MacOS – Stop Office for Mac from loading with earlier documents on top of the one I opened

macosms office

Here's an irritation that annoys me almost every working day:

  1. I need to work from a Word or Excel (for Mac, Office 2011) document.
    So, I find the document on the shared server, and open it.
  2. The document and the application opens… so far, no problem…
  3. …then, documents from my previous session open on top of the document I chose to open. The document I asked for is now buried somewhere under whatever I was working on when I last closed Word or Excel.

This always takes me by surprise because it's so different to usual application behaviour that I'm used to.

Because it's usually someone else's document I'm working from (and because it's usually first thing in the morning, and I'm really not a morning person…), I usually end up spending minutes in mild confusion looking for the content I need to work from in the wrong document, wondering why the document I just opened looks so different to how I was expecting it to look, before realising this isn't actually the document I just opened and/or remembering that Office for Mac does this.

I've found this earlier question, with some suggestions for turning Resume Previous Windows off at the OS level, or with an app-specific Apple script. If possible, however, I'd prefer to keep Resume Previous Windows on, but make sure that once the MS Office application has opened, the document I actually opened is the one that has focus, not some random* document I had open yesterday.

Is this possible? Is it possible to force MS Word 2011 and/or Excel 2011 (or all Office apps) to keep focus on the opened document when booting up after a document has been opened, without disabling Resume Previous Windows completely?

Operating system is Lion if that's relevant, and the documents are on a work MS Exchange Server the Mac is connected to.

EDIT: judging by comments, it sounds like this is a Lion thing not an Office thing. So, is there any way to keep this feature on, but make sure than whenever I open a file with an application that isn't currently running, the file I opened is the one with focus when the application starts up?

*I think it's the document that was opened first that gets focus when the app boots up. Not 100% sure though, all I know for sure is, it's usually the last document I expect.

Best Answer

What you want can be accomplished with Automator which comes with OS X.

  1. Open Automator from the Applications folder

  2. Choose New from the File menu or type ⌘-N and choose 'Application'

  3. Search Actions for Launch and drag Launch Application to the workflow on the right

  4. set the app to Word or whatever else you're having the problem with

  5. search Actions for 'Pause' and drag pause to the workflow, set it to however long it takes word to open for you (e.g. 5 seconds)

  6. search Actions for Open Finder Items and add that to the workflow.

  7. Save it as an Application, drag it to your dock and drag docs on to the icon for it when you want them to open on top of the previous Word docs.

N.B. you can also set all documents to open using your freshly created app, so you can just open them as usual, but then a delay will permanently be added to their opening.