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Remove hidden data and personal information by inspecting documents

If you plan to share an electronic copy of a Microsoft Word document with clients or colleagues, it is a good idea to review the document for hidden data or personal information that might be stored in the document itself or in the document properties (metadata). Because this hidden information can reveal details about your organization or about the document itself that you might not want to share publicly, you might want to remove this hidden information before you share the document with other people.

 

Find and remove hidden data and personal information

You can use the Document Inspector to find and remove hidden data and personal information in Word documents. It is a good idea to use the Document Inspector before you share an electronic copy of your Word document, such as in an e-mail attachment.

  1. Open the Word document that you want to inspect for hidden data and personal information.
  2. Click the File tab, click Save As, and then type a name in the File name box to save a copy of your original document.In Word 2007: Click the Microsoft Office Button Office button image , click Save As, and then type a name in the File name box to save a copy of your original document.

    IMPORTANT: It is a good idea to use the Document Inspector on a copy of your original document, because it is not always possible to restore the data that the Document Inspector removes.

  3. In the copy of your original document, click the File tab, and then click Info.In Word 2007: In the copy of your original document, click the Microsoft Office Button Office button image , point to Prepare, and then click Inspect Document. Skip step 4, and proceed to step 5.
  4. Click Check for Issues, and then click Inspect Document.
  5. In the Document Inspector dialog box, select the check boxes to choose the types of hidden content that you want to be inspected.
  6. Click Inspect.
  7. Review the results of the inspection in the Document Inspector dialog box.
  8. Click Remove All next to the inspection results for the types of hidden content that you want to remove from your document.

 

IMPORTANT: 

  • If you remove hidden content from your document, you might not be able to restore it by clicking Undo.
  • If you want to remove hidden data and personal information from documents you save in the OpenDocument Text (.odt) format, you must run the Document Inspector every time that you save the document in this format.
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