Removing hidden data in Office documents

This content is 20 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

A couple of months back, one of my clients came across an issue where they had a document which contained hidden information that they did not want to share publicly. In this instance, removing this information was proving problematic but now Microsoft have published a tool to do exactly this – the Remove Hidden Data add-in tool for Office XP and 2003.

The Remove Hidden Data add-in is a tool which may be used to remove personal or hidden data that might not be immediately apparent the document is viewed in a Microsoft Office application. Microsoft recommend that the following notes are observed when using the tool:

  • You should only run the tool when you are ready to publish your file(s). This is because some of the data that the tool removes is used by Office for collaboration features, such as Track Changes, Comments, and Send for Review;
  • You should always save to a new file name, rather than overwrite the original file with the new document, in order to preserve a copy of the document containing the original data;
  • The Remove Hidden Data add-in does not work with Information Rights Management-protected or digitally-signed files.

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