Weekly Computer Tip # 334
19 March 2011

Save time opening or saving files by customizing the Open and the Save As dialog boxes Office 2003 - 2007 using Windows XP

Today's tip is inspired by a question raised during a training session I did this week. One of my course participants asked whether there is a way to customize the Open and Save As dialog boxes in Office 2007 (similar to Office 2003), giving quick access to your favourite locations on your personal and/or shared drives.

As I didn't know this was possible in Office 2003 (so thanks for the inspiration; you know who you are!) I showed him - and his fellow course participants - how to change the default file location ("Blob", Word Options, Save) but that's obviously one specific location only whereas he was talking about the area on the left side of the dialog box (apparently called "My Places") where - if you are still using Windows XP - you find quick access to your Recent Documents, your Desktop, My documents etcetera.

So what he wanted is set up his own shortcuts which is great if you frequently save files in a variety of subfolders.

Here's how:

In Office 2007:

  1. In the Open or Save dialog box, navigate to the folder you want to add.
  2. Right-click a blank space in the My Places bar underneath the existing shortcuts, and click "Add <folder name>".

In Office 2003:

  1. In the Open or Save dialog box, navigate to the folder you want to add.
  2. Click Tools in the upper right corner of the dialog box and select Add to "My Places".

Your new shortcut appears at the bottom of the My Places bar. Next time you want to open or save a file, simply click the shortcut to quickly access your favourite file space.

If you want to remove an item from the My Places bar simply right-click the folder you want to remove, and then click Remove.