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Finding Recent Files in MS Office 2010

I can’t speak for everyone but I love to the recent files list… I mean what’s not to love?

You can bypass the whole Open dialog box and the sometimes complicated navigation, to actually pull up any recent file just by looking in one place.

If you’ve investigated in Office 2010 then, you know that the recent files list is found under the File tab.

However, looking at the new situation, I feel as though we were moved one step forward and, at the same time, one step back.

The forward step, in my opinion, is the list of recent places found at the far right of the screen.

Not only can we quickly access our most recent files, but we can be quickly whisked off to a location in the Open dialog box, without actually opening a specific file. We can then open multiple files in that location, or do the usual searching for the correct one.

Once again, in my opinion, we’ve also taken a step backward when we went from opening the File menu / Office Button and choosing a file from the immediately visible list to opening the File tab and then opening the recent screen to select a file.

Extra steps are not welcome in our never-ending endeavors to become more efficient when we work.

Fortunately we can turn our step forward & back situation into two steps forward with just one little checkbox…

We can actually have the best of both worlds… a most recent file list displayed the moment we open the File tab, where we can still access all the extra stuff from the recent screen of the File menu.

Here’s what you need to do to make this happen for you:

In the File tab go to the Recent choice.

Below the list of files, you should see an option for Quickly access this number of Recent Documents (or Recent Workbooks, Presentations, etc depending upon the program for which you are changing this setting).

Check this option.


The default setting is to show 4 files but you obviously can change that number using the field provided.

Once this is selected, you’ll see this when you open the File tab:


Immediately the most recent files (however many you asked to see) are displayed just below the Close choice.

But you should also note that the Recent section is still available for you to be able to use the extended list and the locations list.

The best of both worlds…

Definitely two steps forward!

~ April