I dug through the registry back when Office 2K was first released, and discovered that there's no easy way to increase this number. If you're ambitious I found a page that lists the Registry MRU Locations [windowsxp.mvps.org]. I couldn't decipher the registry data values listed though.
The only thing I do know about this MRU value is that it's separate for each Office 2000 program. Changing the value in Word won't affect any of the other software in the package. You have to set each of them individually.
Thanks for the thoughts. There's information on clearing MRU files but nothing on setting a higher number of MRUs to display. Windows and Office hang on to a long list of MRU file shortcuts but won't display them. The only place they appear in any number is when inserting a hyperlink.
So what does everyone do to keep a couple of dozen .docs or other file shortcuts handy? I've used a Word document list with hyperlinks to active files, but it tends to get out of date. Google desktop might work to save me prowling through my Windows Explorer when the file is not amongst the allowed nine.