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.

11 thoughts on “Set the Default Save Location to Computer in Office 2013

  1. Tony August 20, 2013 / 10:35 PM

    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?

    • Kyle Beckman August 28, 2013 / 6:03 PM

      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.

      • Pascal May 7, 2014 / 11:50 AM

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

        • Pascal May 7, 2014 / 12:03 PM

          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. Uziel October 6, 2014 / 10:08 AM

    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?

    • Kyle Beckman October 7, 2014 / 10:03 PM

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

  3. jeremy October 1, 2015 / 9:12 PM

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

    • Kyle Beckman October 2, 2015 / 1:39 PM

      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. Chad July 15, 2016 / 10:19 AM

    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. Galabuzi Kelvin Lukoda March 12, 2017 / 5:19 AM

    Helpfu

  6. Asrah March 14, 2017 / 3:03 AM

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

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