Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Understanding MRU Files.

Understanding MRU Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 28, 2018)

MRU is an acronym for most recently used. It describes a feature of Word that allows you to quickly open your most recently used documents. These file names are displayed by Word when you click on the Office button (Word 2007) or the File tab of the ribbon (Word 2010 or a later version).

Actually, Word 2007 and later versions of Word each handle MRU files differently—drastically differently. When you click the Office button in Word 2007, you are shown a list of the MRU files. That is simple and straightforward. You can change the number of documents in the MRU list in this manner:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Word Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Advanced.
  3. Scroll through the list of available options until you see the Display section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Show This Number of Recent Documents option is set to a value between 1 and 50. This signifies how many MRU files should be remembered by Word.
  6. Click the OK button.

You can also perform the above steps in later versions of Word, with the one small variance being how you get to the Word Options dialog box. (Click the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.) What this setting controls, however, is what you see on the File tab of the ribbon when you click Open at the left side of the screen.

Word 2010 also has a "quick list" of MRU files that it displays in the pane at the left side of the File tab screen. This quick list appears just below the Close command and above the Info item. You control how many MRU files appear in this quick list by first making sure that Recent is selected and then using the control at the very bottom of the screen. The control is titled "Quickly Access This Number of Recent Documents." You can turn off this feature using the supplied check box, but if it is turned on you can specify how many of the MRU documents should appear in the quick list. (You can select from 1 up to the number of documents you specified to be maintained in the MRU list.)

Later versions of Word list the MRU files when the Recent Documents option is displayed. The number of recent documents displayed depends on the value selected in Step 4 above.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7355) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding MRU Files.

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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