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I'm on a company Win10 v1709 using O365. To start Excel from O365, I hit win-key to open the start menu, type 'excel' and the start menu goes into search mode with excel being the top hit.

Question

Until recently, Excel's most recently used documents were displayed just below Excel. Now, the recently used documents are no longer displayed:

This is how it looks like today

I already verified

  • that "show recently opened items in jump lists on Start or the taskbar" is enabled
  • that the recently used documents are present in the office applications (when navigating to file -> open)
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  • There is a tool that can be used to clear the document list. Have you asked your IT Administrator if they wiped the list?
    – Ramhound
    Jun 28 '19 at 8:10
  • I checked with IT: No changes in policy or configuration were made. I'm unaware of a tool that can clear the list.
    – Jan
    Jun 28 '19 at 8:37
  • My Office certainly does exist. If you run the tool, and the tool does not display your documents, then somebody ran it (or they did some other activities that caused the list to be wiped).
    – Ramhound
    Jun 28 '19 at 8:40
  • I can't download the tool, but the list of recently used files exists in all office applications. The list is just no longer displayed in the start menu under the application.
    – Jan
    Jun 28 '19 at 9:42
  • From my point of view, the feature is related to Searching Windows (Cortana) and it's not available in Windows 10 version 1709. The feature Recent Items is available in Version 1809 and the latest version 1903. Jun 28 '19 at 10:16
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I finally found a clue that led me on the right path: Right-clicking on Excel in the start menu showed "recently used files", but those were not the same files that Excel->open showed as recently used. It was as if somehow Excel did no longer "tell" the Windows Start Menu to update its recently used file list.

I then proceeded to remove all files from the list in the start-menu (cf. numbers in image)

  1. right-click on excel
  2. right-click on element in the "recently used" list
  3. select "remove from this list"
  4. repeat for all entries

excel pinned to start menu

This solved the issue for me, I can now hit win-key, type "excel" and see the recently used files:

excel and recently used documents

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