In Office 2016, when you go to open or save a file, you will see a page with a Browse button as part of this view:

MS Word Open File Browse Button

I've edited this image slightly for simplicity, but the view is similar whether you choose Open, Save, or Save As, and it is also similar for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc, where the only real variance is the color depending on which program you're using.

It seems like this browse button opens the traditional Windows file browser dialog, set to start in your home folder by default.

I'm setting up an Office installation for a company, where I want to change this location to instead point to a known network share. There is a mapped drive for this location, but I actually want to use a nested folder within this network drive.

Further, I would like this change to apply to all the users on a system. This is one part of a project that will eventually produce a new stock system reference image for PCs at this company (using Windows 10x64 1803 as the base). If Group Policy is a better way to control this we can use that, too, but for complicated reasons I'd prefer to set this in our reference image. The important idea is that no matter which user (in an Active Directory domain) ends up logging into a computer, they will get the correct location when they first use the Browse button.

How can I set the default initial folder for that Browse button?

Bonus Question: The This PC section from the included image shows a more modern view just to the right of the pictured view. How can I pin my network location into that space? Again, Group Policy is an option if necessary.

  • Download the Office 2016 Administrative templates for Group Policy. Unfortunately each app (Word, Excel etc.) has its own settings but you should be able to configure it as you desire using this :) – Kinnectus Jun 1 at 17:01
  • One reason (among several) I'd prefer to avoid Group Policy is it tends to LOCK the setting. I'd like to leave this setting open for an individual user to change, or for this setting to naturally adapt to the most recent folder as it seems to do now, and instead just provide a more sensible default/initial value. I will use GP if I have to, but I'm hopeful we can find a different option. – Joel Coehoorn Jun 1 at 17:07
  • Also... if you know which exact GP object to set, post it as an answer and I will at minimum upvote it, and if no one else answers I will accept it, too. – Joel Coehoorn Jun 1 at 19:50

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