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Add shortcuts to your own locations in the Save, Open, Attach File and Insert Picture dialogs

When using the Save, Open, Attach File and Insert Picture dialogs in Outlook (and other Office applications), I usually need to browse quite a bit to actually get to the location where I want to be.

Would it be possible to add shortcuts to my own locations in these dialogs?

Favorite locations in the Places Bar under the Outlook application icon.This is possible, but exactly how to do this depends a bit on your version of Outlook and Windows and, to make it even more confusing, the combination of the two matter as well.

There is a Favorites section provided by Windows that you can use and older versions of Office have a Places Bar which you can customize. Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 have a “hidden” Places Bar as well which you can only customize via the Registry or by using Group Policies.

Favorites section in browser dialog of Windows

When using Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013 on Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, the browser dialog is provided by Windows instead of Office.

To add your own folders to the Favorites list on the left, browse to the folder in the right pane and drag and drop it into the Favorites list.

Another way to go (except on Windows Vista) would be to open the folder and then right click on the Favorites icon and choose: Add current location to Favorites.

When the dialog comes up, and you don’t see any locations on the left side, press the “Browse Folders” expansion button in the left bottom corner.

Make sure you drop it exactly between the icons to add the folder as a link. (click on image to enlarge)
Make sure you drop it exactly between the icons to add the folder as a link. (click on image to enlarge)

Note: In newer versions of Windows, you might not have the “Recent Items” or “Recent Places” in your default list of Favorites. To add this folder, browse to:
C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows and drag & drop the Recent Items folder into your Favorites section.

Office specific locations in browser dialog of Windows

When you are using Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013 on Windows 7 or Windows 8, then you might have noticed that all the way at the top of the browser dialog, there is an Outlook icon showing as well.

Although this icon is actually intended for administrators to add (corporate) locations via Group Policies, you can also add them manually via the Registry.

These locations will then be available in all Office applications directly under their application icon. This allows you to add Office specific “favorite locations” which might not directly make sense in the Favorites section of Windows.

For instance, you may have a Favorite in Windows pointing to your OneDrive or Dropbox folder but in Office it might make more sense to have a direct link to the Documents folder within your OneDrive or Dropbox folder to save yourself an additional click.

Other examples which might apply to you as well are:

  • Your Templates folder.
  • Your pst-files folder.
  • A link to a folder where you often save attachments to.
  • A link to a folder on a network share like a team folder or a project folder.
  • A link to a folder containing personal ClipArt images.

Favorite locations for Office show up directly under the application icon. (click on image to enlarge)
Favorite locations for Office show up directly under the application icon. (click on image to enlarge)

Adding them via the Registry can be a bit of a chore though and some Registry Editor knowledge is required before you want to attempt this.

  1. Browse to or create the following path in your Registry:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\office\<version>\common\open find\adminaddedplaces
    Note the space between “open” and “find”.
  2. Add a new Registry Key (Edit-> New-> Key) called: place0
  3. Add a new String Value (Edit-> New-> String Value) called: name
  4. Add a new String Value (Edit-> New-> String Value) called: path
  5. Double click on the “name” entry you just created and in the “Value data” field, type the display name (this doesn’t have to be the same as the folder name) for your shortcut and press OK.
    Examples:
    • Templates
    • PST-Files
    • My Projects
  6. Double click on the “path” entry you just created and in the “Value data” field, type the location for your shortcut and press OK. These paths can also contain environment variables like %username%, %appdata% and %homepath%.
    Examples:
    • %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates
    • D:\Robert\Documents\Outlook Files
    • \\servername\sharename\projects
  7. Repeat step 2 to 6 to add any additional locations but increase the “place” number. e.g.: place1, place2, place3, etc…
  8. The locations should be visible directly in all your Office applications. If not, restart the Office application and try again. You may also need to click on the icon or expand the list first in order to see them.

Adding custom places via the Registry. (click on image to enlarge)
Adding custom places via the Registry. (click on image to enlarge)

Note: Unfortunately, the Recent Items folder and some other special folders can’t be added to this list.

Group Policy location:
To set it as a Group Policy, you can find the setting in the following location within the Group Policy editor:

User Configuration-> Administrative Templates-> Microsoft Office 2010/2013-> File Open/Save dialog box-> Places Bar Locations

My Places Bar in the browser dialog of Office

The browser dialog from Office holds a My Places bar on the left side of the dialog. You’re likely to see this dialog when using Outlook 2003 or previous or when using a later version of Outlook on a Windows XP computer.

To add your custom folder locations to it, browse to the folder in the right pane and select it (but do not open it). Then click on the Tools button in the top right corner of the dialog and select: Add to My Places.

To remove the location again or change the location order, right click on the location within the Places bar.

Extra tip: To be able to see more locations without scrolling, right click within the My Places bar and choose: Small Icons.

Adding a custom location to the Places Bar in Office 2003 on Windows XP. (click on image to enlarge) 
Adding a custom location to the Places Bar in Office 2003 on Windows XP. (click on image to enlarge)

Note: Not all Open and Save dialogs may have the Tools button and adding a location to one dialog will not affect all dialogs.