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Chapter 3. Office File Management for Ex... > Choosing a Default Storage Location

Choosing a Default Storage Location

Two Office versions ago, Microsoft introduced the My Documents folder. The idea was simple: to create a default location for personal data files, making it easier for users to find and back up files they create. In practice, however, the first implementations of this idea were poorly thought out, and most expert Office users simply ignored the My Documents icon on the desktop—or quickly figured out how to delete it. Since its first appearance in 1995, the My Documents folder has evolved into a standard feature of Windows; if you deleted the Office version, you may have been startled to see it reappear when you upgraded Windows. Beginning with Windows 98, in fact, and continuing with Windows 2000, the My Documents folder has become an integral part of Windows, and that icon on the Windows desktop is much more useful.

Office 2000 makes extensive use of the My Documents folder. Advanced users may cringe at the name, but this system folder is the default starting point for common Open and Save As dialog boxes in Office applications. It's also hard-wired to an icon on the Places Bar in those dialog boxes. If you're willing to reorganize the way you store data files to take advantage of this location, you can substantially increase the odds that you'll find files you're looking for when you need them. You can also change the default location that individual Office programs use for data files; it's slightly more difficult, but still possible, to redefine the location of the My Documents folder. (Oh, and if the name bugs you, just change it.)


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