The Recent Documents are a comfort function in Office 2007 products such as Word 2007 or Excel 2007 that displays the last 17 documents that you have opened in the applications. You can open that menu when you click on the big - some say huge - Office icon button on the top left corner of the screen.
Some users prefer to remove the Recent Documents altogether for several reasons. Maybe the computer is used by more than one user and the profile is shared - believe me that seems to happen a lot of times in families - or if you borrow someone a computer without creating a new profile for him or, my favorite, if you want to eliminate the chance that someone could see the Recent Documents on your computer at work.
The amount of Recent Documents that are shown can be changed in the Word options (Excel options..). You can access them from the same menu. Click on the big Office button in the upper left corner and select the Word Options button which is located right under Recent Documents.
Click on the Advanced tab in the right menu and scroll down - way down - until you find the Display part of the settings. There is an entry entitled "Show this number of Recent Documents" and a number next to it. If you change that number to 0 Microsoft Office 2007 will not remember the last used documents and will not display them in the Recent Documents pane anymore.
The Recent Documents entries should get reduced immediately which means that you do not have to manually delete them. But, a big one, this is only valid for the application where you changed it. So, if you change the number of Recent Documents that are shown in Word 2007 you will only reduce it for Word 2007 and not for Excel 2007, Powerpoint 2007 and all the other applications.
There is no global way to handle this which means that you will have to open each application once and change the Recent Documents setting for this application.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.