Remove personal or hidden information

Before you give others a copy of the document, it's a good idea to review personal and hidden information, and decide whether it's appropriate to include. You may want to remove some information from the document and from the document file properties before you share the document with others.

 Note   If you save a document in a file format that can be read by a great number of programs besides Microsoft Word—for example, .txt, .htm, .mht, and .xml formats—any personal information described in this topic is easily viewed by anyone who has permission to open the file. By saving a document in a Word file format (.doc or .dot), even those individuals with permission to open the file cannot necessarily find personal information easily. For example, if changes to content are password-protected, only users who know the password can see who has been granted permission to edit certain parts of the document.

ShowWhere is personal or hidden information stored?

File Properties

These properties include Author, Manager, Company, and Last Saved By.

Some Word features use the personal information in file properties. When you remove this information, these features may not work as desired. Removing personal information affects the following features:

  • Send to Mail Recipient (for Review)
  • Tracked changes
  • Information Rights Management
  • Online collaboration
  • Document Workspace sites
  • Letters and mailings
  • Comments (names are removed)
  • Metadata-based search engines, such as FindFast and Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server search engines (documents can be indexed by limited data only, such as content and title)

Other hidden information

For example, hidden text, revised text, comments, or field codes can remain in a document even though you don’t see such information or expect it to be in the final version. If you entered personal information, such as your name or e-mail address, when you registered your software, some Microsoft Office documents store that information as part of the document. Information contained in custom fields that you add to the document, such as an "author" or "owner" field, is not automatically removed. You must edit or remove the custom field to remove that information.

Remove personal information from file properties

When you use this procedure, the following personal information is removed from your document:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Security tab.
  2. Select the Remove personal information from file properties on save check box.
  3. Save the document.

Remove other hidden information

Remove hidden information by checking the following features:

ShowTracked changes and comments

  1. To quickly display tracked changes (tracked change: A mark that shows where a deletion, insertion, or other editing change has been made in a document.) or comments (comment: A note or annotation that an author or reviewer adds to a document. Microsoft Word displays the comment in a balloon in the margin of the document or in the Reviewing Pane.), click Markup on the View menu.
  2. On the Reviewing toolbar, click Next Button image, and then click Accept Change Button image or Reject Change Button image to make the revisions permanent.
  3. Accept or reject changes until there are no more tracked changes in the document.


ShowText formatted with the Hidden attribute

ShowPrevious versions of a document

If you specified that Microsoft Word save one or more versions of your document in the same file, those versions are saved as hidden information in the document, so that you can retrieve them later. Because versions of a document are available to others and because they do not remain hidden if you or someone else saves the document in another format, you may want to remove the versions before you share the document.

  • If you want to keep the previous versions, save the current version as a separate document, and then distribute only that document.


  1. On the File menu, click Versions.
  2. Click the version of the document you want to save as a separate file.
  3. Click Open.
  4. On the File menu, click Save As.
  5. In the File name box, enter a name, and then click Save.
  • If you don't want to keep the previous versions, delete the unwanted versions, and then distribute the document.


  1. On the File menu, click Versions.
  2. Click the version of the document you want to delete.
  3. To select more than one version, hold down CTRL as you click each version.
  4. Click Delete.


Because AutoText entries are stored in files, do not use AutoText entries to store sensitive data in files that you distribute.

ShowField Codes

Do one of the following:

 Note   Because field codes can be visible to anyone reading your document, be sure that the information you place in field codes is not information that you want kept private.

ShowFast save

If you save a document with the Allow fast saves check box selected and then open the document as a text file, the document may contain information that you previously deleted. This happens because a "fast save" appends the changes you make to the end of the document; it doesn't incorporate the changes (including deleted information) into the document itself.

To completely remove the deleted information from the document, do the following:

  1. If you opened the document as a text file, close the text file and open the document as a regular Word document.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Options, click the Save tab, and then clear the Allow fast saves check box.
  3. On the File menu, click Save.

ShowRandom number to improve merge

When you compare and merge documents, Microsoft Word uses randomly generated numbers to help keep track of related documents. Although these numbers are hidden, they could potentially be used to demonstrate that two documents are related. If you choose not to store these numbers, the results of merged documents will be less than optimal.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Security tab.
  2. Clear the Store random number to improve merge accuracy check box.

ShowExceptions to document protection

If you select a part of a protected document and grant permission to edit it, this information is stored with the document. To help prevent this information from being viewed, enforce protection with a password or with document encryption.

  • In the Start enforcing protection dialog box, do one of the following:
  • Click Password, and then type and confirm a password in the boxes provided.
  • Click User authentication.

Your documents and Microsoft

Unless you send your document to Microsoft, Microsoft does not have access to any information from your document.

Applies to:
Word 2003