Dawn Bjork Buzbee
The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)
Certified Microsoft Office 2010 Specialist (MOS 2010) Master Instructor
Certified Microsoft Office 2007 Specialist (MOS 2007) Master Instructor
Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) Instructor
Certified Microsoft Office Expert
Certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE)
WOSB (Women-Owned Small Business) Certified
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How many steps does it take you to locate and open your Word 2003
documents? Try these tricks to streamline how you find and open the
files you use most often.
With a variety of choices, how do you open a file?
Here are the standards plus several keyboard shortcuts:
- File > Open
- Open toolbar button (usually 2nd
from the left on the Standard toolbar)
- [Ctrl] + O
- [Ctrl] + F12
- [Ctrl] + [Alt] + F2
Selecting More Than One File
Once you are in the Open dialog box, select more
than one file to open:
- To select nonadjacent files in the Open
dialog box, click one file, and then hold down [Ctrl] and
click each additional file.
- To select adjacent files in the Open
dialog box, click the first file in the sequence, and then hold down
[Shift] and click the last file.
- To unselect a highlighted file you don't
want, hold down [Ctrl] and click the file again.
Stop Hunting For Files
Are you frequently switching to a different folder
or drive when you want to open a file? Change the default folder for
- Tools > Options.
- Click the File Locations tab.
- With Documents selected for File Types,
choose Modify and move to the folder/drive that you use most
- Finish by clicking OK twice.
Each time you start Microsoft Word, this will be
the default file location but Word remembers your most recent file
location each time you return to the Open dialog box during your current
Find Your Last Work
Click once on the File menu and a list of
the last 4 most recently used files displays at the bottom. Save time
opening up your most recent work by increasing the list to a maximum of
- Tools > Options.
- Choose the General tab.
- Look for the option, Recently used file
list and increase the value to 9 files.
- Choose OK to finish.
As you continue to open additional files, the list
of recent files will expand up to the last 9 files.
Add the Work Menu
The recently used file list is great for your
current documents but how do you quickly open other frequently used
files? Add the Work menu to your main menu bar which makes it easy to
locate important files:
- Tools > Customize.
- Click the Commands tab.
- Scroll down the left column, Categories,
to locate Built-in Menus near the bottom of the list.
- On the right side column, find the Work
menu choice and drag it up to the main menu. (I have mine between
Window and Help).
- Choose Close to finish.
Now, when you have an important file open, just
click Work > Add to Work Menu and your document is added to the
list. Your top files will then be stored as links on the Work
menu regardless of their location or the last time it was opened. To
open a file, choose Work to display the list.
Adding documents to the menu is easy—just open the document and
select Work, Add to Work Menu. Removing documents, however, is a little
trickier. To remove items, you have two options:
- Open the Customize dialog as explained above, and drag the ToolsCustomizeRemoveMenuShortcuts
item (from the All Commands category) to the Work menu.
- Use the [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Hyphen] keyboard shortcut for
removing menu items.
When you use either of these options, the mouse cursor changes to –
(a hyphen) and allows you to click and remove any item from any menu. Be
careful not to click on the wrong menu item, though, or it’s gone!
Limitations of the Work Menu
While incredibly useful, this feature does have several limitations,
which is perhaps why it's not fully documented as a feature. For
- As noted above, removing menu items is not intuitive, and it’s
easy to accidentally remove the wrong menu item by clicking on the
- Like the Most Recently Opened list under the File menu,
the Work list is limited to 9 entries. Try to add a 10th
document and the oldest item is removed from the bottom of the list.
- You can’t reorder the list; the Work list is always sorted in
the order that you add the documents.
With these tips, your files should be easier to
find and open. To insure that Microsoft Word remembers the customized
changes, exit out of Word, re-start and test each of these time-saving
© Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro®
Dawn Bjork Buzbee
is The Software Pro®
and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office
Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist
(MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart
and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software
speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.
This article and
more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with
copyright and attribution.
more about how easy it is to share these valuable tips, tricks, and techniques.
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Press [Ctrl] + O open a file.
|The recently used
file list in Microsoft Word is located under the File menu
and can be changed to display up to your last 9 documents.
This tip is described in the article to the left under Find Your