Recently Used File List in Excel

by Gregory on December 17, 2010

How many files will Excel show in the Recently Used File List? Well, it depends on the version of Excel you’re using and vary between 9 and ninety-nine files.

Here is a list of Excel versions, menu navigation to the recent file list, and the max files allowed.

Excel 2010, 2007
File>Options>Advanced tab>under the Display heading:
Show this number of Recent Documents: 50 max

Recent Document List Setting

Excel 2003
Tools>Options>General tab
Recently used file list: 9 max

Recent Document List Setting Excel 2003

Excel for Mac 2008, 2011
Excel>Preferences>General
Show this number of recent documents: 99 max

Recent Document List Setting Excel for Mac

A Related Feature in Excel 2010

At the bottom of the Recent Workbooks list, Excel 2010 has an option you can check to:
Quickly access this number of Recent Workbooks: x

Checking this box adds recent files to the left pane so you can always see the file names. They’re not really the most recent files because they include any files you have pinned to the top of the list, even if they haven’t been opened in a while.

(I covered this feature in a microblog article on Tumblr and in a recent post with video here on this blog.)

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Eric December 20, 2010 at 5:41 am

You can change the number of files displayed using the following VBA:

Application.RecentFiles.Maximum = 9

And if you want to change the file that is the most recent file, use the Add method:

Application.RecentFiles.Add(“String Name Of File”)

Gregory December 20, 2010 at 10:58 am

Thanks for the tip, I didn’t know this so I checked it out and it works like you say, but I couldn’t increase the maximum beyond 9. Also, when I started there were 6 files on my recent file list, so I changed the maximum setting to 2 and it worked, but when I changed the maximum to 9, there were only 2 files showing on the recent file list, not the original 6 I had before. As I opened more files the recent file list expanded, but still… those other 4 files were lost.

Eric December 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

Yes, the maximum ‘maximum’ is a system setting. And if you clear off a setting by reducing the max – as you did – that data is gone unless you save it somehow. I’ve used the Add method because I like to open a certain file very often, but not always (I’d have it in my Open folder if I did). So, when I start up a certain set of files, I add this one spreadsheet to the Recently Used list (and the last file in the list drops off).

Sandy December 12, 2012 at 7:13 am

This finally answered my question! I knew how to increase/decrease the number of files shown, just couldn’t get the list back where I wanted it.

Thank You.

Gregory December 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Glad to be of service. :)

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