Customize the list of recently used files

By default, Word saves all files to your Documents folder. To more easily find and open recent documents, Word displays the last few documents you opened in a list so that you can quickly access them. This feature is turned on by default, but you can turn it off, turn it back on, clear, or adjust the number of files that it displays. If this feature was turned off and you subsequently turn it back on, only the files that you open and save after you turn it on are listed. If you close a file, and then move it to another location, such as by using Finder, the link to that file in Word no longer works. You must use the Open dialog box to browse to the file to open it. After you save the file in its new location, that link is added to the recently opened documents list.

Do any of the following:

Open a recent document

  • On the File menu, point to Open Recent, and then select the document that you want.

    If Open Recent isn't on the File menu

    1. On the Word menu, click Preferences, and then under Authoring and Proofing Tools, click General  General Preferences button .

    2. Under Settings, select the Track recently opened documents check box.

    3. In the Display box, type the number of recent documents to display in the Open Recent list.

      Note: Setting the number of recent files to zero clears the list of recently opened files and turns the feature off. To turn the feature back on, set the number to something other than zero. Update the list by opening the files again.

Change the number of files that appear in the list of recently used files

  1. On the Word menu, click Preferences, and then under Authoring and Proofing Tools, click General  General Preferences button .

  2. Under Settings, select Track recently opened documents.

  3. In the Display box, type the number of recent documents to display in the Open Recent list.

    Note: Setting the number of recent files to zero clears the list of recently opened files and turns the feature off. To turn the feature back on, set the number to something other than zero. Update the list by opening the files again.

Clear the list of recently used files

  • On the File menu, point to Open Recent, and then click Clear Recent.

See also

Start with a template to create a new document

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