Customize the Places Bar in Office 2000 and Office XP
The Places Bar is the gray bar along the left edge of the File-Open and File-Save dialog boxes in Microsoft Office 2000/XP. This bar has five buttons* no more and no less* each of which points to a different folder on your system. By default* these places are History* Documents* Desktop* Favorites* and Web Folders. (How many of us really use Web Folders...) It is actually possible to customize these places* although it's not documented* and it's far from easy. Here's how to do it.
Note: Details on customizing the Places Bar used in most non-Office file dialogs in Windows Me and Windows 2000 can be found in Windows Me Annoyances* the book.
Note: make sure all Microsoft Office applications are closed before you proceed. Don't open any Office applications until you're done* either - they'll screw up all your settings.
Run the Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE).
Expand the branches to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\ Microsoft\ Office\ 9.0\ Common\ Open Find\ Places (replace the 9.0 with 10.0 for Office XP).
You should see two subkeys here: StandardPlaces and UserDefinedPlaces.
First* you'll have to clear out the existing items; otherwise your custom items won't be shown. One-by-one* highlight each key under StandardPlaces (e.g. Desktop* Recent)* and select New and then DWORD Value from the Edit menu. Name the new value Show* and leave the value of 0 unchanged.
Don't worry if you want to keep one or more of the defaults; it's easier in the long run to clear them all and then recreate the five you want to keep. Also* make sure the values you add are DWORD values; otherwise* this won't work.
Next* highlight the UserDefinedPlaces key* and add five new keys. Name them Place1* Place2* Place3* Place4* and Place5.
In each of these new keys* you'll want to create the following values:
String value called Name: this contains the caption that will appear under this place (example: Desktop).
String value called Path: this contains the full folder path for the place (example: c:\windows\desktop).
DWORD value called Index: this allows you to choose how your places are sorted. Enter 0 for the first place* 1 for the second* 2 for the third* and so on. The key names typed in the previous step (Place1* Place2* etc.) do not determine the sort order.
The following optional values are also supported here:
DWORD value called View: this allows you to choose between List view (1)* Details view (2)* Summary view (3)* or Preview view (4).
DWORD value called ArrangeBy: this allows you to choose the sort order: Name (1)* Type (2)* Size (3)* or Date (4).
DWORD value called SortAscending: this allows you to choose whether the contents are sorted A-Z (1) or Z-A (0).
After you've entered all the new places* open any Office application to try it out.
This may require some trial-and-error to get it right. One of the things that makes this difficult* however* is that Office tends to indiscriminately add new keys and values* which can clutter up what you're working on. If you've done it right* however* the seemingly random keys and values that appear will have no effect on what actually appears in the dialogs.
To allow more than five places on the Places Bar* expand the registry branches to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\ Microsoft\ Office\ 9.0\ Common\ Open Find\ Places (replace the 9.0 with 10.0 for Office XP).
Select New and then DWORD Value from the Edit menu.
Name the new value ItemSize* and leave the value of 0 unchanged.
If you just want to resort the items shown without adding anything new* see Microsoft's Technical Note.
Note that some customization in Office XP can be done from within the program (and without editing the Registry)* but it's rather limited. Note that this does not apply to Office 2000. Here's how you do it:
Open any Office XP application* and then select Open from the File menu.
Right-click on any existing place icon* and select Move Up or Move Down.
To add a new place to the Places bar* navigate to the parent folder of the folder you wish to add (not the folder itself)* highlight it in the window* click Tools (in the upper right) and select Add to "My Places".
You can delete any custom places my right-clicking their icons on the bar and selecting Remove* but you won't be able to remove the standard places without editing the Registry as described above.