The Places Bar in Office 2003 is a bar on the left side of the Open and Save As dialog boxes that provides quick access to folders and drives.

Places Bar on the Save As dialog box

You can customize the Places Bar by adding your own folders and drives to the list. For this example, we will add a folder to the list. To do this, open the Save As dialog box or the Open dialog box. Navigate to the folder you want to add to the Places Bar.

Selecting the desired folder or drive

When you are in the desired folder, select Add to “My Places” from the Tools menu in the upper, right corner on the dialog box.

Selecting Add to

The folder is added to the bottom of the Places Bar. If the list is longer than the Places Bar, scroll arrows display at the bottom and top as needed to allow you to scroll through the list.

Scroll arrow on the Places Bar

After scrolling down, you will see the folder you added at the bottom of the Places Bar.

Folder added to Places Bar

You can move the folder to a different location in the list. To do this, right-click on the folder and select Move Up from the popup menu. You can also move folders or drives down by selecting Move Down.

Moving a folder up on the Places Bar

We have moved the folder up to the second position on the Places Bar.

Folder moved to second position

You can remove a folder or drive from the Places Bar by right-clicking on it and selecting Remove from the popup menu. You can also rename a folder or drive using the Rename option on the popup menu.

Removing a folder from the Places Bar

If you want to see all the items on the Places Bar without having to scroll, right-click on any item and select Small Icons from the popup menu.

Switching to small icons

The following image shows the Places Bar in the Small Icons view.

Small icons on the Places Bar

You can export the registry keys for the custom places you added to the Places Bar and restore them quickly. This saves adding all your custom locations again if you need to reinstall Office. To access the Registry Editor, select Run from the Start menu.

Selecting Run from the Start menu

On the Run dialog box, enter “regedit” (without the quotes) in the Open edit box and click OK.

Entering

Navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Office \ 11.0 \ Common \ Open Find \ Places \ UserDefinedPlaces

The key for the folder added to the Places Bar

Right-click on the UserDefinedPlaces key and select Export from the popup menu.

Exporting the key

Select a location in which to save your registry file, enter a name for the file in the File name edit box, and click Save.

Naming and saving the exported key

To close the Registry Editor, select Exit from the File menu.

Closing the registry editor

Now you can open and save your Word 2003 documents more quickly using the customized Places Bar. You can also add removable hard drives, USB devices, floppy drives, network drives, etc. to the Places Bar.

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