How to Clear Recently Used File List in Word

You may have noticed that in Word, Excel and all other Office programs, there is a list of recently used or opened documents at the bottom of the File menu option. It’s kind of like the My Recent Documents features on the Windows Start Menu.

However, if you want to remove the recently used file list so that it does not show up at all, you can set an option to show zero recent documents.

First I’ll explain how to do this in Word 2007 as that is the most common application where people want to remove the recently opened list.

recently used file list

Step 1: Click on the Office button at the top left of Word and click on Word Options.

word options

Step 2: Click on Advanced in the left hand column and then scroll down to the Display section.

word display options

For “Show this number of Recent Documents“, change the value to 0 to completely remove the recent documents list from the menu.

If you have Office 2003 or XP, the method to remove recent documents is slightly different. Basically, whichever Office program you are using, you need to go into the Options panel and there will be an option of how many items you want in the list.

For example, in Microsoft Project, go to Tools and then Options.

tools options office

For Project, the option is on the General tab. You can either adjust the number of documents on the recently used file list or uncheck it to remove it altogether.

recently used file list word

That’s it! Now you won’t see any recently opened files in your Office programs. Note that if you want to remove SINGLE items from the recently used file list, you can do so by going into the registry.

Browse to the following registry key and delete the items you want to remove manually:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\File MRU


Delete the entries and then restart Word. Now this was for Word 2007, however, you can go to 11.0 for Word 2003, 10.0 for Word XP, etc depending on which version you have installed. Also, instead of going to Word, you can go to Excel, Powerpoint and do the same thing there. In this way, you can still keep your recent documents list, but remove only the entries you don’t want. Enjoy!

Comments [3]

  1. thanks, i have solved my problem by your guidance

  2. Question
    Windows Vista, Word 2007: I hope you can answer my question. I am trying to delete some old file names in Word. I have already deleted the names from the MRU list activated by clicking the Office icon. But I cannot delete the names in the drop-down box when Word is open. I’ve been told the list of about 17 file names is nothing more than an autofill of those names, but that’s exactly what I must get rid of. Help!

  3. I want to remove one or two files not all of them :(

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