View additional information and hidden content that has been signed

When you digitally sign a Microsoft Office document, the digital signature applies to the contents of the document, including the information in the contents of a document that might not be visible in the current view of a document. Microsoft Office programs also store some additional information within the digital signature itself. This article explains how you can view this additional information and any hidden content in the document.

For information about how to determine if a signature is valid or trustworthy, see the article How to tell if a digital signature is trustworthy.

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View additional information that is stored within a digital signature

Office programs store specific kinds of information within the digital signature, such as date and time and the Office version number of the program in which the file was created. You can view this information by viewing the details on the signature.

  1. Open the document that contains the signatures that you want to view.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, point to Prepare, and then click View Signatures.
  3. In the Signatures task pane, point to the signature that you want to view, click the arrow that appears on the right, and then click Signature Details.
  4. In the Signature Details dialog box, click the link See the additional signing information that was collected.
  5. In the Additional Information dialog box, view the information that is stored within the signature.

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Display all of the content in a digitally signed document

Sometimes there is information in the contents of the document that is not visible in the current view of the document, such as hidden text. You can determine whether a signed document contains hidden content by viewing the additional details about the signature and looking for a message at the top of the Additional Information dialog box that says that the current view of the document is not showing some things that were signed.

  1. Open the document that contains the signatures that you want to view.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, point to Prepare, and then click View Signatures.
  3. In the Signatures task pane, point to the signature that you want to view, click the arrow that appears on the right, and then click Signature Details.
  4. In the Signature Details dialog box, click the link See the additional signing information that was collected.
  5. In the Additional Information dialog box, look for the following message at the top of the dialog box:

The current view of this document is not showing some things that were signed (for example, hidden text).

  1. If you see this message, the document might be set up so that it does not display certain types of content. For example, the following types of content can be hidden in the current view of the document:
    • Headers or footers (Microsoft Office Word documents)
    • Hidden text (Word documents)
    • Drawings (Word documents)
    • Pictures (Word documents)
    • Field code values (Word documents)
    • Revision marks (Word documents)
    • Reviewer comments (Word documents or Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentations)
    • Fonts (Might have been substituted in the Word documents)
  2. Some types of hidden content can be displayed in a signed document. To display content that may be hidden in the current view of the document, do one or more of the following.
To display this type of content Do this
To display headers and footers in Word documents On the View tab, in the Document Views group, click Print Layout.
To display hidden text in Word documents Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, and then click Word Options. In the Word Options dialog box, click Display, and then under Always show these formatting marks on the screen, select the Hidden text check box.
To display drawings in Word documents Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, and then click Word Options. In the Word Options dialog box, click Advanced, and then under Show document content, select the Show drawings and text boxes on screen check box.
To display pictures in Word documents Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, and then click Word Options. In the Word Options dialog box, click Advanced, and then under Show document content, clear the Show picture placeholders check box.
To display field code values in Word documents Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, and then click Word Options. In the Word Options dialog box, click Advanced, and then under Show document content, clear the Show field codes instead of their values check box.
To display revision marks or comments in Word documents On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, point to the Display for Review arrow, and click Final Showing Markup. In the Tracking group, point to the arrow next to Show Markup, and make sure that all of the following are selected: Comments, Ink, Insertions and Deletions, Formatting, and Markup Area Highlight.

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Applies to:
Access 2007, Excel 2007, InfoPath 2007, OneNote 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Publisher 2007, Visio 2007, Word 2007