How to Scrub Word Documents

By Anni Martin

Hidden data in a document can reveal more about you and your company than you might think. When you create a document in Microsoft Word 2010 and use track changes to review the document, those changes still exist in the document when it goes to the next person. The author's name, company and routing information also can be hidden from view in Word documents. To protect the privacy of yourself and your company, scrub hidden data in Word 2010 by using the Document Inspector.

Things You'll Need

  • Word 2010

Step 1

Start Word and open the document you want to scrub. Click the "File" tab in the left corner, then click "Save As" from the drop-down menu.

Step 2

Type a "New Name" in the File Name field to save a copy of the original document. Some documents need to use hidden data, according to Microsoft, so make a copy of the document to work with. In the copy of the document, click on the "File" tab, then click "Info."

Step 3

Click the "Prepare for Sharing" tab, then click "Check for Issues." Click "Inspect Document" to bring up the Document Inspector dialog box. There are six inspection categories; inspect the document for hidden information such as comments and revision changes, headers and footers, document server properties and custom XML. Also search for and remove personal information such as the author's name and company data. Check the categories you want inspected. If there are areas you do not want inspected, clear the check box.

Step 4

Click the "Inspect" button to inspect the document. The Document Inspector checks the document and the results are shown. A blue check mark in front of a category indicates the document was inspected, but no hidden data of that type exist. A red exclamation point shows hidden information exists in a particular category. To remove any hidden data, click the "Remove All" button to the right of the category title. The computer scrubs the data. Re-inspect the document or close the box.

Step 5

Save the scrubbed copy of the document.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you open a Word document that has been scrubbed and save it again, you may have added more hidden data. Be sure to check again, especially if you have re-enabled track changes in the meantime.
  • To remove metadata in Word 2007, click the "Microsoft Office" button, then click "Prepare." Click "Inspect Document" to bring up the Document Inspector.
  • In Word 2003, click "Tools" and then "Options." Click the "Security" tab, and check the "Remove Personal Information from File Properties on Save" check box in the Privacy options. Click "OK." You also need to turn off track changes before you start your document.