How to export a list of recently opened files from Office:MAC? 2011

ms office

I recently inherited some old mac machines and was told to look for anything important on the before formatting them.

One of the things that is installed on these machines is Office:MAC 2011, and everytime I open one of these documents I'm concerned that another falls off the recently opened list.

I'd like to save the list of recent files some how so that I don't loose anymore recently opened documents.

Is it possible to somehow export this list so I can view the list without destroying the list?

Best Answer

You can do this, but it's complicated.

The recent documents for all Microsoft office products are stored in a preferences file (plist) in each users's library:


This file is in standard plist format, and can be viewed using the plist viewer built into Xcode. If you open it up it will look something like this:

microsoft plst

The list of recent items for each application is stored in the key File MRU. The example above is for Word, which corresponds to the MSWD code. Each document compromises one numbered item under this plist key.

As you can see, unfortunately the values for these keys are binary encoded, not plain text, so you need to paste the Value strings into a Hex editor to see the file names and paths. (I use HexFiend .)

hex viewer

Bottom Line: Copy the file to a safe location. With some elbow grease, you can pull all the recent files out of this document.

You could also check out this Python script that does some of this parsing automatically, but your mileage may vary.