Tip: Retrieving Folder Paths from the Registry

I wrote the following set of functions to retrieve standard folder locations from the Windows Registry, without having to cut and paste the complex syntax into every procedure where I need to use the Windows | Office | Templates or Documents folder as part of a file path. Each folder path is returned as a string terminated with a backslash.

To use these routines, copy the code into any application where you need to use these paths, and call the function as follows:

Dim strSpecFolder As String

strSpecFolder = GetDir

Debug.Print strSpecFolder

Here’s the standard routine, which works by using Word’s System property:

Option Compare Database

Option Explicit

Global objWord As Object

Public Function GetDir() As String

On Error GoTo WinDirError

Set objWord = CreateObject("Word.application")

GetDir = _

objWord.System.PrivateProfileString("", _


"Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup","WinDir") & "\"



Exit Function


MsgBox "Error No: " & Err.Number & _

"; Description: " & Err.Description

Resume WinDirExit

End Function

The key lies in the second and third parameters passed to the PrivateProfileString method. The parameters used in the preceding routine returns the Windows directory. Table 1 lists the parameters for some other interesting directories.

Table 1. Keys for retrieving directory names from the Windows Registry.

Directory Second parameter Third parameter
Office HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\8.0 BinDirPath
Documents HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders Personal
Templates HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Common\FileNew\LocalTemplates


About Helen Feddema

Helen is the editor of Access Watch, a more or less biweekly ezine. She lives in the mid-Hudson area of New York state, with two cats and three computers.
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