Favorites Shortcuts Create Integrated File Accessibility

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Favorites Shortcuts Create Integrated File Accessibility

This content is no longer actively maintained. It is provided as is, for anyone who may still be using these technologies, with no warranties or claims of accuracy with regard to the most recent product version or service release. by Tracy L. Aardsma

One of the beliefs we hold is that technology should make your life easier. (Well, we hope so anyway.) But one frustrating thing we've found is that normal users of software either ignore or don't know how to use many time-saving features built into the programs they use. One of these features is the Favorites folder. If you haven't already discovered, you can create shortcuts to documents and folders you access frequently using the Favorites folder. The Favorites folder is a powerful tool because it's accessible from other Microsoft Office applications. In this article, we'll tell you how the Favorites folder works. Then we'll show you how to add a file or folder shortcut to the Favorites folder, as well as how to access it in the future.

What's the point?

The Favorites folder is installed with the Windows operating system and is typically located on your hard drive in the Windows directory. The Favorites folder is primarily designed to store shortcuts to frequently accessed Web pages, which can be created, saved, modified, and opened using Internet Explorer.

However, the Favorites folder isn't limited to storing Web page shortcuts. It can store anything that other Windows folders can store, including files, folders, and document shortcuts. Many Windows applications, including Microsoft Office applications, integrate the Favorites folder as a part of their user interface. The Favorites menu is especially handy for accessing files stored on a network since you don't need to remember the file's location to open it. Just click on the filename in the Favorites folder and Windows opens the file the shortcut points to.

Creating the shortcut

Let's see how easy it is to create a shortcut and how beneficial it is to use. To begin, select File/Open from Word's menu bar or click the Open button on the Standard toolbar. In the Open dialog box, navigate to and select the file or folder to which you want to create a shortcut. Click the Add To Favorites button, and then select Add Selected Item To Favorites from the resulting pop-up menu, as shown in Figure A. Or, you can add a shortcut to the current folder to the Favorites folder by selecting Add 'Current Folder' To Favorites. The current folder is the directory that's selected in the Look In dropdown list. When you've finished, click Cancel to close the Open dialog box.

Figure A: You can add a file or folder shortcut to the Favorites menu for easy access.

Accessing the shortcut

You can access your Favorites shortcuts in two ways. If you'd like to open the source file in Word, use the Open dialog box method. If you'd like to open the source file in its host application, use the Web toolbar method.

The Open dialog box method

To access a Favorites shortcut from the Open dialog box, select File/Open from the menu bar or click the Open button on the Standard toolbar. In the Open dialog box, click the Look In Favorites button. When you do, the contents of the Favorites folder are displayed in the Open dialog box. Locate and select the file you'd like to open, then click Open. Or, simply double-click on the file and Word opens it.

If the file was created in an application other than Word, Word converts the file and opens it as a Word document. If you plan to modify and save changes to the file, keep in mind that the conversion process may result in the loss of some formatting.

The Web toolbar method

To access a Favorites shortcut using Word's Web toolbar, first select View/Toolbars/Web from the menu bar to display it. As an alternative, simply click the Web Toolbar button on the Standard toolbar. Click the Favorites button, then locate and select the file you'd like to open from the resulting dropdown menu, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B: You can quickly access Favorites shortcuts from Word's Web toolbar.

Note: If you've added a folder shortcut to the Favorites folder, it won't appear in the Favorites menu on the Web toolbar. To access a folder shortcut, select Open Favorites from the Favorites menu. Then locate and double-click on the folder shortcut in the Favorites dialog box.

When you open a shortcut stored in the Favorites folder from the Favorites menu, Windows opens it in its source application, regardless of the application you're currently working in. For example, if you need to access a Word document you've added to the Favorites menu but you're currently working in Excel, you can open it from Excel's Favorites menu. When you do, Windows opens the document in Word—not Excel—for easy reading and editing. If you really want to get creative, you can customize any menu or toolbar to include a dropdown Favorites menu that lists all your Favorites shortcuts for convenient access.


You can create and open Favorites shortcuts using the procedures in this article with most Microsoft Office applications, as well as certain other Windows applications. Keep in mind that when you edit and save a file you've opened using a Favorites shortcut, the changes are saved to the source file, not the shortcut. In layman's terms, a shortcut simply tells Windows which file to open. Windows then finds the file and opens it in its source application, just as if you had opened it yourself using Windows Explorer or Word's Open dialog box.

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