As a busy VA, I love keyboard shortcuts! They make a busy workload and repetitive jobs just that little bit easier, and more efficient! When you are working on a project, or a particular job, chances are you’ll need to access a number of particular documents more than once each day or week,

and the recent items menu saves you having to browse to the file location to open it each time and remember where you saved things! You can access your recent items from the file menu in Office 2010 and 2013, or alternatively use the keyboard shortcut.

However, it seems that the recent items menu isn’t always activated by default in Office 2010 so you may need to enable it from the options menu first. From the options menu you are also able to adjust how many recent items are displayed in your list which is very handy indeed!

Enabling recent items

So here’s how to make sure that your recent items are accessible:

From the main toolbar select File > Options RecentItems1

Then in the next window, select Advanced from the side menu

Scroll down to the section titled ‘display‘ and under ‘show this number of recent documents’ change the number to whatever number of documents you want to see on the list.

Click OK


You should now be able to see a list of your recent documents in the recent items area

Viewing recent items

To view your list of recent items there are two ways to access:

From the main toolbar, select File > Recent

Alternatively use the keyboard shortcut Alt + F then R. You will then see a list of your recent items and small codes next to each item that has an associated keyboard shortcut. You will see in the image below that each of my recent items has a number assigned to it, this means that I can use the keyboard shortcut to open an items directly from this list without even having to click a mouse button!

Fancy, hey?

So in the image below, to open the first item on my list I would use the keyboard shortcut Alt + F then R then 1


Try it for yourself and see how you get on!

Another really great feature is that from the Recent Items list, you can “pin” a document to the list so that it will always appear, even if you haven’t actually opened it recently. To do this, open your recent items list following the instructions above and click on the pin next to the file that you want to pin to the list.

In recent versions of Microsoft Office there’s also a great feature that allows you to pin whole folders to a list of “Recent Places”. You can access this in the same place as your recent files list following the instructions listed above.