Seeing Full File Names in the Files Menu

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 14, 2013)

If you have Excel configured to display it, the MRU file list at the bottom of the File menu can be a great help in quickly locating and opening the files you recently worked on. As hard drives get larger, and the number of folders on those hard drives increase, it can be quite easy to generate very long file names. Often, the entire path and file name is not visible in the MRU list.

There is no way to make the File menu wider than what it is; that is handled automatically by Excel and Windows. What should happen, however, is that if a full path name and file name (together) are too wide to completely fit in the MRU list, then Excel displays the first folder level, the file name, and separates the two by an ellipsis. For instance, consider the following as a full path and file name:

D:/WfW Data/Newsletters/Excel/planning/future/ideas.xls

This is too long to fit within the MRU list, so Excel shortens it as follows:

D:/WfW Data/Newsletters/Ex.../ideas.xls

If you need to know the full path name of the file, there is no way to discover it using the MRU list. For instance, hovering the mouse pointer over the MRU entry will not display the full path and file name. In fact, the best way I have seen to discover the full path of a deep-path file is to follow these steps:

  1. Using the MRU, load the file.
  2. Press F12. Excel displays the Save As dialog box.
  3. Display the full Save In drop-down list by clicking on the down-arrow to the right of the control.

Now you can see the full path to where the file is located. When you are done with the Save As dialog box, simply click on Cancel.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2229) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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