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How to Open or Save As a File to a SharePoint Location from Word 2016

January 18, 2017

When you’ve been working with SharePoint for a number of years, some tips and tricks become ingrained and second-nature. I was reminded of one example at a coaching session this week:
We are working with a client that is transitioning to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online from Dropbox for storing files.

Some staff wanted to understand how to point Word 2016 to a specific location in a SharePoint Online site to open or save files to from within Word 2016. Many of them were able to access the root (top/parent) site level of their SharePoint site, but could not navigate to a different site from this screen.

(Why? We follow best practices and use separate site collections instead of sub-sites for security reasons so you cannot navigate down).

In this case, “just save the file to your desktop and drag-and-drop into the SharePoint library in the browser” was not the correct answer to their question. And yes, the SharePoint Sync client is imminent, but it’s not here yet so…

Copy the correct file path to your clipboard.

The way to point Word 2016 to a SharePoint Online site is to copy the URL to the site and paste it into Word 2016’s Open > Browse menu. However, people were getting an error because they were copying the entire URL which includes an .aspx extension. Word cannot read .aspx files (i.e. Web Pages) so it gives the user an error.


To have Word 2016 understand the location you want it to point to, you need to copy part of the file path. You want to copy everything up until the forward slash after the Project Site name. You want leave out anything after that – such as the “/SitePages/Home.aspx” part in this example:


Once you have the correct path in your clipboard:

  1. Open Word 2016. Click on File then click on Open.
  2. Click on Browse.
  3. Insert your cursor in the File Path field. Delete what’s there and replace it with the URL you’ve copied to your clipboard. Press Enter on your keyboard.
  4. You will now be able to see the SharePoint site (and all the libraries within it). Find the library where you want to find the file. Double-click on the folder to open the library.
  5. You will now be able to see the list of files that live there.

These instructions also work if you were in the Save As section of Word 2016 as well.

Here’s some screenshots to show the steps above visually:





Hope that’s helpful. I’m looking forward to writing a post about the SharePoint Sync client when it’s generally available – and showing off how using the sync clinet can eliminate extra steps and save users tons of time. Stay tuned!

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Kelly Marshall

itgroove Alumni

Kelly Marshall

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