Use Environment Variables in Office System Policies

December 16, 1999

In Microsoft Office 2000, you can use environment variables in many Office system policies to personalize default file locations and paths for individual users. The following Office 2000 applications include system policies that accept environment variables:

  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint®
  • Microsoft Word
  • Shared Office

Previous versions of Office did not recognize the Windows registry data type REG_EXPAND_SZ, which is used to store environment variables. This limitation prevented administrators from including environment variables in Office system policies. (By contrast, the Microsoft Windows® operating system has supported environment variables in system policies for some time.)

Because Office 2000 recognizes the REG_EXPAND_SZ data type, however, you can now use environment variables when you set system policies for your organization.

Environment variables – both default system variables and custom variables that you set yourself – allow you to tailor a system policy more precisely to each user’s computer. An environment variable in an Office 2000 system policy might specify a default path name or file location that includes a user name or user profile location.

For example, the Microsoft Word\Tools | Options\File Locations\AutoRecover system policy allows you to specify a default location for files saved by the AutoRecover feature in Word 2000. To store these automatically recovered files in individual user profile folders, type the following environment variable in place of a path:


On a computer running the Microsoft Windows NT® or Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system, this environment variable expands to the full path name to a user’s profile folder, including the drive letter. For instance, %USERPROFILE% might expand to:


 Note    Under Windows 95/98, you must create and set environment variables manually. You can automate this process by running a logon script for each user.

Related links

For a list of Office 2000 systems policies that accept environment variables, see Office 2000 System Policies That Accept Environment Variables in the Office 2000 Resource Kit.

For another example of using environment variables in Office 2000 system policies, see Using Environment Variables in System Policies in the Office 2000 Resource Kit.

Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003