Protect your documents in Word 2007

Word 2007 Inside Out book cover

Microsoft Office Word 2007 Inside Out
By Katherine Murray, Mary Millhollon, and Beth Melton

Katherine Murray has authored and coauthored more than 40 computer books with several Microsoft Office titles to her credit, including Faster Smarter Microsoft Office System—2003 Edition, First Look Microsoft Office 2003, Faster Smarter Microsoft Office XP, and Microsoft Word Version 2002 Inside Out. She is also a columnist on the Microsoft Office Community site on www.microsoft.com. Katherine specializes in teaching people and businesses how to communicate effectively by using print and electronic media.

Mary Millhollon is an expert Web designer, developer, and content specialist with years of experience in the publishing industry, including books, magazines, newspapers, and courseware. She is also a writer, editor, and instructor who has authored and coauthored several popular books about Microsoft Office and the Web, including Microsoft Word Version 2002 Inside Out and Faster Smarter Web Page Creation. She is the owner of Bughouse Productions.

Beth Melton has been a computer instructor and developer since January 1995. Along with developing custom Microsoft Office solutions for a wide range of clients and instructing computer classes for local area colleges, she writes regularly on the Microsoft Office applications for Web sites including Microsoft Office Online, TechTrax Online Magazine, The Word MVP Site, and the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Beth has been a Microsoft Office MVP since 2000 and is a Microsoft Office Specialist Master Instructor.

To learn more about other books on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, see Microsoft Press Books, distributed by O'Reilly Media.

In this article


The world has changed since Microsoft Office 2003 was released several years ago. Today working with teammates across the country or around the globe is common. People check e-mail from sidewalk cafes and airports; they review and share documents from multiple places at multiple points in their day. With this kind of mobile, flexible workforce—with data flying every which way, all around, all the time—how can you make sure your documents are secure? This article introduces you to several ways in which Microsoft Office Word 2007 can help you secure your files. Document security in Office Word 2007 comes in a number of forms. Most people know the importance of employing security measures at the network level, but you can also provide data integrity by securing your information at the document level.

Protection features in Word

Word 2007 is designed to meet the reality that our workplace has changed—the global, mobile, and wireless workforce now has security concerns that standalone, desktop PC users did not have. Many of today's users need to be able to access documents in a variety of versions and share them with people all over the world, at a moment's notice. Securing sensitive documents has become more important than ever.

When you click the Microsoft Office Button and point to Prepare you'll find the following features to give you what you need to help safeguard your documents:

  • Inspect Document     When you click Inspect Document, the Document Inspector launches, enabling you to have Word review your document and point out any sensitive or personal information you might not want to share.
  • Encrypt Document     Clicking Encrypt Document lets you encrypt (which includes setting a password) your document before sending it to others.
  • Restrict Permission     Restrict Permission enables you to limit the functionality of a document while still allowing others to view it, and, if they have the necessary permissions, work with it. For example, you might want to set options that block the print or copy commands so that others cannot print copies of your document or copy and paste sections into other files.

 Note    The Restrict Permission feature is available only in 2007 Microsoft Office Ultimate, available through retail outlets, or 2007 Microsoft Office Professional Plus and 2007 Microsoft Office Enterprise, both available through volume licensing.

  • Add A Digital Signature     Add a Digital Signature enables you to authenticate your document for others by adding a digital signature directly in the document file.
  • Mark As Final     Mark as Final saves the document in its final form, as read-only, so others receiving the file will only be able to view and print the file.

In addition to the options available in the Prepare menu, Word enables you to safeguard your documents in the following ways as well:

  • The Word 2007 Trust Center     You'll find the Word 2007 Trust Center by clicking the Microsoft Office Button, choosing Word Options, and clicking Trust Center. The Word 2007 Trust Center enables you to disable macros in your Word documents, choose whether Microsoft ActiveX controls are enabled in documents you receive, and create a list of Trusted Publishers.
  • PDF and XPS formats     Support for saving your documents in PDF and XPS is available as a downloadable add-in utility, and the options will appear as choices when you point to Save As (display this by clicking the Microsoft Office Button) after you've installed the utility. PDF and XPS formats give you the means to save your formatted and finished Word documents in a platform-independent format others can view but not change.

 Tip   If you haven't installed the PDF and XPS utility, Word will display a link in place of the command that enables you to download and install the tool.

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Removing personal information and hidden data

One easy security measure you can take when sharing documents with others is to remove information you don't intend others to see. For example, you can remove personal information so that people who view your document won't be able to see the names of reviewers, the author of the document, and so forth. If your document contains other hidden information, you'll want to eliminate that information as well. If you don't delete hidden information, other people who view your document might see information you'd rather they didn't, especially if they save your Word document in another file format (because information hidden in a Word document doesn't remain hidden when a Word document is saved in another format and viewed in another application). This section shows you how to remove unnecessary personal information from documents before you share the documents with others.

 Tip   In addition to removing personal information, be sure to remove hidden text and accept or reject any tracked changes before you pass your document to others.

Removing personal information

In Word, you can easily remove the following types of personal information.

  • File properties, such as author name, manager name, company name, and last saved by information
  • Names associated with comments and revisions (Word will change reviewers' names to Author automatically)
  • Routing slips
  • E-mail message header generated when you click the E-Mail button

To remove these informational tidbits, run the Document Inspector, available in the Prepare menu. Here are the steps.

  1. With your file open, click the Microsoft Office Button and point to Prepare.
  2. Click Inspect Document.
  3. The Document Inspector dialog box appears, as you see in Figure 1. All items are selected. This means that all the listed checks will be performed automatically. If you want to skip any of the items in the list, click it to deselect it.

Document Inspector dialog box

Figure 1 The Document Inspector searches the document for sensitive, personal, or hidden information and prompts you to remove it.
  1. Click Inspect to evaluate the document. The results show you what the Document Inspector found. If hidden items were discovered, the Inspector alerts you and provides a Remove All button for each inspection type so that you can delete the unwanted information.
  2. Click Remove All to clear the unwanted items.
  3. Click Reinspect to run the Document Inspector again.
  4. When the inspection reveals no more hidden information, click Close to complete the process and return to your document.

 Notes 

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Applies to:
Word 2007