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Clear recent documents in Word – a full step-by-step guide

Author: Siluvia Last Modified: 2024-06-13

When using Microsoft Word, you may frequently access various documents, which are conveniently listed in the "Recent Documents" section for quick retrieval. However, there are times when you may wish to clear these recent documents to protect your privacy or tidy up your work environment. This guide will demonstrate how to clear recent documents in Word and disable this feature if needed.


Remove a single recently used document in Word

In Word, you can easily remove a single recently used document. Here's how:

  1. Open the Microsoft Word application.
  2. On the main interface, click on the File tab to open the file menu.
  3. In the file menu, you'll see a list of recent documents. Right click the document you want to remove from the Recent list, and then select the Remove from list option from the right-clicking menu.
Note: When right-clicking, avoid selecting the Delete File option from the menu, as this will permanently delete the file from your computer.

The specified document has now been removed from recent documents list.


Clear all unpinned recently used documents in Word

Sometimes, you may want to clear all unpinned recently used documents at once to start a new work session. You can do as follows to get it done.

  1. Open the Microsoft Word application.
  2. Click on the File tab to open the file menu and then go to the Open section.
  3. All recently used documents are listed on the right of the Open section. Right click on any recent document and select Clear unpinned items from the context menu.
  4. And then click Yes in the next popping up Microsoft Word dialog box.

The system will immediately clear all unpinned recently used documents from the Recent documents list.

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Notes: Pinned documents will remain in the list and won't be removed when clearing recent documents.

Disable recently used documents in Word

In certain situations, you may wish to completely disable the recently used documents feature in Word. Here’s how to accomplish this.

  1. Open the Microsoft Word application.
  2. Click on the File tab to open the file menu.
  3. Select Options at the bottom.
  4. In the Word Options dialog box, select the Advanced tab, scroll down to the Display section and change the number in the Show this number of recent Documents box from 50 to 0. Finally, click the OK button to save the new settings.

From now on, regardless of how many documents you open in Word, they will no longer appear in the Recent Documents list.

Notes: To display recently used documents again in the Recent Documents list, simply follow the same steps and change the Show this number of Recent Documents box from 0 to your desired number.

In conclusion, managing your recent documents in Word can help maintain privacy. Whether you need to remove individual files, clear all unpinned documents, or disable the recent documents list entirely, this guide has provided you with step-by-step instructions for each option. By following these techniques, you can effectively manage your recent documents list according to your preferences and needs. For those eager to delve deeper into Word's capabilities, our website boasts a wealth of tutorials. Discover more Word tips and tricks here.


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