Software

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.

About

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.

21 comments
radar_z
radar_z

I used the "Shortcut Method" with success. Typing in the Run command takes too long for a hunt-and-peck typist like me. An easy way with Office 2010 is to have Word pinned to the Start menu. You click Start and move the cursor up to Word and just hover there. This will bring up many of your most recently viewed Word files.

dhays
dhays

I have no need for such a task. I said when I saw the headline: "why?" So if you must, go ahead, I will not avail myself of this shortcut. That is why every document has its place n a subfolder of Word in My Documents--to make them easier to find. I do have one document that is accessed nearly on a daily basis that I do have a shorcut on the taskbar, same for several Excel documents, but I don't want to start the profram with these every time.

ScottyCat
ScottyCat

Why don't you right click on the Office icon (Word, Excel, P'Point) that is pinned to the task bar and select the recent document from there..........

ShimCode
ShimCode

Why not just drag the file(s) you want to open to the Startup folder? Seems easier and you can open multiple at the same time.

danny.a.shields
danny.a.shields

Can not get this to work in MS Office 2010 Windows 7 64 bit. Both ways comes back with message similar to cannot locate file shows the file name and switch correctly.

Jeffrey.Hamblen@MyFWC.com
Jeffrey.Hamblen@MyFWC.com

I checked this out. You need a space between the closing quote marks and the forward slash or you get the message window "name ... is not valid".

stpeters
stpeters

I am using win 7 home ultimate and office 2003 and only get error message The name "'C:\Program Files (86)\Microsoft Office\Office11\WINWORD.EXE"/mfile1' specified in the target box is not valid. Make sure the path and file name are correct.

frobert
frobert

thx for this hint! another question: with pdf-readers you can choose that the files are re-opened at the page where you closed the file. this would be nice to have in word too. whenever I am working on or reading a bigger document and come back to it on the next day, I have to scroll to the page where I stopped working on it or reading it. Any idea if word has a similar option as adobe-reader? thx, Rob

stpeters
stpeters

Tried it on my Dell laptop running Win 7 Home ultimate. Couldn't get it to work as a shortcut, though adding the switch works on the run box.

petremure
petremure

I have a generic shortcut for launching word (Win+w), then a quick Alt+f and choose from bottom of the list from 1 to 9, one of the last 9 documents opened in word (I have also set in word-tools-options-general to save the last 9 recently used file list. I find this more useful, and is equally set in other utilities (excel, pdf, media player, etc.)

aksalaymeh
aksalaymeh

Hi Cool tip I have a question Can I use it with excel or other application???

ssharkins
ssharkins

This should work with versions back to 2003, maybe further.

ScottyCat
ScottyCat

Yes. See my comment further down the list.

ssharkins
ssharkins

That system works fine if the file doesn't change. If the most recently used file changes regularly, you're constantly having to drag a new file to Startup and move the old one -- not any easier than just opening the file manually.

RosaNegra
RosaNegra

Personally, I have more than I want in my Startup folder now. Besides a person may not want to open the file (and application) the moment they start their computer or log in, just when they actually start the application.

Jeffrey.Hamblen@MyFWC.com
Jeffrey.Hamblen@MyFWC.com

I checked this out. You need a space between the closing quote marks and the forward slash or you get the ... not valid message.

petremure
petremure

The simplest way is to insert a bookmark at the place you want to return to.

Andy P Roberts
Andy P Roberts

The answer, I think, is yes and no. If you create a macro called AutoOpen within the Word template and put the command Application.GoBack in the macro, Word will always put the cursor at the place it was when the document was last saved. This isn't quite what you asked for but it works well for me. Andy

stpeters
stpeters

Tried that. Works now. Thanks.