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: Deleting the Open Document File.

Deleting the Open Document File

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 23, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Periodically, I go through the files in my Word directories to determine if any of the old documents can be safely deleted. Many times, I need to open the file to examine it before I can make a determination as to whether it should be deleted.

Of course, Word will let you delete a file listed in the Open or Save dialog boxes, but it will not delete the active document—the one that is open at the current time. Rather than close the active document and then delete it by opening the Open or Save dialog boxes, I use the following macro to delete a file that is open.

Sub DeleteThisFile()
    Dim MyFile As String

    MyFile = ActiveDocument.Path & "\" & ActiveDocument.Name
    If MsgBox(MyFile & " will be deleted permanently", _
      vbYesNo, "Delete this File?") = vbYes Then
        ActiveDocument.Close (wdDoNotSaveChanges)
        Kill MyFile
    End If
End Sub

The macro prompts you to make sure that you want to delete the file, and (if you do) it closes the document without saving and then deletes it. You should note that the file does not go to the Recycle Bin, but is immediately deleted.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11642) 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: Deleting the Open Document File.

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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