Understanding Jump Lists

by Barry Dysert
(last updated December 14, 2015)

The concept of a jump list can trace its roots back to versions of Windows that display "recent documents." The idea behind jump lists is that applications (such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Notepad, etc.) can keep track of the documents that that application has most recently accessed.

Jump lists were first introduced in Windows 7. They appear on the Start menu as well as on the Taskbar. (Actually, they only appear on the Start menu in Windows 7 and Windows 10—there is no traditional Start menu in Windows 8.) Jump lists are maintained for each application in a "circular" data structure, meaning that when a jump list gets full, opening a new document drops the oldest one off the list to make room for the new document.

For applications on the Start menu, you can tell if it has a jump list because there will be an arrow to the right of the application name. The following figure is what's currently on my Start menu. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Start Menu items.

Of the items listed, the three of them have associated jump lists: Excel 2016, Word 2016, and File Explorer. This means that I can click the right arrow beside one of the applications and see the recently opened documents associated with that application. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. A jump list for Excel 2016.

This shows the three most recently accessed workbooks for Excel 2016. Clicking on one of these will open that workbook.

Jump lists also exist for applications that are on the Taskbar. To access the jump list all you need to do is right-click the application's icon on the Taskbar. Jump lists on the Taskbar are a bit different from those on the Start menu. Here, not only do you see the files most frequently accessed with the program, but you may also see a few other options that contain frequently used commands. As before, clicking an item causes the program to respond accordingly.

 This tip (12669) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Disabling Automatic Reboot after a Windows Update

It may not always be a good thing to have Windows automatically restart your computer after an update. This tip tells you ...

Discover More

Controlling the Mouse Pointer Speed

One of the personalization settings you can control is how fast the cursor moves when you move your mouse. You can ...

Discover More

Dropbox

If you have more than one device and want to easily move files between them, Dropbox is the utility of choice. It ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Differences between Hibernate and Sleep

If you want to conserve energy or preserve your laptop's battery life, you should know about hibernate and sleep. There ...

Discover More

Should I Leave My Computer On All the Time?

Do you turn your computer on and off all the time? Do you really know if this is good for your computer or not?

Discover More

Understanding the WinX Menu

Windows provides a special menu that allows you to easily access many common tools in the operating system. Here's the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.