How to Delete Documents from Microsoft Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

To delete a document from Microsoft Word, simply locate the file in your computer’s file explorer, right-click on it, and select “Delete” from the drop-down menu. This will send the document to your computer’s recycle bin or trash. From there, you can permanently remove it by emptying the bin or trash.

After you delete the document, it will no longer be accessible from your Microsoft Word application or your file explorer. If you need to recover the document, you can do so from the recycle bin or trash as long as you have not emptied it yet.


When it comes to managing digital documents, sometimes we need to clear out the old to make way for the new. Whether you’re decluttering your files, protecting sensitive information, or simply getting rid of unwanted documents, knowing how to properly delete them from Microsoft Word is essential. This task is relevant to anyone who uses Microsoft Word for work, school, or personal projects.

It ensures your files are organized, and your digital space is clean and secure. Moreover, understanding the proper deletion process can prevent accidental loss of important documents. So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to delete those documents you no longer need, ensuring they don’t take up valuable space or pose a security risk.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Delete Documents from Microsoft Word

Before we go into the steps, note that deleting a document from Microsoft Word means that you’re removing the file from your computer’s storage. This action cannot be undone from Word once the file is removed from the recycle bin or trash. Ensure you want to permanently delete the file before proceeding.

Step 1: Locate the Document

Search for the document you want to delete in your file explorer.

Locating the document is the first crucial step. It may be in your “Documents” folder, on the desktop, or wherever you typically save your Word files. You can also search for the file by name using the search bar if you’re having trouble finding it.

Step 2: Right-Click on the Document

After locating the document, right-click on it to bring up a menu of options.

The right-click action is commonly used to access more features that are not immediately available, such as renaming, moving, or deleting a file. Make sure you right-click on the correct document to avoid deleting something important by mistake.

Step 3: Select “Delete”

From the right-click menu, choose “Delete”. This will move the document to the recycle bin or trash.

Selecting “Delete” won’t permanently remove the file from your computer—it will send it to the recycle bin or trash. Think of this as a safety net where you can recover files if you delete them accidentally.

Step 4: Empty the Recycle Bin or Trash

To permanently delete the document, empty the recycle bin (Windows) or trash (Mac).

This step is optional but recommended if you’re sure you want to remove the document completely. Just be certain there’s nothing else in the recycle bin or trash that you might want to keep before you empty it.


Frees up spaceDeleting unnecessary documents can free up valuable storage space on your computer.
Improves organizationRemoving old or irrelevant files can help keep your digital workspace organized and efficient.
Protects privacyProperly deleting sensitive documents can help protect your privacy and prevent data breaches.


Risk of accidental deletionThere’s always a risk of accidentally deleting an important document.
PermanenceOnce a document is deleted and the recycle bin or trash is emptied, it cannot be recovered easily.
Time-consumingGoing through and deleting multiple documents can be a time-consuming process.

Additional Information

When working with digital documents, it’s always a good idea to have a backup system in place. Before you delete any files from Microsoft Word, consider if you need to save a copy elsewhere, like on an external hard drive or in cloud storage. This way, you have a fallback option if you ever need the document again. Also, be mindful of shared documents.

If you’re working on a file that others have access to, deleting it could affect their work as well. Always communicate with your team before removing shared files. Deleting documents from Microsoft Word can be simple, but always take a moment to ensure that you’re making the right decision for your digital document management.


  1. Locate the document you wish to delete.
  2. Right-click on the document.
  3. Select “Delete” from the menu.
  4. (Optional) Empty the recycle bin or trash to permanently remove the document.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I delete a document by mistake?

If you delete a document by mistake, you can usually recover it from the recycle bin or trash as long as you haven’t emptied it yet.

Can I delete multiple documents at once?

Yes, you can select multiple documents by holding down the “Ctrl” key (Windows) or “Command” key (Mac) while clicking on them, then right-click and choose “Delete”.

How can I ensure the document is permanently deleted?

To ensure the document is permanently deleted, you need to empty the recycle bin or trash after deleting the file.

Is it possible to recover a document after the recycle bin or trash has been emptied?

It may be possible with specialized recovery software, but it’s not guaranteed, and it’s often a complex process.

Should I backup my documents before deleting them?

It’s always a good practice to backup important documents before deleting them, especially if there’s a chance you might need them in the future.


Deleting documents from Microsoft Word is a straightforward process that can help you keep your digital space organized and secure. However, it’s important to proceed with caution to avoid accidentally losing important files.

Always double-check before you delete and consider backing up documents you’re not entirely sure about. With the right approach, you can manage your Word documents effectively, ensuring your computer is clutter-free and your important data remains safe.

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