Opening Multiple Recent Files at the Same Time

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 25, 2021)


Many times David regularly works on a limited set of documents. When he clicks the File tab of the ribbon, he can see a list of recently opened files. David wonders if there is a way that he can choose to open two (or more) of the files that appear in that list.

The list of files that David sees is most often referred to as the "MRU list" or the "MRU files." MRU is an acronym for "most recently used," and these files are (as you might guess) the files most recently used by David on his system. In reality, these days Word maintains two semi-related MRU lists. (It has been this way since the advent of Word 2010.) You can read about this at this tip:

Understanding MRU Files

What David wants to do—select multiple files in the MRU in order to open them all at once—is something I've not been able to discover a way to do. Most people who work with multiple files at once use either the Windows Explorer to locate the files in a single folder, or they use the Open dialog box, as described in this tip:

Opening Multiple Documents at Once

These approaches, though, require that all the files you want to open be located in the same folder—a prerequisite that is not necessary for files in the MRU.

It may be possible to create a macro to present the files in the MRU and allow some to be selected to open, but this is no small undertaking. The MRU files can be grabbed in a macro using the technique described in this tip:

Grabbing the MRU List

Grabbing the files isn't the problem, though. The problem is presenting what you grab to the user and then allowing the user to select only a subset of what you grabbed. The typical way of doing this would be to create a UserForm to display the files, use that UserForm to allow the user to specify the files, and then open the ones selected. This is not a small task, and (quite honestly) the amount of time required to develop such a macro would make such an approach "overkill" for what David really needs.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5224) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is three less than 9?

2018-01-22 09:39:40


So then, the reason this is a post is... to tell us I'm not really going to answer the question, and here's why?

2018-01-20 20:11:13

Al Lowe

Why not use a batch file? If the filenames and locations do not change, a simple batch file could do it.

Write one line for each file to be opened. Type "start ", a space, the complete address of your Word program inside double-quotes, another space, and the complete address of your first document inside double-quotes.

Press Enter, and do that for as many files as you wish. You should end up with a plain text file that looks like this (but, of course, altered for your Word and your files):

start "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\WINWORD.EXE" "C:\Users\Al\Documents\Document1.docx"

start "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\WINWORD.EXE" "C:\Users\Al\Documents\Document2.docx"

Save this somewhere (your desktop?) and name it something like "OpenSeveral.BAT" (The file extension must be bat.) Double-click it. Enjoy!

You can Google for more help with batch files, but the basics are: "start" "program.exe" and "file to be opened."


2018-01-20 04:47:56

Hareshkumar Shah

One way is to use officetab software and open each file under MS Word in its tab.

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