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Scrub Your Document With Microsoft Word Document Inspector

By Deborah Savadra

How to scrub your document with Microsoft Word document inspector.

You spent a lot of time getting that pleading or contract together, and now you’re ready to send it out. The last thing you want to do is inadvertently expose your prior edits or others’ comments to prying eyes. If you don’t already have a third-party metadata cleaner installed on your PC, Microsoft Word has a Document Inspector that can clean out any potentially compromising data.

Use Document Inspector to Detect and Scrub Invisible Content

Microsoft Word’s Document Inspector is a built-in feature that can check for and clean out document metadata such as comments, embedded revisions, document information (such as any editors’ names), and other invisible content and hidden text.

Document Inspector is accessible from the File tab in Microsoft Word versions 2010, 2013 and 2016 under Check for Issues > Inspect Document. In version 2007, click the Office button, then click Prepare and Inspect Document.

You’ll get a dialog box that allows you to pick and choose which metadata elements you want to inspect.

For example, if you’re using Word on any type of touch screen and you use the Ink feature to annotate your documents, you want to ensure that box is checked.

Conversely, if you want to ensure that the Document Inspector leaves any information you have embedded in your document’s headers or footers alone, uncheck that box.

Once you click the Inspect button, Document Inspector shows you what it’s found. If it finds any metadata within a particular category, it offers you the opportunity to remove it, category by category.

Dealing With Track Changes

If Document Inspector finds revision marks left by Track Changes, Document Inspector will assume that “Remove All” means “Accept All Revisions.” You may prefer to click the Close button at this point, go back to your document, turn off Track Changes, accept or reject any lingering revisions, and resave your document before coming back to Document Inspector for another round of metadata inspection.

You can click the Reinspect button if you want to double-check that everything has been removed. Otherwise, click the Close button to finish, then click Save to save your newly cleaned document.

Click here to read more of Deborah’s Microsoft Office tips.

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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Deborah Savadra Legal Office Guru Deborah Savadra

Deborah Savadra spends a lot of her time explaining technology to lawyers, mostly as editor and chief blogger at Legal Office Guru, which features Microsoft Office video tutorials and other content especially for legal professionals. Watch her quick tips videos here, and follow her on Twitter @legalofficeguru.

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