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.

The best way to delete your files is to use the Windows File Explorer.

Delete a file by using File Explorer

  1. Open a File Explorer window. 

    Tip: A quick way to get to File Explorer is to press Windows Key Press the Windows key + E.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

  3. Select the file and press your Delete key, or click Delete on the Home tab of the ribbon.

Tip: You can also select more than one file to be deleted at the same time. Press and hold the CTRL key as you select multiple files to delete. To select a long list of files click the first file in the list, press and hold SHIFT, then click the last file in the list.

For more information see: Delete a file by using File Explorer

Remove a file from your recently used list in an Office program

If you want to keep the file, but simply remove it from your recently used files list, follow these steps:

  1. Click File > Open.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

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

For more information on customizing the recently used files list see: Customize the list of recently used files.

In Office 2010, or 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 File > Open in Office 2010 or click the Microsoft Office Button Office button image , and then click Open in Office 2007.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

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

    Tip: You can also select more than one file to be deleted at the same time. Press and hold the CTRL key as you select multiple files to delete. To select a long list of files click the first file in the list, press and hold SHIFT, then click the last file in the list.

Delete a file by using Windows Explorer

  1. Open Windows Explorer.

    Tip: A quick way to get to Windows Explorer is to press Windows Key Press the Windows key + E.

  2. Locate the file that you want to delete.

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

For more information see: Delete a file by using File Explorer

Related Topics

Delete a page in Word
Delete files or folders in OneDrive
Office document cache settings

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