How to set custom shortcuts in the Windows XP "Save As" dialog box

This tutorial will guide you in setting custom “shortcuts” in the Windows XP “Save As” dialog box. note: this also works in Windows Vista Ultimate Edition – but I’m not sure about the other versions of Vista.

custom save as window

  1. Below you’ll find a screenshot of the default “Save As” dialog box in Windows XP. Make note of the shortcuts that you actually use, so you can make sure to keep them.
  2. custom save as window
    click to enlarge

  3. Click Start and select Run. In the Run window enter gpedit.msc and click OK.
  4. custom save as window

  5. The Group Policy editor will appear.
  6. custom save as window
    click to enlarge

  7. In the left window select the + (plus sign) next to User Configuration to expand the list. Next select the plus sign next to Administrative Templates and then Windows Explorer. Finally, select the Common Open File Dialog entry.
  8. custom save as window

  9. Double-click the Items displayed in Places Bar entry in the main Group Policy window.
  10. custom save as window
    click to enlarge

  11. The Items displayed in Places Bar Properties window will open.
  12. custom save as window

  13. Select Enabled and then enter in the locations you’d like to have displayed in the Save As dialog box. You need to enter the full path to the location for the shortcuts to work. For example, if you want to have a shortcut to your My Documents folder, enter in:

    C:\Documents and Settings\Your User Name\My Documents\

    Once you’ve entered in all the locations you’d like to appear in the Save As window, click Apply and then OK.

  14. custom save as window

  15. Back in the Group Policy editor, you should see that the Items displayed in Places Bar is now Enabled. Close the Group Policy editor.
  16. custom save as window
    click to enlarge

  17. Test it out by saving a file – you should now have the new shortcuts displayed.
  18. custom save as window
    click to enlarge

  19. The same shortcuts will be used in the Open dialog box – not just the Save As box.
  20. custom save as window
    click to enlarge

  21. This will also work in Windows Vista – though I’ve only confirmed that it works in Vista Ultimate edition.
  22. custom save as window
    click to enlarge

{ 82 comments… add one }
  • Dobby July 28, 2007, 11:36 pm

    In Windows XP home there’s no gpedit.msc. But you can configure the Places Bar with Tweak UI.

    Download it on this MS-Site:

  • Ross McKillop July 29, 2007, 4:17 pm

    Dobby –

    Excellent comment/tip, thanks!

  • Colin August 3, 2007, 1:35 am

    Also, Office may not adhere to these rules, as Office is wont to do.

  • Lokesh Kalra August 4, 2007, 9:46 am

    Very nice article. It helped me quickly to set right the save as Dialog Box. I have thinking of doing it for long. Thanks so much. Keep up the Good Work.

  • Erez August 8, 2007, 9:34 am

    great information. Thanks! a clever tip in a few steps.

    I agree with Colin: what about OFFICE “save as” dialog box? can we change that too?

  • Jernej August 15, 2007, 4:48 am

    thank you for this very useful information!

  • mr dman September 7, 2007, 8:54 am

    thanks for this – very useful, didn’t know TweakUI could do it, otherwise, I would have done it years ago!

  • ben November 16, 2007, 7:40 am

    under administrative templates i only have windows media player not any of the other things that are shown in the example.

  • ben November 16, 2007, 12:54 pm

    very nice i figured it out but i need it for solidworks

  • Karthik November 27, 2007, 12:14 am

    Awsome tip…I curse myself for not stumbling upon this at all or why it never crossed my mind that these default things can be changed..Thanks a ton.

  • Keith Scott November 27, 2007, 8:02 am

    Thanx 4 the tip. Used it straight away.

  • Joao Henriques November 30, 2007, 6:33 am

    for office places check

    or google office places

  • Ed Donlon December 10, 2007, 1:34 pm

    Ben, Did you ever get it figured out for Solidworks? Thx.

  • Jessica March 18, 2008, 4:10 am

    I can’t thank you enough!

  • Olivian BREDA May 5, 2008, 4:50 am

    Thank you for the wonderful tip. It works great. ;)

  • Jen May 9, 2008, 6:03 pm

    great work. Thanks you so much!!
    keep up with other good post~

  • El-Sabaa May 29, 2008, 1:41 pm

    SUPER solution… SIMPLE, Straight to the point and WORKS 100%.

  • Tech Man June 14, 2008, 10:19 am

    Thanks this is great. Excellent work.

  • Atze July 21, 2008, 3:35 am

    In some (?) applications in Windows Vista the open and save as dialogs shows a bar with shortcuts who are defined in: C:\Users\\Links\

  • Atze July 21, 2008, 3:39 am

    In some (?) applications in Windows Vista the open and save as dialogs shows a bar with shortcuts who are defined in: C:\Users\[username]\Links\

  • duffer July 31, 2008, 12:24 am

    it works man
    thanks alot

  • Sean Riddolls August 26, 2008, 4:28 am

    I’ve been wanting to customize this for years! If only I had known it was this easy! Thanks for the tip. Much appreciated.

