Inspect Documents for Hidden Text

Summary: Before distributing Word 2007 documents, inspect them for hidden text.

As mentioned on other sites such as News.Com and the BBC, Microsoft Word documents can contain many kinds of hidden text, such as:

* Document author and company information

* Revision information, including comments meant only for the document authors

* Watermarks

Distributing documents with such information could have embarrassing, if not legal, repercussions. Yours or your company’s privacy may be violated, and in some cases, document revisions have shown contracts destined for one company that were originally written for another organization, possibly a competitor.

Thus, it is highly recommended to always remove hidden text before sending document files to anyone.

Because of this growing concern, Microsoft Word 2007 contains a wizard that can remove most, if not all, hidden text from documents.

1. Save your document first. Otherwise, Word will prompt you to do so.

As noted in this tool, some changes made cannot be undone! You may wish to save a copy of the current document first, meant only for internal use. Just make sure you distribute the copy with the hidden text removed!

2. Click the “Office” button.

3. Choose “Prepare” in the left pane of the menu.

4. In the right pane, select “Inspect Document”.

Activating Word 2007’s document inspector

5. The “Document Inspector” dialog box will appear. Choose what types of items you want inspected (the default is to check for all items):

* Comments, Revisions, Versions, and Annotations
* Document Properties and Personal Information
* Custom XML Data
* Headers, Footers, and Watermarks
* Hidden Text

6. Click the “Inspect” document to begin the inspection process.

The Document Inspector finding items that may require removal

7. You will be shown whether or not items were found. To remove a particular group of items, click the “Remove All” button next to the group.

8. When done, click “Close” to close the Document Inspector.