When you want to open a document in OS X that you have recently edited, you might find yourself locating it on your hard drive, or searching for it in Spotlight. Along these lines, you can also create a smart folder that only shows files that were recently edited; however, OS X contains several approaches to opening recent documents that may make this far easier to do.
The first approach is to use the Recent Items option in the Apple menu, which contains a list of the recently opened programs and documents on your system.
Another approach for the application-specific recent items is to right-click the program’s Dock icon. If the program supports recent items, then they should show in the menu, regardless of whether the program is launched. By selecting these, the program will open and display the selected document.
These approaches to accessing recent items are convenient, because they prevent you from needing to scour through the Finder to locate your recent documents. By simply accessing menus, you can likely bring up a document you were just working on, close it when finished reviewing it, and then still be able to access it without changing the organization of items on your screen.