How I can disable the default online save location in current versions of Word for Mac? I see that it is possible to "Set Default location" to online locations, but I don't see a way to do the same for "On My Mac" locations.

The animated .gif demonstrates that sometimes it prompts for saving online and sometimes it prompts for saving locally:

  1. Initially I click the red dot on an unsaved document with "Test Doc 1" in it
  2. It prompts to save online, so I click to "On My Mac" and save it to Downloads
  3. I repeat for a 2nd document (which was behind) having "Test Doc 2", except
  4. this time I cancel before saving, and click the save icon instead
  5. that causes a prompt to save on my mac, which I do (and then the .gif repeats)

I find this behavior confusing and because of it I have often saved things online and been unable to find files.

My main point, however, is that I want to set it so that it NEVER has the initial online save prompt. I have looked for answers and the only option seems to be to sign out of my Microsoft account. But when I do this other problems come up, such as wanting me to sign in and long opening times as it looks for a connection (I have a slow connection). I'd be happy to use Word without being connected if there's a way to do this without introducing these problems.

I have already sent a request regarding this (lack of a) feature. What I'm looking for is a work-around. I suspect those at MS are unlikely to change this situation since it benefits them.

I have Microsoft Word for Mac Version 16.37 on a Microsoft 365 subscription.

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  • My default location is where I saved the last Word file. Excel has its own default location too, same or different than Word depending where you saved your last Excel file.
    – biotech
    Jun 15, 2020 at 17:20
  • @biotech I agree that once I save a file there is no longer a problem for that particular file. My question concerns all files. To hopefully make things clearer, I added an animated .gif to demonstrate.
    – Tony M
    Jun 15, 2020 at 19:12
  • all my new files are set to be saved in the last place I saved the last file. I don't remember if I did something to set this up.
    – biotech
    Jun 16, 2020 at 8:38

1 Answer 1


If you're not using the OneDrive app, uninstall it, it will change the default save location for the other Office products to “On My Mac”. I did not find any option allowing to do otherwise (tests done on the version 16.49 of Office).

  • 1
    I'm marking this as the answer since (1) no one else has answered despite over 1k views in the last year and (2) it may well be right since it is consistent with my experience. I did have this problem on a computer where the OneDrive app was installed. Since moving to a new computer where the OneDrive app is not installed, I am no longer having this problem. Still, a better test would be by someone who follows the instructions of @deltonio2
    – Tony M
    May 26, 2021 at 14:24

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