How to Disable Recent Documents / Workbooks / Presentations History in Office Excel, Word and PowerPoint

»»»How to Disable Recent Documents / Workbooks / Presentations History in Office Excel, Word and PowerPoint

Expanded Recent Documents, Recent Workbooks and Recent Presentations history list in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint of Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2016 is useful as a quick shortcut to open recently used files, spreadsheets and presentations. But for users who handle sensitive or private documents, the history will expose the trace and existence of otherwise hidden files. If you are sure that you don’t want to utilize the enhanced Recent Files feature of various apps in Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2016 or later, there is a way to disable the history tracking on opened files.

Use steps in guide below to disable Recent Documents, Recent Workbooks and/or Recent Presentations history list for good so that Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2013 or Office 2016 applications will not keep track and save the recently opened files history, also known as MRU list.

  1. Click on Office button, and then click on Word Options (in Word) or Excel Options (in Excel) or PowerPoint Options (in PowerPoint) in the bottom of Office Menu.

    In Office 2013 or Office 2016 or Office 365, go to Options.

  2. Go to the Advanced tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Display section.
  4. Set the value for Show this number of Recent Documents: to 0 (zero).

    Number of Recent Documents

  5. Click OK button.
  6. Repeat steps above again for each and every Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs that you want to disable the recent files history, where the option name is Show this number of Recent Workbooks: in Excel and Show this number of Recent Presentations: in PowerPoint.

The “Recent Documents”, “Recent Workbooks” or “Recent Presentations” list in Word, Excel or PowerPoint will appear blank forever.

It’s also possible to set a registry value to enable a policy that prevent displaying of any MRU lists. However, note that the policy will affect and honor by most Microsoft programs, such as all versions of Office and its individual products, so if you use this registry trick to turn of the policy no most recently used files history will be saved for all programs, including MRUs on the File menu and the Save and Open dialog boxes.

  1. Run Registry Editor (regedit).
  2. Navigate to the following registry key:

    If “Explorer” is not existed, create a new Key for “Explorer”.

  3. Create a DWORD value with the key NoRecentDocsHistory and set the value to 1.


All recent items and recent files list will not be saved and all display will turn blank.

About the Author:

LK is a technology writer for Tech Journey with background of system and network administrator. He has be documenting his experiences in digital and technology world for over 15 years.Connect with LK through Tech Journey on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
  • Thanks for this information. Very helpful!

  • pido 2003 y sale 2007

  • thank u soo much for ur information…..

  • Thank You For This Information! This is Very Usefull!

  • Sumar

    "Click on Office button"

    This is no use to someone using Word '03….

    Go to tools, then options

    Go to view, uncheck "sartup task pane"

    Go to general, uncheck "recently viewed files"

    Good luck

  • Ronald Guest

    Windows Vista, Word 2007: I hope you can answer my question. I am trying to delete some old files in Word. I have already deleted the names from the MRU list using your soluution (Thanks!) but I cannot delete the same names in the drop-down box when Word is open. I’ve been told the list of about 17 filenames is nothing more than an autofill of those name, but that’s exactly what I must get rid of. Help!

  • Debbie

    I am runnging QuatroPro X4. I have been deleting all the history in the regedit and it still says out of memory. What else can I do. Thanks.

  • Susan H

    How can I get a list (history) of documents I worked on today. I’ve lost the most critical one of the day — I know it’s in there somewhere! HELP!!!