Changing Where Excel Saves Files

When you attempt to use the Save or Save As command in Excel to save a newly created file, Excel will automatically assume that you want to save it to your My Documents folder on your local PC. While this is a reasonable default for most users, it can be a pain to have to constantly change folders if you want these files saved to an alternate location. Rather than drilling through folders to pick a new location to save files, why not configure Excel to go to that location automatically? It can be done, with next to no effort.

A good reason to do this is found in corporate environments. Typically, only files saved on the server are backed up. So, if your personal space on the server is designated as drive U: (for example), then it would be better to have your files saved to that location rather than your My Documents folder, which presumably is not backed up. Changing the default “save” location can also be handy in situations without a server. Let’s say that you want to save all of your Excel workbooks into a folder named “Excel” within My Documents. By making this change, Excel’s “Save” dialog box will point to the location you specify automatically.

To change the location where Excel attempts to save files, click Tools, select Options, and then click the General tab. Towards the bottom of this window you’ll find an entry marked Default File Location, which probably points to a location like C:\Documents and Settings\Dan\My Documents right now. If you want your files stored to a sub-folder of My Documents named “Excel”, simply change this to read C:\Documents and Settings\Dan\My Documents\Excel. To change it to a network drive, simply enter the drive letter in question, for example U:\. Click OK once complete, and then click File > Save As. The Save As dialog box should now be pointing to the new location you’ve specified, and will for every new file try to Save. Additionally, Excel will open to this location when you use the File > Open command.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.