Recently Used Files Disappearing

The recently used files list is a really handy feature in Excel (and other Office applications) which allows you to quickly open workbooks which you’ve been previously working on and have saved. In more recent versions of Excel you can also pin the workbooks you use the most so they don’t drop off the list. This Microsoft article has some useful information on customising the recently used files list in Excel 2010, including:

  • Change the number of files that appear in the list of recently used files
  • Keep a file on the Recent Documents list
  • Add a quick access list to the Backstage file navigation bar
  • Clear the list of recently used files

There have been a few recent threads on the online forums where users complained that their recently used files list had been mysteriously cleared. The good news is that this wasn’t because of a horrible bug: as it turns out, an application called CCleaner was to blame.

CCleaner (not to be confused with Rob Bovey’s CodeCleaner) is a free PC optimisation and cleaning tool by Piriform. It’s a great piece of kit which I’ve been using for years and highly recommend. The features I like the most are the registry cleaner and the StartUp monitor which lets you disable certain programs from running on startup. One thing to be aware of though is that CCleaner will clear any recently used files lists from your Office applications. Fortunately (or as one would expect from a good piece of software) there’s a setting you can toggle which will stop this happening. If you start up CCleaner, go to the Cleaner tab on the left and then the Applications tab at the top, you’ll find an Applications section.


All you need to do is untick the relevant Office checkboxes and CCleaner will leave your recently used files list alone.


About Colin Legg

RAD Developer Microsoft MVP - Excel 2009 - 2014
This entry was posted in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Recently Used Files Disappearing

  1. lucas says:

    Very useful! Thanks alot!


  2. Deb Patrick says:

    I do not have CCleaner…and I have the same problem. Every time I use Excel (or Word) 2013, pin a file I am using and wish to access again…and then close Excel/Word….and re-oopen…NO files in the recent workbooks/file list…pinned or not. The list is always empty. So it is not CCleaner for me…I don’t have it on this computer. Running Win7 64 bit.


  3. Greg says:

    Thanks for the CCleaner tip!!!


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