Changing the Default Location for Saving a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 11, 2021)


Lynda has been using Word for more years than she would care to count. A while back she updated to Microsoft 365, and noticed that when she goes to save a new document, Word defaults to save the file to OneDrive. This drives Lynda crazy, as she doesn't use OneDrive. She would like Word to default to allow her to save to her PC, rather than having to go through a click-fest to actually do so. So, she wonders how she can change this default.

Before getting into the answer for Lynda's specific question, it is interesting to note that Word provides several different ways to initiate a "Save As" operation. These are the three major methods:

  • Display the File tab of the ribbon and click Save As at the left side of the screen.
  • Press F12.
  • Add (and use) the Save As tool to the Quick Access Toolbar.

If you try each of these methods, you'll quickly find that they don't lead to the same result. To paraphrase an old Sesame Street song, "one of these things is not like the other; one of these things doesn't belong." Displaying the File tab of the ribbon and clicking Save As results in a different experience than the other two. In fact, it is this approach that results in the display of the OneDrive location; the other two do not. On our testing system, pressing F12 or using the Save As tool ignored OneDrive completely and displayed the traditional Save As dialog box, offering to save on the local system.

So, how do you make the File tab method work like the other two? Here are the quick steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left of the dialog box click Save. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Save options in the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Save to Computer by Default option is selected.
  5. Click on OK to dismiss the Word Options dialog box.

This doesn't really change what is displayed when you use the Save As option from the File tab of the ribbon, but it does change what is selected (by default) in that screen. You can, in the steps detailed above, also change the path specified in the Default Local File Location field. (In Word 2007 it is the Default File Location field.) This can help make saving your files in a desired location easier.

That being said, for saving on your local system (once the above change is implemented), the most direct route is to forgo the Save As option on the File tab of the ribbon and use one of the other two methods described earlier.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12674) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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 minus 4?

2021-12-13 03:16:55


Really useful tip. It was driving me crazy too.

2021-12-11 23:09:17


I am also frustrated daily by the same default options when I save a new document (or ANY other file type).

1. As suggested in the Tip above, I have also linked my most utilized folders in the "Quick Access" folder that is always accessible at the top of the "Save As" option when you try to save a file. This is very easy to do and will save you many of those frustrations.

2. However, I usually create new documents (or other file types) in response to an item within one of my existing folders, and my desire is to save that new file within that same folder -- which isn't typically shown in my Quick Access options.

An easy step by step solution to this situation:
a. Open that preferred folder destination on your desktop using File Manager (in my case described above, it is usually already open).
b. In File Manager, click AFTER the very end of the path displayed for the destination folder -- and the entire path will be highlighted
c. Right click and copy the path
d. In the "File Save As" dialog folder for your new file, click after the very end of the auto presented file path at the top, highlighting the auto presented file path
e. Right click on that highlighted path and select "Paste" and THEN PRESS ENTER -- don't skip this Enter step! This takes your save-as dialog box to that destination folder.
f. Now click on the Save button at the bottom of the dialog box for your new file.
g. Bingo - Bango! Your file is saved within the desired folder.
h. With minimal practice, the above steps take only a few seconds to perform.

I use it many times daily and it works and saves time. It will for you too!

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