Chapter in this post:
- 1 Differences between Mac and Windows Office
- 2 Update 30.11.2020/XNUMX/XNUMX: Empty files and activate write protection
- 3 How to use Excel
- 4 How to use PowerPoint
- 5 Word procedure
- 6 [Old tip] Delete the list by removing the corresponding file
- 7 Instructions for Word
- 8 Instructions for Excel
- 9 Tip: Create an alias for the folder
A reader recently asked me if I had a tip on how to completely delete the list of recently used documents in the Microsoft Office version of Excel and Word for the Mac. At first I thought that would be a relatively simple question, because you usually delete these lists with the most recently used documents on the Mac in this way:
- Click on the apple symbol at the top left
- Select "Used Objects".
- Select "Delete entries" at the bottom of the list
So I sent him this quick guide and thought the problem was solved. But of course I did the calculation without Microsoft, because all Microsoft Office for Mac programs manage these lists independently and accordingly the procedure above does nothing at all.
Differences between Mac and Windows Office
If you research specifically for tips on how to remove this list of recently used files, you will come across two types of instructions:
- Right-click the entry and then "Use from allowed" remove.” – i.e. remove from the list recently used. That cuts, but you have to do the procedure with each individual entry, which may take some time.
- There are some forum posts that actually provide helpful and working instructions - when using Office for Windows.
The ability to remove the entire list was simply not implemented by Microsoft for Office for Mac. So there is no "convenient" way to clear this list with one click.
Update 30.11.2020/XNUMX/XNUMX: Empty files and turn on write protection
My reader Richard, who gave the first good tip about how to delete the list of recently used documents, has another tip on how to keep the list permanently empty without deleting the file again and again.
The trick is: You find the relevant file, empty its contents with a text editor and then activate the write protection of the operating system so that Word or Excel cannot change this file again. Close all Office applications beforehand!
Important: If "USERNAME" appears in the paths below, you must replace this name with your username, otherwise you will not find the corresponding folders.
Procedure with Excel
In the folder: /Users/USERNAME/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Excel/Data/Library/Preferences
the file: com.microsoft.Excel.securebookmarks.plist
Empty with the text editor (i.e. 0 bytes) and then protect.
Protecting works by highlighting the file and then pressing CMD + I. An information window for the file then opens in which you set the checkmark under "General" > "Locked".
Procedure with PowerPoint
In the folder: /Users/USERNAME/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Powerpoint/Data/Library/Preferences
the file: com.microsoft.Powerpoint.securebookmarks.plist
Empty with the text editor (i.e. 0 bytes) and then protect (refer to Excel for instructions).
Procedure with Word
In the folder: /Users/USERNAME/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences
the file: com.microsoft.Word.securebookmarks.plist
Empty it with the text editor (i.e. 0 bytes) and then protect it (refer to Excel for instructions).
[Old tip] Delete the list by removing the corresponding file
My reader Richard then - after I had long since given up - found a way how to delete the list with a reasonably manageable effort.
To do this, go to the library folder (here a Instructions on how to open the library folder) and then follow the instructions below.
Instructions for Word
You go to this folder:
Inside is a file called "com.microsoft.Word.securebookmarks.plist". You should rename or delete them and then restart Microsoft Word.
Instructions for Excel
You go to this folder:
Inside is a file called "com.microsoft.Excel.securebookmarks.plist". You should rename or delete them and then restart Microsoft Excel.
The instructions seem to work with all Office for Mac versions. My reader has Office Mac 2019 and I have Office Suite 365 and it works for both of us.
Tip: Create an alias for the folder
After the action, the "recently used" view in Excel or Word should be empty. If you need to do this thing more often, I would add an alias to the folder on the desktop.
To do this, open the path mentioned above until you are in the /Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/ folder.
Now right-click on the "Preferences" folder and select "Create alias" in the context menu. This creates a new alias folder that you can then drag to the desktop, for example. Double-clicking on this will take you directly to the subfolder in the future, where you will find the "securebookmarks.plist" that needs to be deleted.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.
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