How to Delete Recent Files in Photoshop

Have you noticed that when you open Photoshop you are met with a visual display of your recent work? This only happens when you open Photoshop directly, if you open an image in Photoshop from elsewhere, you are taken to the workspace and miss this initial screen.

Hey there, I’m Cara and I find it kind of handy to have my recent work available at my fingertips. What if I wanted to quickly finish up what I was working on last time? It’s right there handy and I don’t have to go looking for it wherever I saved it.

However, there are some instances where you might not want to have your recent work on display. So let’s look at how to delete or hide recent files in Photoshop.

Note: I use the Windows version of Photoshop. If you are using a Mac, the workspace will look slightly different from the screenshots displayed here.

There are three tricks you can make your recent history files “invisible” in Photoshop.

Clearing the Recent File List

Clearing the recent file list is a piece of cake. All you have to do is go to File, hover over Open Recent, and choose Clear Recent File List from the bottom.

All the files currently in your recent files list will disappear. However, as you continue to work, new files will be added. If you don’t have to show recent history, you have to remember to come back and clear the list after you’ve been working on it. 

Hiding Your Recent Files

Another option is to hide your recent files from the home screen so they don’t keep popping up every time you open Photoshop.

This one is a little bit more obscure, but still an easy fix. Go to Edit, and hover over Preferences near the bottom. Choose File Handling from the list. 

At the bottom of the window that opens, you’ll see a box called Recent File List Contains. You can choose how many files will appear in the list. Set the number to 0 to hide the list of files. 

Keep in mind that this only hides the files, it doesn’t delete them. If your savvy significant other were to come snooping, all they would have to do is change this number and your recent work would reappear. 

Arranging Your Recent Files

You can also organize your recent files differently if you prefer. Click the dropdown menu next to Sort to choose how the files are sorted. The little arrow to the right of that changes the direction of the sort. 

You can also choose to display them as a list rather than as icons if you prefer. 

Finally, if you have a lot of recent files and need to dig through them quickly, you can use the Filter function.

And that’s it! 

According to the Adobe forums, removing individual recent files appears to be a much-requested feature. However, as of the time of this writing, it does not appear to be an available feature. 

But hopefully, this information will keep your secret project safe from your significant other or whatever your purpose is. Curious about other technical stuff in Photoshop? Check out how to save a vector file in Photoshop here!

About Cara Koch
Cara fell in love with photography circa 2014 and has been exploring all corners of the imagery world ever since. When she felt limited by Lightroom, she dove headfirst into Photoshop to learn how to create the images she wanted.

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  • Ryan

    One other way to remove individual files from the “Recent” section is to move the file to a new location. I add a folder to the file’s location (name it something close to the file’s name), place the file into the new folder, go back to Photoshop and click on the file in the “recent” section. Photoshop (at least on a PC) doesn’t know where the file went and removes the file from the “recent” section. You can go back to your folder and move the file back to the original location, the file won’t show up again in photoshop until you open it again. It’s a bit of a long workaround, but does work and you don’t have to clear your entire “Recent” files section.