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: Renaming a Document.

Renaming a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 3, 2020)


There is no intrinsic command within Word that allows you to rename documents or files, as there is in some other programs. It is true that you can simply save a document under a new name, but that results in two files on your drive instead of one. You can use the following steps to rename a document quickly and easily, all within Word:

  1. Make sure the document you want to rename is not loaded into Word. (Close it if it is loaded.)
  2. Display the Open dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and choose Open. In Word 2010, display the File tab of the ribbon and click Open. In Word 2013 and Word 2016, display the File tab of the ribbon, click Open, and then click Browse.)
  3. In the list of files contained in the dialog box, right-click on the one you want to rename. Word displays a Context menu for the document.
  4. Choose Rename from the Context menu. The document name is highlighted, and you have the opportunity to change the name.
  5. Once the document name is changed, press Enter.
  6. Close the Open dialog box by clicking on Cancel.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10667) 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: Renaming a Document.

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 nine minus 5?

2020-12-28 09:38:06

Paul Stregevsky

In Word, even when no file is open, you can select File, then Open, then Browse. When you do, you'll be in a familiar File Explorer window. There, you can navigate to the file that you want to rename.

2020-12-25 18:10:09

Charles Molway

But if the file is not open, how do you get to the "File tab of the ribbon," and if I get to that, will there then be an "Open dialog box" to click on?

2020-12-25 09:06:10

Paul Stregevsky

Charles M,
Loaded means opened.

2020-12-24 16:53:50

Charles Molway

Step One says to be sure the document is not loaded into Word. What is "loaded"?

2020-12-04 09:40:56


For the adventurous, see the answer in this thread:

One I added this macro to by QAT I find I use it all the time.


2020-12-04 09:22:33

Paul Stregevsky

First, thank you, ERIK EILERTSEN, for your outstanding, insightful suggestions.
Second, there's a commercial plug-in that lets you rename a file in Word, while it's open, without duplicating it! I've recommended this plug-in before, for its other benefits, but I'm glad to give it another "plug": Office Tab at . I've installed it on each of my home PCs. Alas, I'm not permitted to install it at work.

2020-12-03 18:04:56


Renaming a Document - it should be noted that if you used RECENT DOCUMENTS to find things you are working on then, once renamed, the OLD document name will continue in the recent documents until it either drops off the list or you deliberately remove it.

If you click on the OLD name you will get the message that the file cannot be found or similar (based on the results I obtain in Word 2016).

The NEW name of the document will only show up in the RECENT list if you open then close the document.


When I rename documents I use FILE EXPLORER. Once in the correct folder one can get to name editing by highlighting the name/document and then holding the left key down for a moment then releasing it - while the pointer is in the highlighted name. The name then gains a darker highlight, the cursor appears at the end of the highlighted name and it is ready to be changed.

WARNING - if you only want to AMEND the name beware because, as soon as you start to type the name disappears so if you only want to AMEND the name you need to click in the name or at the beginning or end and that will leave the original name for you to amend.

NOTE - if you wanted to keep/amend the name and inadvertently started to type, making the name disappear, then immediately press CTRL+Z and the name will come back

Once the name is changed or amended as you want it, press Enter or just click in another file and your changes will be saved

2017-10-28 15:33:12


I"m using Mac Office 2016.

Is there any way to have the backup folder automatically rename when you rename the file or must one rename the backup folder manually?

2016-10-25 14:55:11

Ted Duke

Well, in my latest Windows 10, the Rename option no longer appears in the list from the right click menu. But, locate and open the file folder, left click to highlight the file name, wait briefly and left click again, and the name (without file extension) is highlighted and can be typed over. It's sort of like Windows One always was.

2016-10-24 12:00:07


I'm using Word 2013 and it worked for me, thank you. I clicked on the open tab (that brings up a list of recently opened documents); then I clicked on the Computer icon (under the Recent Documents icon); That is where I found the Browse button at the end of Current and Recent Folders. I clicked on the Browse Button and that brought up the folders and files list in a format that I was familiar with. And all you need to do is find the document you want to rename, right mouse click, and near the end of the list of options is "Rename". So you don't have to leave Word, and you don't have to have a duplicate document with a different name (as you would using "Save As". More cumbersome than my older 2000 Word version but it works. Been using 2013 for about a week. Thanks for the help.

2016-10-10 13:22:26

Cathy Reimann

re: Word 2016. I had to go to the file and right click. Rename was not an option. Neither was delete, when I resaved the file under another name. So, I can't rename it or delete it.

2015-11-23 09:10:41

Doreen Robinson

Re Word 2010: Renaming a document using the method you employ didn't work for me. I wanted to rename a document in a file not a file folder. I had to open the file folder to find the document and then right-click on the document to rename it.

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