Get the 'Recent Documents' option back in Windows

A man is feeling stressed as he can't find the documents he needs for work

Do you have a handful of documents you use frequently? Do you struggle to cope without the 'Recent Documents' folder in Windows? This handy tip explains how to get it back

The 'Recent Documents' folder appears in your Start menu, giving you an easy way to access the files and documents you've been working on most recently. However, it isn't switched on as standard in Windows 7, which can be confusing if you usually rely on it to find your files.

Get the 'Recent Documents' folder back in Windows 7

  1. Right-click the Start button and choose Properties.
  2. A dialog box should open. If the Start Menu tab isn't already selected, click it.
  3. Click Customise.
  4. Scroll down to the Recent Items check box.
  5. Click the box so a tick appears in it.
  6. Click OK to close the dialog, then click OK again.

That's it - you should now see a Recent option in your Start menu, which you can use to open the documents and files you worked on most recently.

Show recent folders in Windows 10

A similar approach works in more recent versions of Windows. For example:

  1. Right-click the Start button and choose Settings.
  2. A dialog box should open.
  3. Click Personalisation.
  4. Click Start.
  5. Switch on 'Show recently opened items'.
  6. Click OK to close the dialog, then click OK again.

Your recent folders will show at the top of the dialogue box, listed under 'Quick access' when you click Start, and then Documents.

Pin frequent documents

Another handy tip if you have files you regularly return to is to 'pin' them. In Word, for example, you can see a list of your recent files when you click File, and Open. If you hover over the document file name a small pin will appear. Click the pin. It will now be pinned to the top of the list each time you go to open a new document.

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