Working with Recent and Pinned Documents in MS Word


You all know I love working efficiently and saving time and working from your list of recently used Docuemtns in Word is a great way to do just that.

Say you were working on a document yesterday and at the end of the day you closed down MS Word and left for the day. When you open MS Word the next day, the quickest way to access that same document to work on it is through Word’s Recent Documents.

In version 2010, the access to your Recent Documents takes a more circuitous route than in early versions. Once you know where to find it you will be using it often.

Follow the steps below to learn how:

  1. On your File tab, click Recent.
  1. Scroll through your list of Recent Documents and click on the document you would like to re-open.

Pretty simple, but it still used a couple of clicks. There are a few ways in which you can make this task a bit easier.

First, you can increase the default number of files showing on your list by following these steps:


  • Click on File | Options | Advanced.
  • Click on Display.
  • Adjust Show the number of Recent Dcouments to the number of your choosing.
  • Click OK.

From thereon your list will display that number of Recent Documents.

Secondly, if you want to access some of your recent documents even more quickly, there are some other settings that will allow you to do just that:

You can add Recent File to your QAT. I have covered adding things to your QAT in an earlier newsletter.

This will give you access to your Recent File list with just one click!

Add some Recent Files directly to the File Tab!


If you look at the first screenshot in this article, you will at the bottom a setting that is turned off by default in Word. That setting is Quickly Access this Number of Recent Documents.

Turning on this option with the number set to 10 (the number is your choice and its useful level will mainly be determined by size of your monitor), will add some of your Recent Documents (in this instance 10) to your File tab, saving you a click (assuming the Recent Document you are looking for is one of the last 10 you were working on).

Pin Files to the Recent List!

Now you have set the number of Recent Documents you would like to see in your list when you click on it and have set the number of Recent Documents you would like to see in the File tab, but suppose you would like to see certain documents all the time???

Your Recent Documents list moves the most recent documents to the top of the list. As your Recent Documents age, and you have not worked on them, they are moved down the list and will eventually drop off it, to be replaced by newer documents. I know I have certain documents that I use on a daily basis, such as the documents relating to new clients. Fortunately, Word 2010 allows me to see these documents always.

If you look at your files in your Recent list, to the right of the file you will see a stickpin.

If you click on a stickpin next to a Recent Document that you want to keep permanently at the top of your list, you will anchor that document there. This is called pinning your document to the list.

Now, regardless of how many other recent documents you have worked on, this document will never be moved down your list. It is permanently pinned to the top for your easy access.

Should you decide at a later time that you do not need to have that document pinned to your list, simply click on the pin to remove it and it will eventually drop off your list.

About the Author

Carol Bratt

Carol holds A+, MCP, and MOS computer certifications and is the resident DCT Office expert. She trains the staffs of small law firms in the use of Microsoft Office applications and has authored many books covering Microsoft Office as well as written articles for Infopackets, TechnoLawyer, and Digital Harbor. For more Microsoft Office tips visit Carol's Corner Office or follow Carol on FaceBook and Twitter.

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