A Guide to Removing Personal Information From Word Documents

An open book with a lot of the text blacked out with a marker

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File sharing increases the risk that certain kinds of document metadata (stuff that's embedded in a file, often without your knowledge) could leak online. Information such as who worked on a document, who commented on a document, routing slips, and email headers are best left private.

This information works for Word 2019, 2016, Word for Mac and Word for Office365.

How to Remove Personal Information From a Word File

Document Inspector

Microsoft Word includes a tool called Document Inspector that removes personal information from your document before you share it with others. To activate it, click File > Check for Issues. In the drop-down, select Inspect Document.

Document Inspector only runs on a saved file. It'll prompt you to save your work-in-progress if you haven't manually saved a changed file.

Select the boxes to configure the inspector — ensure Document Properties and Personal Information is checked, in addition to any other tests you're interested in running — then click Inspect.

Document Inspector

Click Remove All to remove the document and author properties associated with that file.

When you next save the document, this information will be removed.

Wait until the document is completed before you remove the personal information, particularly if you are collaborating with other users because names associated with comments and document versions will change to “Author,” making it difficult to ascertain who made changes to the document.