Launch Word with the most recently used document

Show users how to open the most recently used file when launching Word. Or, provide them with a shortcut that does the same thing.

Some of us begin most work sessions opening the last file we were working with. When this is the case, users can save a few keystrokes by opening the most recently used file when they launch Word. Fortunately, doing so is simpler than you might think - just flip a switch.

To launch Word with the most recently used file, do the following:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Choose Run.
  3. Enter the following command and switch: winword.exe /mFile1.
  4. Click OK.

The /m switch runs a macro or command. In this case, File1 is a predefined name that always points to the most recently used file, regardless of the file's actual name.

If you want to remove the user from the equation, set up a shortcut that does the same thing:

  1. In the Windows Explorer, locate the winword.exe file. It's usually in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\ folder.
  2. Right-click and choose Create Shortcut. Windows will create a shortcut, which you'll find at the end of the listing.
  3. Right-click the new shortcut and choose Send To Desktop.
  4. Locate the new shortcut on the Desktop.
  5. Right-click the shortcut and choose Properties.
  6. On the Shortcut tab, add the switch /mFile1 to the Target string.
  7. Click OK.

As long as the user launches Word using this shortcut, Word will open the most recently used file automatically. If there's more than one version of Word, be sure to specify the appropriate folder in step 1.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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