Create & Save New Office 2013 Documents Outside SharePoint

​I don’t plan to work in SharePoint all the time or even start there every morning.  It’s a warehouse, not a starting point.  But I want to start creating all new content so that it lives in SharePoint and get out of the habit of transferring files over from local or network drives.  I’ve already added templates for Word, Powerpoint, and Excel so that I can create new ones in SharePoint.  But it wasn’t obvious how to access those templates (with their custom SharePoint document panels) on their own.

When I found someone on the Web talking about a similar goal (desktop icons to Documents folders), it clicked.  If you’ve already mapped your SharePoint OneDrive, go to Windows Explorer and open the drive.  Your new templates are in the FORMS folder.

create-shortcuts-from-forms-folder-templatesRight click on the Template.Dotx (Word) and click Create Shortcut.  It won’t let you create one but will prompt you to save to the Desktop; click OK.  Repeat for each template you want to use outside SharePoint; the other templates will each be in its own folder depending on what you called the template when you created it.

When you click on those icons on your Desktop, they’ll grab a copy of the appropriate template file and open.  It works just like a template file on your local drive: the .dotx ending tells your program to create a new document based on the template, not to overwrite the original template.  When you go to save the file, select your SharePoint folder (File > Save > Other Web Locations > Documents is what I do) and it will save there.  You don’t need to ever open Internet Explorer or SharePoint directly.

The desktop shortcuts can look a bit ugly.  You can right-click on the icon, choose properties, then the change icon button, and replace it with a nicer one.  The Microsoft Office files with the appropriate icons are in c:\program files (x86)\microsoft office on my computer.  Click on the appropriate looking file and it will display available icons that you can use.

For whatever reason, you can’t pin these shortcuts to the taskbar.  If you do, it defaults to using the local PC’s template and defeats the integration to SharePoint.  That’s another workaround to figure out.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.