Microsoft Office logo.

Microsoft Office is packed with enabled-by-default features, like “pick up where you left off.” Some people find this feature useful, but others…not so much. If you’re willing to make a couple of quick changes to the Registry, you can disable this feature.

As the name implies, “pick up where you left off” brings you to the point you were at in a document when you last closed it. So, if you were on page 32 of your Word document when you exited the program, the next time you open it, you’ll be back on page 32—with your insertion point at the same location, too.

Microsoft didn’t provide a simple solution to disable this feature directly within the Office suite, though. If you want to disable this function, you have to do so in the Registry.

Standard Warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

First, press the Windows Key + R to open the “Run” window. Next, type Regedt32.exe and select “OK.”

This opens your Registry Editor Utility. Now, navigate to the following file path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Reading Locations

Note that “16.0” in the file path might be different depending on which version of Office you’re using. If you’re using Office 2013, you need to look for “15.0.”

The "Registry Editor" menu in Windows.

Here’s where you find the “pick up where you left off” key. If you delete the key, that only works temporarily. The key is generated automatically, so the next time you reboot your computer, it will reappear.

To disable it, right-click “Reading Locations” and select “Permissions” from the drop-down menu.

Select "Permissions."

The “Permissions for Reading Locations” menu appears. Here, click the “Advanced” button.

Select "Advanced."

The “Advanced Security Settings for Reading Locations” dialog appears. Toward the bottom, check the box next to “Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object.”

Check the box next to "Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object."

Click “Apply,” and a security message appears. Read the message and then click “Yes” to continue.

You can now click “OK” and close the Registry Editor Utility.

To make sure the feature is disabled, reboot your computer and open Word.

Profile Photo for Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
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