Strip Personal Information from Word Documents

Word files contain author and company information you may not want to pass along to the public. Here's how to get rid of it.

In Microsoft Word 2002, when I select Properties from the File menu and click on the Summary tab, I see information I dont always want to share with others. For example, how do I clear the company and author lines? What if I want my e-mail to be anonymous? Is there any way to accomplish this without modifying the properties for every file?

David E.

The company and author name may be the least of your worries. Have you ever written a venomous letter and then edited it down to something less offensive? If youve enabled the fast save feature, earlier versions of your document may still be present. If the document was edited with Track Changes enabled, a name is associated with each change. Fortunately, you can get rid of all the personal information with a few simple settings.

Choose Options from the Tools menu, click on the Save tab, and uncheck the box labeled Allow fast saves. Now click on the Security tab and check the box titled Remove personal information from this file on save. In Word 2003, as shown in the screenshot above, the check boxs title is slightly different: Remove personal information from file properties on save. When you save the file, the Author, Manager, Company, and Last saved by fields are cleared. Names in comments or edits are changed to simply Author. Any routing slip or e-mail header information is also removed. If the document contains tracked changes, you may want to accept them all before saving.

The Allow fast saves option is global and is present in Word 2000 also. The Remove personal information option is specific to the current file and is present only in Word 2002 and later. If you want that option to be the default, click on the File Locations tab in the Tools | Options dialog and note the folder containing user templates. In that folder, open the file Check the Remove personal information box as noted above, then save and close the file. All new files created from this point on will have that feature enabled by default.