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Clear Recently Used Files in MS Office

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 by | Filed Under: MS Excel, MS Office Help, MS Outlook, MS PowerPoint, MS Word

So, we all know about the recently used file list found on the File menu / Office Button in the MS Office Suite programs.

It’s automatically there and I know that I personally use it a lot. But what if someone else is going to use the computer and you don’t want them to see the list… for whatever reason you may have.

The question that begs to be answered is actually a two-part:

1) Can I turn off the list altogether?

2) Can I clear it and start over?

The answer to both is yes – so let’s get right to business.

We’ll start with completely turning the feature off.

Accomplishing this task is as easy as it is to change the number of files for the list to contain.

We need to get to the program’s options.

Older Office programs will use the Tools menu, Options choice.

In the Options dialog box go to the General tab and uncheck the option for Recently Used File list.


Click OK.

In Office 2007 it’s up to the Office Button we go and then to the Options button for that particular program.

Once in the Option dialog box you need to go to Advanced Options, Display section.


You’ll notice that there is not an obvious way to turn the feature off. Instead, you need to set the number of documents to zero.

Click OK.

No more recent files listed for you!

Now, let’s turn our attention to simply clearing the list.

Basically, you’ll do exactly what you did to turn the feature off.

This clears the list.

Once cleared, go back in and turn the list back on, setting the number of desired files as you see fit.

Exit the Options dialog box and you’re back in business but with a fresh start!

~ April

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