I don't have access to Office 2008, but require the information for a project I'm working on. I'm mainly interested in Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

This is the information I have gathered so far...

The preference file is: ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.office.plist

The property keys take the form:

2008\File Aliases\{APP}{n}

2008\MRU Access Date\{APP}{n}

where {APP} represents an Office application, and {n} represents a number starting from 0.

The applications are represented by the following values:

MSWD (Word)

XCEL (Excel)

What value represents PowerPoint?

In the property list I've seen, the numbers represented by {n} range from 0-10 (11 items).

Is 10 the limit? or is this unrestrained?

Finally, I've noticed that Office 2011 does not add its Recent Items to the Apple System menu:

Apple -> Recent Items

Is Office 2008 the same?

  • 10 recent documents is the default on Mac OS X. Edit ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist (entry named NSRecentDocumentsLimit) to see if Office uses this setting for its limit. Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 5:36
  • This may provide a clue, or provide additional information in any answer. But it is worth taking into account that Office applications don't just display recent items in the menu, they also display them in a window that appears when you start one of the office applications. Another approach to gathering this info could be if someone could save, say 13 dummy documents, then look in ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.office.plist they should be able to see how many "File Alieses" were stored agains that application. @Daniel Beck Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 11:09
  • It appears that PowerPoint is represented by the value PPT3. Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


At least on my machine, this is what I'm seeing:

  1. PPT3 does appear to be the PowerPoint value
  2. I have lots of items. MSWD0, MSWD1, but then also MSWD99, MSWD109, etc. Screenshot of plist
  3. Interestingly enough, it looks like PowerPoint adds items to Apple -> Recent Items, but Word and Excel do not. Which seems crazy, but that's what's happening on my machine.

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