How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word displays your recently used documents in the Home tab like other Office apps. This allows you to quickly access your files and resume your work. However, you might accidentally reveal confidential files when you share your computer. Fortunately, Word allows you to remove entries from the Recently used document list and disable the Recent list entirely if you prefer. In this post, we’ll show you how to do both. Let’s get right to it.

Remove Specific Entries From Recent Documents List in Microsoft Word

To remove documents from the recent list in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word on your PC. Scroll to the Recent list in the Home tab.

Step 2: Find the document you want to remove. Right-click on it and select ‘Remove from list.’

The document will be removed from the list. Repeat these steps to remove other entries from Word’s Recent list.

Note: Removing an entry from the Recent list also removes it from the Open tab in Word.

Clear All Entries From Recent Documents List in Microsoft Word

To remove all entries from the Recent list in Word, clear the entire list. Follow these steps:

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– Open Microsoft Word on your PC.

– Switch to the Open tab.

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

Step 2: Under Documents, right-click any entry and select Clear unpinned items.

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

Step 3: Confirm your choice. Select Yes to continue.

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

After completing the steps, Word will clear the recently used documents list and display only your pinned entries.

Disable Recent Documents List in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word shows 50 of your most recently opened documents in the Recent list. You can disable the Recent document list in Word by setting the number of documents to 0. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word and click Options in the bottom-left corner.

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

Step 2: Use the left pane in the Word Options window to navigate to the Advanced tab.

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

Step 3: Scroll down to the Display section and find the ‘Show this number of Recent Documents’ option.

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

Step 4: Change the value to 0 to disable the Recent list and hit OK to save changes.

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

After applying these changes, Word will no longer display entries in the Recent list. This will also remove pinned documents. To re-enable the Recent list in Word, repeat the above steps and change the value of ‘Show this number of Recent Documents’ in Word Options to any number between 0 and 50. After re-enabling the Recents menu, all previous entries and pinned items will appear.

Bonus: Clear Recently Used Documents From Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer on Windows

Even if you disable the Recent list in Word, recently opened documents will still appear when you right-click on the Word icon in the Taskbar or File Explorer’s Recent list.

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You can remove specific entries from the Start menu, Jump Lists, or File Explorer by right-clicking on them and selecting the ‘Remove from this list’ option.

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

Alternatively, you can disable the recently opened items list in Windows. To do so, press Windows + I to open the Settings app. In the Personalization tab, select Start. Toggle off the ‘Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer’ option.

How to Clear or Disable Recently Used Documents List in Microsoft Word

Once disabled, Windows will no longer display your recently opened items in the Start menu, Jump Lists, and File Explorer’s recent list.

Enjoy a Clean Slate

Clearing or disabling the Recent list in Word can help maintain privacy. The process is straightforward, regardless of whether you’re clearing or disabling the list. This method can also be used in Microsoft Excel to clear or disable the recently used document list.

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