Opening Multiple Recent Files at the Same Time

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 25, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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 Microsoft 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. ...


Word and Character Count Information

Using fields you can easily insert both the word and character counts for a document into the document itself. As those ...

Discover More

Spell Checking Your Document

One of the final touches that many people perform is to check the spelling of their document. This can help improve the ...

Discover More

Multiple Envelopes in One Document

Want to save a bunch of envelopes in a single document so that you can print them all out as a group? Here's how to ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Lost Data in Word

Use Word long enough and you eventually will lose some of your work. (And, it seems to be a rule that this will occur ...

Discover More

Opening Multiple Documents at Once

Word's Open dialog box provides many of the same file management functions as Windows Explorer does. One of the functions ...

Discover More

An Automatic File Name

Do you have a set "standard" for how you name new documents? If so, you may be interested in implementing the technique ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 4?

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.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.