How to View and Remove Personal Information from an Office Document

Maybe you’re not aware that your Microsoft documents also contain personal info as well as hidden data except the content. These include the user names, work duration, document’s previous versions, comments, hidden text, and metadata.  This information gets saved when you create a document in any of the Microsoft Office applications, such as MS Excel, MS Word, MS PowerPoint.

You’ll probably want to remove the personal info from your documents before sharing it. Don’t worry, Microsoft has provided the “Document Inspector” feature in all Office productivity applications that can find and display hidden data of a document. It also allows you to remove the personal information from the document you want. “Document Inspector” feature is accessible in MS Office 2019, 2016, 365 and some older versions. So, if you’re going to share a document from which you want to remove personal information, check the document type and follow the instructions given in the guide.

How to check and remove personal information from the Microsoft Word document

Removing this data does not only keeps your information secure but also if you need the same in future, then you can save a copy of hidden and personal information. Use the below points to access and use Document Inspector feature in MS Word.

1.    Launch ‘Microsoft Word’ and open the document you want to remove the personal information from. Or, directly open the document into MS Word.

2.    When the document opens, reveal the ‘File’ menu by clicking on the ‘File’ tab.

3.    Select ‘Info’ from the list. This opens the Info screen on the right.

4.    Now, open the ‘Check for Issues’ menu. Under Inspect Document heading you’ll see the content overview that it will inspect for and allow you to remove.

5.    Then click on ‘Inspect Document’. Document Inspector window will now open on your screen with the options for the content you can inspect in a Word document.

6.     Click and check the option you want to view in the document and remove.

7.    Then click ‘Inspect’ button at the bottom. The feature starts inspecting and displays the results.

8.    Now, check the information you want to remove and click the ‘Remove All’ button next to it.

9.    Click the ‘Reinspect’ button and follow the same procedure if you want to review the information. Or click ‘Close’ to quit.

Everything has been wiped out, and now your file is ready to be shared.

How to check and remove personal information from Microsoft Excel document

The procedure for inspecting and removing personal info and hidden data from an Excel spreadsheet is almost the same as Word. Here is how.

1.    Launch ‘Microsoft Excel’ and open the document you want to remove the personal information from. Or, directly open the document into MS Excel.

2.    Open the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Info’.

3.    In the Info screen on the right side, click on the ‘Check for Issues’ under Inspect Workbook heading you’ll see the content overview that it will inspect for and allow you to remove.

4.    Click on ‘Inspect Document’. Document Inspector window will now open on your screen. Hidden information can’t be removed if any spreadsheet is saved as Shared Workbook. In such a case, create a copy of the document, then open the ‘Review’ tab and disable ‘Shared Workbook’.

5.    Now, in the Document Inspector window, click and check the option you want to view in the document and remove.

6.    Then click ‘Inspect’ button at the bottom to start inspecting.

7.    In the results, check the information you want to remove and click the ‘Remove All’ button next to it.

8.    Use the ‘Close’ button to quit. Or, click ‘Reinspect’ button to recheck the document.

Once you complete cleaning the document, you can share it without sharing any personal info.

How to check and remove personal information from Microsoft PowerPoint document

Here is how can you use the ‘Document Inspector’ feature to remove personal info from a PowerPoint document.

1.    Launch ‘PowerPoint’ and open the document you’re going to share.

2.    Then select ‘Info’ from the ‘File’ tab.

3.    Select ‘Inspect Document’ from ‘Check for Issues’ menu at the right side under Inspect Presentation heading.

4.    Choose the information you want to inspect for and remove.

5.    Hit ‘Inspect’ button to start.

6.    Then click the ‘Remove All’ button of the information to delete info.

7.    Click ‘Close’ to finish.

Now, publish or share your presentation without personal info.

Enne garcia is a self-professed security expert; she has been making the people aware of the security threats. Her passion is to write about Cyber security, cryptography, malware, social engineering, internet and new media. She writes for Norton security products at norton.com/setup.

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