Word (Office) allows us to configure a templates location.

We can configure it in 3 ways:

  1. Personal folder set, Shared folder unset ("Personal" heading)
  2. Shared folder set, Personal folder unset ("Shared" heading)
  3. Both folders set ("Custom" heading)

Unfortunately, none of this headings are meaningful to us and we would like to have our own heading in there.

Early research tells me this isn't possible, but I though I posted anyway in hopes that someone has a nifty way of doing it :-)

enter image description here

edit: currently researching spotlight providers



As far as I know, you can't alter the built-in backstage (File tab) controls but you can add custom controls to the File tab menu. This Microsoft article "How to Add controls to the Backstage view" discusses the process. It involves using the Ribbon Designer in VSTO (Visual Studio for Office Tools).


To directly answer my own question, it is possible, in fact, it is recommended and documented by Microsoft on how to do this.

This is accomplished by creating a "Spotlight Provider", in which we create our own logic to host and locate templates for office applications, namely:

  • Word (WD)
  • Excel (XL)
  • PowerPoint (PP)
  • Visio (VO)

This is documented in

Deploy custom templates in Office 2010

(Microsoft Documentation)

Deploying Custom Microsoft Office Templates with System Center Configuration Manager

(Detailed article by Trevor Jones)

Here is an example:

1. Create an entry in the user's registry for a new spotlight provider (must be deployed to all users)

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Spotlight\Providers\Custom Provider Name]


Word will now show the custom heading!

enter image description here

2. You now have to build your custom xml file, enumerating all templates and their thubnails and previews.


    xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" lcid="1033">
    <o:application id="PP">
        <o:featuredtemplates startdate="2011-03-01" enddate="2099-03-01">
            <!--  PP TEMPLATE 1  -->
            <o:featuredtemplate title="Contoso PowerPoint Template" source="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\Contoso\Engineering\PowerPoint Templates\Contoso_PP_Template.potx">
                <o:media mediatype="png" filename="Contoso_PP_Thumb.PNG" source="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\Contoso\Engineering\PowerPoint Templates\Contoso_PP_Thumb.PNG"/>
                <o:preview filename="Contoso_PP_Preview.PNG" source="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\Contoso\Engineering\PowerPoint Templates\Contoso_PP_Preview.PNG"/>
    <o:application id="WD">
        <o:featuredtemplates startdate="2011-03-01" enddate="2099-03-01">
            <!--  WD TEMPLATE 1  -->
            <o:featuredtemplate title="Design" source="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\Contoso\Engineering\Word Templates\Design_Template.potx">
                <o:media mediatype="png" filename="Design_Thumb_2015.PNG" source="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\Engineering\Contoso\Design_Thumb.PNG"/>
                <o:preview filename="Design_Preview_2015.PNG" source="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\Engineering\Contoso\Design_Preview.PNG"/>
            <!--  WD TEMPLATE 2  -->
            <o:featuredtemplate title="Memo" source="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\Contoso\Engineering\Word Templates\Memo_Template.potx">
                <o:media mediatype="png" filename="Memo_Thumb_2015.PNG" source="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\Contoso\Engineering\Word Templates\Memo_WD_Thumb.PNG"/>
                <o:preview filename="Memo_Preview_2015.PNG" source="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\Contoso\Engineering\Word Templates\Memo_WD_Preview.PNG"/>

After setting up the demo xml in the destination file, it will look like this:

enter image description here


You can have whatever heading name you want, but you will have to implement yourself the logic of identifying, listing and previewing the templates.

Also, note that the xml is cached in the registry and it will have to be deleted in order to allow an update (it is suggested to implement a script and deploy through System Center)

HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Spotlight\Content\Custom Provider Name

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