Delete a file

Deleting a file removes it from the location where it is stored. If the storage location is your hard disk, the file is moved to the Recycle Bin. If the storage location is a disk, CD, or network location, the file is destroyed.

You cannot delete a file while someone has it open in any program. The file must be closed, and if it is a shared file, it must be checked in.

Note: For more information about deleting and restoring files and folders, see the Microsoft Windows Help and Support Center, which you can access by clicking Help and Support on the Start menu. For information about the Recycle Bin, you can see View, restore, or delete items in the Recycle Bin.

In Office 2013 and 2016, you can't delete files from within Office applications. However, you can remove them from your working list (the files are still listed in File Explorer). To delete your files, go to Delete a file by using File Explorer.

Remove a file from your list while in an Office program

  1. Click File > Open.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

  3. Right-click the file, and then click Remove from list on the shortcut menu.

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Delete a file by using File Explorer

  1. Open a File Explorer window.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

  3. Right-click the file, and click Delete on the Home tab or press your Delete key.

Note: You can also select more than one file to be deleted at the same time. Read on for instructions.

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Delete several files at one time

There are two ways to select and delete multiple files.

Delete a short list of files

  1. Locate the files you want to delete.

  2. Select the first file, and then press CTRL.

  3. Select each file to delete, and then right-click to select Delete on the shortcut menu.

Delete long a list of files

  1. Locate the files you want to delete.

  2. Select the first file, and then press SHIFT.

  3. While holding SHIFT, scroll to the last file to delete.

  4. Select the last file.

  5. Right-click to select Delete on the shorcut menu.

    Note: If there are files you don't want to delete, release SHIFT, then press CTRL, and click the files that you want to keep. Click Delete on the shortcut menu.

In Office 2010, you can delete files from within Office applications or by using Windows Explorer.

Delete a file while in an Office program

  1. Click File > Open.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

  3. Right-click the file, and then click Delete on the shortcut menu.

    Note: You can also select more than one file to be deleted at the same time. Read on for instructions.

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Delete several files at one time

There are two ways to select and delete multiple files.

Delete a short list of files

  1. Locate the files you want to delete.

  2. Select the first file, and then press CTRL.

  3. Select each file to delete, and then right-click to select Delete on the shortcut menu.

Delete long a list of files

  1. Locate the files you want to delete.

  2. Select the first file, and then press SHIFT.

  3. While holding SHIFT, scroll to the last file to delete.

  4. Select the last file.

  5. Right-click to select Delete on the shorcut menu.

    Note: If there are files you don't want to delete, release SHIFT, then press CTRL, and click the files that you want to keep. Click Delete on the shortcut menu.

Delete a file by using Windows Explorer

  1. Open Windows Explorer.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

  3. Right-click the file, and click Delete on the shortcut menu.

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In Office 2007, you can delete files from within Office applications or by using Windows Explorer.

Delete a file while in an Office program

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Office button image , and then click Open.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

  3. Right-click the file, and then click Delete on the shortcut menu.

    Note: You can also select more than one file to be deleted at the same time. Read on for instructions.

Top of page

Delete several files at one time

There are two ways to select and delete multiple files.

Delete a short list of files

  1. Locate the files you want to delete.

  2. Select the first file, and then press CTRL.

  3. Select each file to delete, and then right-click to select Delete on the shortcut menu.

Delete long a list of files

  1. Locate the files you want to delete.

  2. Select the first file, and then press SHIFT.

  3. While holding SHIFT, scroll to the last file to delete.

  4. Select the last file.

  5. Right-click to select Delete on the shorcut menu.

    Note: If there are files you don't want to delete, release SHIFT, then press CTRL, and click the files that you want to keep. Click Delete on the shortcut menu.

Delete a file by using Windows Explorer

  1. Open Windows Explorer.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

  3. Right-click the file, and click Delete on the shortcut menu.

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See also

Delete a page in Word

Delete files or folders in OneDrive

Office document cache settings

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