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How to find recently opened files and documents in Windows 8

Quickly open docs you last worked on

Windows 8 recent places

We explain how to find recently used documents when using Windows 8.

QUESTION In Windows 7, the Start Bar shows the most recently used programs and there are shortcuts to the most recent used documents.

I can't find anything in Windows 8 similar to this. Is there anything which will allow me to see most recent documents that have been viewed?

HELPROOM ANSWER Windows 8 doesn't have the Windows 7-style Start menu, but it does maintain lists of recently used items in a similar way.

If you're using Windows File Explorer, Windows will, by default, add an item to your favourites called "Recent Places". Clicking on this will show you your most frequently-accessed folders. You can also add a "Recent items" link in your favourites, which will contain your most recently-accessed files.

To do this, open up a File explorer window and type the following into the address bar:

%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\

This should take you to a folder containing an icon titled, "Recent items". Drag this over to your favourites and you'll be able to access it quickly from any File Explorer menu. You can create a tile for this icon on your Start Screen by right-clicking it and selecting "Pin to Start".

Windows offers other ways to access recent files and documents:

If you're using the traditional desktop and you have File Explorer pinned to your Task Bar, you can right-click on the File Explorer icon to see a list of recently used and frequently used folders. The same system works for other pinned icons, which will maintain their own lists of frequently accessed documents.

So, for example, if you have Microsoft Word pinned to the Task Bar, you can right-click the icon to quickly access recently-used Word files. This is exactly the same as in Windows 7.

If you wish, you could install one of the available Start Menu utilities available for Windows 8, such as Stardock Start8 or Classic Shell, which will add a Windows 7 Start Menu to your Windows 8 desktop, complete with the old-style Recent Items option.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor and Windows 8 Advisor for more Windows advice. Or email our Helproom Editor for bespoke advice.

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