How to Hide, Delete or Clear Recent Documents List in Microsoft Word

Microsoft word shows the recent documents list to open documents quickly that you opened recently and you can control this list and change the number of documents to be displayed in the list. Some people even don’t want to show what they are working on so Word gives option to hide, clear recent documents or delete all the list of documents. Lets see how we can delete, hide and manage recent document list in word. This guide written using Word 2013 screenshots and I hope will work in Word 2010 as well.

See also: Password Protect Word Document

When you open Microsoft Word you can see the recent documents list on the left-side.


If you are working on a document you can access the recent documents list from “File” tab > “Open” > “Recent Documents”.


Clear Recent documents list Word

If you want to clear all recent word documents list then right click on any document in the list and select “Clear unpinned documents” option, and you delete all the unpinned documents list. To clear pinned documents, right click on each one and select remove from this list.


Delete single document for recent list

If you want to keep all the recent document list as it is and want to delete a single or few document then right-click on each list item and select “remove from list” option.


This will remove or clear the document permanently from the recent document list when you right click and choose either “Remove from list” or “Clear unpinned documents” option.

Hide Recent Documents list

You can control this list and limit the number to document to be displayed from the advanced word options. Click on “File” tab and select “Options” on the left-side or just press ALT+F and then press “T” keys from keyboard. This will open the Word options window.

Here select “Advanced” on the left-side and then scroll-down to “Display” section. Change the number to zero if you no logger want to show recent documents list, making it zero will hide all the documents from recent list except pinned documents and note that this will not delete or clear the recent document history. Next time when you change the value to something grater than zero, recent list will displayed again.


As you can see recent documents are hidden now, except that you pinned.





7 comments… add one
David October 15, 2015, 2:10 pm


this works, but when you open any documents and after this set again “Show number Recent Document” more then 0, Word now show open file history again 🙂 How can I disable this feature?

RodB June 16, 2016, 6:42 pm

Like the other comment I’d like to know how to not list recent files permanently. Every article I’ve seen says to set number of recent docs to zero (in Options) But within a day or so Word always reverts back to its default.. How can I make Word 2007 mind its own business [;-} ?

Ahmed June 20, 2016, 5:31 pm

It shouldn’t change until you modify it and save the settings. Please check if any updates are available for Word 2007 that might be a bug.

Ghaith January 19, 2017, 5:15 pm

still not safe it just hide or not listing, how to permanently delete the recent file? so no one can trace opened documents ?

Sheilagh January 26, 2017, 12:39 am

As you said, when I want to remove one document from my Recent Documents list, I right click & select the “remove from list” option. But as in your screen shot above, when I right mouse click – you can see the R is underlined in the Remove from list option. That usually indicates a keyboard shortcut and I thought I could hold the CTRL key and the R key at the same time and remove the document from the list. Not. Is there a keyboard shortcut? If not, why else is the R underlined?

TrickyWays January 26, 2017, 6:42 pm

You can only press underline character when context/right-click menu is displaying. Keyboard shortcuts always displayed on the right side of menu text.

Sajay Laloo December 2, 2017, 6:43 pm

Right Click on Taskbar, click on Taskbar Setting then click on Start which is on the leftside of the page and then turn off the “Show recently opened items in Jump List on Start or the Task Bar.

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