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Microsoft Word 2003:
5 Easy File Management Tips

How many steps does it take you to locate and open your Word 2003 (and earlier) documents? Try these tricks to streamline how you find and open the files you use most often.

Opening Documents

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 your documents:

  1. Tools > Options.
  2. Click the File Locations tab.
  3. With Documents selected for File Types, choose Modify and move to the folder/drive that you use most often.
  4. 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 Word session.

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 9 files:

  1. Tools > Options.
  2. Choose the General tab.
  3. Look for the option, Recently used file list and increase the value to 9 files.
  4. 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:

  1. Tools > Customize.
  2. Click the Commands tab.
  3. Scroll down the left column, Categories, to locate Built-in Menus near the bottom of the list.
  4. 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).
  5. 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 instance:

  • As noted above, removing menu items is not intuitive, and it’s easy to accidentally remove the wrong menu item by clicking on the wrong item.
  • 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 techniques.

© 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.
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Hot Word Tip
Press [Ctrl] + O open a file.
 
Did You Know?
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 Last Work.
 
 
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