macro attached to it which will insert a filename into the Save As dialog box?

Thanks for any help.


2015-11-28 10:18:52

Helmut Lepper

well done - many thanks

2015-11-26 10:44:41



I have another issue : my Word doesn't use the title/first paragraph of my documents as the suggested file name in the Save As dialog box...

By default, my Word (from office 365) suggests me the document number "DocumentXX"

I would like it to use the title of my document by default.

Do you know how I could fix this ? (I use Office 365)

Thank you and happy thanksgiving !
Jeff from France

2015-08-14 13:55:24

Phil Rabichow

Take a look at the macro at:

2015-08-13 18:35:15

Paulo Almeida

Thanks for this tip. Unfortunately, it seems that this only works if the file name have only letters, cutting the file name at the first special character ("_", "-" and others), characters that can really be used in files names!

2015-08-10 15:02:40

Marla Schilly

This can also be done in Windows Explorer (and the template doesn't have to be open). Just right-click on the document, choose Properties, and insert the new default name in the Title field of the Details tab.

I'm new to WordTips and have enjoyed getting in touch with folks who are like-minded (i.e., worker smarter, not harder)!

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