How to Permanently Delete Saved Microsoft Word Files

By K.C. Winslow

Updated September 28, 2017

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When you create documents in Microsoft Word, you usually save the file to a location on your computer. To delete the file, you have to move it from this location to the Recycle Bin and empty the Recycle Bin to remove it from the computer hard drive. The Microsoft website points out that you can’t delete files that are open in any application on your computer. The file has to be closed. You can delete files from within Microsoft Word.

Press the “Microsoft Office” button and highlight “Open.” If your version of Word doesn’t have the “Microsoft Office” button, open the “File” menu and select “Open.”

Navigate to the file you want to delete from the computer. Right-click on the file to bring up the contextual menu, and select “Delete.”

Go to the desktop and double-click on the Recycle Bin to open it.

Click on the file, press “Delete” and click “Yes” to permanently delete that one file. Alternatively, click “Empty the Recycle Bin” and click “Yes” to permanently delete all the files in the Recycle Bin.


Delete a Microsoft Word file without opening Microsoft Word by dragging the file from its folder to the Recycle Bin and following Step 3 and Step 4.