  • Dexter September 21, 2008, 3:12 pm

    OHH finally!. Not only was this VERY useful for me to configure the locations, but to reenable it, because for some reason it was gone and I had NO locations at all.

    Eternal thanks for this!

  • Firenzi September 25, 2008, 3:45 am

    BTW there’s also a way to add some places to that bar if you use Office 2003 (at least it helped me): click “Service” button near to upper right corner of dialog and then select “Add to places bar” element. A shortcut to folder, which is opened at this moment, will appear in Places bar.

    P.S.: Not sure about actual buttons names ‘coz I use localized cyrillic version of Office. Advice right names if it’ll be helpful, please.

  • Will October 3, 2008, 10:32 am

    Actually, in Vista, all you have to do is drag and drop a directory onto the favorite links bar.

  • pat October 13, 2008, 7:49 am

    very nice, thanks!

  • Jacob December 14, 2008, 5:28 pm

    Actuall, Will, that only works for Explorer dialogs, eg when browsing your folders. Try ‘right click, save as …’ an image from this page, and you get those stupid stock standard folders on the left, which I just couldn’t change…. UNTIL NOW!

    THANK YOU for this post – it does exactly what I want. I can FINALLY get to where I need much more quickly, especially in Photoshop!! It’s always frustrated me why we couldn’t just click and drag our favourite folders for Save As dialog boxes, just like Explorer. I still can’t figure out why it needs to be this convoluted just to do what this post explains. Go figure – it is Microsoft, after all!

  • sueli December 18, 2008, 4:57 pm

    nao estou conseguindo achar a minha caixa de entrada de emails do windows live messeger e agora, ja fiz de tudo e nada

  • llub3r December 31, 2008, 7:02 pm

    Thank you! This is a great help!


  • dan January 12, 2009, 9:55 am

    having a problem. under Windows Components all i have is
    Windows Media Player
    Windows Update

    can someone help?

  • greg dent February 25, 2009, 4:34 am

    There’s a much easier way…

    In the ‘Save As’ dialog, go to the Tools menu and select “Add to My Places”

    Why you would want to use regedit or gpedit for this I dont know.

  • Jacob February 25, 2009, 2:46 pm


    Just curious – what OS are you using, as there certainly isn’t a Tools menu in the Save As dialog box that I’m aware of. Perhaps a link to a screenshot would help :)

  • Colossi February 28, 2009, 11:04 am

    Awesome, real timesaver.

  • thankyou April 1, 2009, 9:20 pm

    THANK YOU :)

  • Lexie April 4, 2009, 5:23 am

    Brilliant tip. What else in Win XP or Vista is customizable to make it user friendlier? Any chance with keyboard shortcut assignments?

  • Dex April 14, 2009, 10:10 am

    I can confirm that this works on Windows 7 Beta build 7077 :)

  • toquedelimon April 26, 2009, 9:49 pm

    Increíble!! No puedes imaginarte cuanto te lo agradezco. Saludos!!

  • Andy May 2, 2009, 8:06 am

    In Vista you don’t need to do it that way.
    Just put links to the desired places into your “links” folder inside your userfolder, done.

  • Flip May 9, 2009, 12:29 am

    Even easier in Vista: drag and drop your favorite folders in the links part of your save/open dialog boxes. You can even change the order of your favorites by drag and drop and delete the unwanted ones.

  • Adam May 13, 2009, 1:51 am

    One quick Question. This was great to set up all my own dialogues, but how do i get the default “My Computer” back in the list?

    I can’t find a path to My computer as it is above the drives….

  • Gavin May 14, 2009, 12:59 am

    In Visa Business – located in:

    User Configuration\Windows Components\Windows Explorer\Common open file dialogue

  • Gavin May 14, 2009, 1:01 am

    And Adam, to put My Computer in the list, just type My Computer as the path. It will work.

  • Gyurci May 24, 2009, 11:07 pm

    AuxTools Places Bar do this with 2 click.

  • jook June 10, 2009, 11:40 pm

    This procedure is not necessary in Windows Vista because you can drag and drop to the shortcuts list

  • carlos June 18, 2009, 8:30 am

    se me borro una shortcute , pero no me aparece de donde se saco esta ruta que debo hacer

  • Hes July 26, 2009, 6:28 am

    When I want save as a file in the the desktop (or any drive), I can not see shortcuts (which I constructed formerly) in the diolog box. How can I solve this problem?

