Set the Default Save Location to Computer in Office 2013

Office 2013 comes with a number of cool new features. One of those new features is the ability to save to “cloud” locations like SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro right out of the box without having to install extra helper applications that sync the data down to the local system. With the big cloud push at Microsoft, the locations are now favored by default over saving to the local storage or mapped drives on a computer. This can be changed in the UI of the various Office applications. However, Microsoft chose not to include the option to change the default in Group Policy. The good news is that the settings can be configured in the Registry which means they can be manipulated by Group Policy Preferences.

To change the option manually in an Office 2013 application, go to the File tab then Options.

01-set_default_save_location_to_computer

Click on Save and then check the checkbox next to “Save to Computer by default.”

02-set_default_save_location_to_computer

Despite what the dialog says (in the screenshot above, “Word Options”), this setting persists across all Office 2013 apps. So, if you change this setting in Word 2013, it will also change the setting for Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, etc.

For reference, the location in the registry is:
Path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\General
Name: PreferCloudSaveLocations
Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0

office_2013_prefercloudsavelocations_registry

If you need to set this option on multiple computers, that’s where Group Policy comes in. This setting can actually be configured as a policy (even though Microsoft didn’t include it in the Office 2013 ADMX templates) that forces the setting or as a preference so that the user can change the setting back if they want.

Setting as a Preference (User Configurable)

To start, you’ll need a Group Policy Object that applies to users. Edit the GPO and go to User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry. Right click on Registry and choose New > Registry Item.

04-office_2013_save_location

In the New Registry Properties window, set the following in the General Tab:

Action: Update
Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\General
Value name: PreferCloudSaveLocations
Value type: REG_DWORD
Value data: 00000000
Base: Hexadecimal

05-office_2013_save_locationOn the Common tab, check the “Apply once and do not reapply option.” Setting this option will apply the Registry setting one time, but allow the user to change the setting later.

06-office_2013_save_location

Setting as a Policy (Not User Configurable)

Like in the previous example, you’ll need a Group Policy Object that applies to users. Edit the GPO and go to User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry. Right click on Registry and choose New > Registry Item.

04-office_2013_save_location

In the New Registry Properties window, set the following in the General Tab:

Action: Update
Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Key Path: Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\General
Value name: PreferCloudSaveLocations
Value type: REG_DWORD
Value data: 00000000
Base: Hexadecimal

07-office_2013_save_locationWhen configuring this setting as a Policy, note that the option will not be disabled or grayed out in the Office 2013 applications. The “Save to Computer by default” option will be visible and checked. If the user unchecks the checkbox, the setting will not be changed since it it configured in HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwarePolicies.

Kyle Beckman

Kyle Beckman

Kyle is a Systems Administrator with 15+ years of experience. He currently works in Higher Education supporting everything from smartphones to desktop PC's to Hyper-V Failover Clusters. (If it has a IP address, he probably supports it!) He has also worked in Small Business IT consulting supporting a wide variety of businesses and non-profit organizations.

Kyle is also the Vice President of the Atlanta Windows Infrastructure and Virtualization User Group (WINVUG).You can find additional articles he's written on 4sysops.com.
Kyle Beckman

11 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Thanks for this tip. The additional step that I want to set via Group Policy is to change the default file location to a mapped drive on the network. Can you advise how this can be achieved?

    1. That option isn’t available in the Office 2013 Administrative Templates. Checking in the Registry, it looks like you can set it in HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office15.0\< %nameofapplication%>\Options. Create an Expandable String Value named DefaultPath. Just replace < %nameofapplication%> with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, etc.

      1. @Kyle Beckman
        It looks to me that the key name should be “DOC-PATH” instead of “DefaultPath”.

        1. actually it seems different for each application. What a mess.
          Word uses “DOC-PATH”
          Excel uses “DefaultPath”
          Powerpoint uses “Default” in the sibling folder “RecentFolderList”

  2. Is there a way to do the opposite, i.e. set the default path for cloud saving?
    For example, if I have a sharepoint teamsite which is accessible through search / link, but is not in the “sites and workspaces” list where the “all site content” lies.
    The default path I see when opening clicking the “Browse” button is the all-content.
    Can this path be changed to my teamsite?

    1. Is this a setting you can change in the UI? If so, doing the same in Group Policy would be fairly trivial.

  3. Can you set the default ‘Save as type:’ to PDF. if so, how? if not, why not?

    1. Those are typically Registry settings. If you can identify the setting, pushing it out in Group Policy Preferences is trivial. Why would you not? Because every saved file will be a PDF that can’t be edited in Office files. Unless you’ve got purpose-configured kiosks for generating PDF’s, I have no idea why you would ever want to do that.

  4. Thanks! I’ve been looking for this all day! Now if only there was a registry setting to hide OneDrive Business for Office 2016 without breaking being able to actually sign into the applications.

  5. Helpfu

  6. How can I change the Words,Excel and Access’s file default save location in Registry into Google Drive?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© trekker.net