Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Viewing Files of a Certain Type.

Viewing Files of a Certain Type

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 31, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


When you want to open a document, you normally use the Open dialog box. The easiest way to display it is to just press Ctrl+O. Depending on your version of Word, this may take you directly to the Open dialog box, or you may need to poke around a bit more to finally get to it.

The Open dialog box is a standard dialog box in Word used to list the files that you can open in the program. At the bottom of the dialog box you can use a drop-down list to limit what Word displays in the file list.

What if you want to display files that have a non-standard filename extension, however? For instance, what if you want to display only the files that you saved using a filename extension of .LET? If you want to do this, Word makes it easy: simply enter *.let in the File Name box and press Enter. Word dutifully displays all the files ending in .LET.

What if you want to display only the files that begin with W and end in .DOCX? All you need to do is enter w*.docx in the File Name box and again press Enter.

For those who have been around computers for a (very long) while, you may recognize a pattern here. The pattern is simple—you can use the old DOS wildcards (asterisk and question mark) to specify a pattern for the files you want Word to list.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10311) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Viewing Files of a Certain Type.

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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