  • rahmatmoelyana August 2, 2009, 5:22 pm

    thx, this is really a good tips,

    but pls help me, because in my gpedit there isnt any windows explorer in the administrative list->windows component (point 4), there are only search & windows media player..

    how come?

  • Thiago Menezes August 15, 2009, 9:15 am

    Perfect! I was looking for it for so long, now finally found it. Thanks.

  • venkatachalam September 2, 2009, 1:06 am

    Very useful and well explained with illustrations.

    It really saves time and effort to storing our regularly used folder shortcuts in Save As dialog box.

  • Mike September 13, 2009, 8:20 pm

    For those of you who don’t have the Windows Explorer folder in the User Configuration/Windows Components folder:

    Right-click on Administrative Templates folder in left pane of Group Policy
    dialog box
    Choose add/remove templates
    Click Add button
    Double -click on system.adn (in WINDOWS/inf folder)
    Close the dialog box

    Now you’ll find the Windows Explorer folder in the left pane.

  • Ben September 15, 2009, 9:43 pm

    Mike, I followed your instructions and Windows Explorer still doesn’t appear in gpedit.msc.

  • Ben September 15, 2009, 9:48 pm

    Forget my last message Mike, that item is there afterall.

    As for the instructions… all great and handy well done. I just wish you didn’t put “click Apply and then click OK” in the procedure. The point of the Apply button was never to add an additional step to Windows – the point was to view the implications of the setting change without immediately closing the dialog box.

  • steveg November 13, 2009, 9:50 am

    A *MUCH* simpler way is to install the ‘PowerToy for Windows XP’ TweakUI, then go to the ‘Common Dialog’ selection, then the ‘Places Bar’, then add the directories you wish to see when you have an ‘Open’ or ‘Save’ dialog box.

  • Jul January 7, 2010, 7:29 pm

    Very useful!
    Is there any pad or folder to show “my PC”?
    thanks a lot!

  • shon January 25, 2010, 10:26 am

    Many thanks!!

  • Harry January 30, 2010, 2:20 pm

    steveg, you ROCK! Thanks for helping me fix a most annoying problem I have had so easily! What really annoyed me was that while saving a SERIES of files to the SAME location, each time, the path reverted to the default location! I mean it did not even remember settings Took me less than 30 seconds to set it up using TweakUI

  • Adam June 14, 2010, 6:33 pm

    Man I need this like I need air for breathing, 1000000000 thanks, your the bomb, not enough good words for this invaluable tool. I’m a software designer and this save as business was driving me crazy, specially the last while, so I placed a few shortcuts on the root of my drive C and I was accessing my shortcuts through there.

    But this… hell this is going to make development so much more efficient…


  • Harry June 14, 2010, 6:46 pm

    Well, TweakUI worked temporarily, but now, it doesn’t. :( I am going to go with your way of doing it.

  • BJB July 15, 2010, 8:50 am

    Great job!
    But I do have a tricky question, did anyone checked if it works with MS Office?? It works fine with everything else on my computer though.
    Also there’s a trick in different languages – on my Polish system I had to put English names of the common places like “MyComputer” even though I’ve got a Polish system and not just a language pack. Also what I find interesting is that it has to by without a space…
    Once again GREAT JOB!

  • Jak July 18, 2010, 6:25 am

    In Places Bar Properties under settings, items to display I only want to add 2 items. If I leave items ie items 3, 4 and 5 blank and apply it shows blank folders with my name when I open a program and select SaveAs. Is there a way to only show the items I have populated?

  • BeeGee July 29, 2010, 9:02 am

    This article should help for the ones looking to do the same in the Office dialog boxes. I tested it in Office 2007 and it worked:

  • noone August 9, 2010, 4:55 am


  • Rajat October 26, 2010, 8:06 am

    lan te vaj fude de aa

  • Yoosh November 15, 2010, 11:21 am

    Actually on Vista you can just drag and drop from the right side window that lists the folders and files to the Favorite Links.

  • Micheal LeVine January 6, 2011, 5:37 pm

    I tried to follow the recipe given here but get stuck in gpedit.msc because under the list of Windows Components I only find Window Media Player and WIndows Update.

    Can anyone advise?

  • davey boy scatino May 7, 2011, 7:46 pm

    thank you very much, good instructions! simple solution to an age old problem!

  • chrissy August 22, 2011, 12:36 pm

    worked like a charm! thank you so much!!! (windows 7 is just slightly different but it’s intuitive)

  • Come August 6, 2012, 12:22 pm

     Try submerging your computer in water.

  • loki March 8, 2013, 11:16 am

    No such program as gpedit.msc for me

  • Qwertj August 12, 2013, 7:26 am

    great! and without registry modification!

  • Karp August 31, 2015, 7:55 am

    Works great in Windows 10. Now my save window has recent items.

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