Hide my "Track Changes"
November 27, 2008 11:37 AM   Subscribe

How do I make previous revisions, "track changes" comments, and other marginalia disappear, and be unretrievable in Word?

I have to submit an application form as a Word document. It has had extensive revisions, and comments from both authors. I am concerned that after I send it off as a .doc file, the recipients will be able to switch "Track Changes" back on, and go through the whole file history. There must be an easy way to lock my file in its definitive version, but I can't obviously find it.
posted by roofus to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Can you accept all changes, then save the doc as a new file in its pristine state?
posted by scody at 11:40 AM on November 27, 2008

Best answer: In Word 2007, if you hit the Office button and choose "Prepare" then "Inspect Document" to let the document inspector run, you will be given the option to remove all tracking from the document.

Or, if you are allowed to turn your document in in another format, you might want to save it as a PDF instead. I always do that ever since the day I accidentally turned in a resume with edits on it! So embarrassing!
posted by waywardgirl at 11:43 AM on November 27, 2008

Personally, I always print to PDF to avoid this. But there is a little metadata-removing utility you can download from microsoft.com that will strip everything. It is here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=144e54ed-d43e-42ca-bc7b-5446d34e5360&displaylang=en
posted by jeb at 11:45 AM on November 27, 2008

Response by poster: I am stuck with Word 2004 for Mac.

After I accept all comments and changes, when "Final Showing Markup" is still selected, the changes made while "Track Changes" were clicked are still visible. I've stripped out all the author details, but the types, dates and times of changes are still visible when I hover over.

I'll see if my co-author is using Word 2007, and can remove tracking.
posted by roofus at 12:01 PM on November 27, 2008

Select all then copy/paste into a new document?
posted by kenchie at 12:05 PM on November 27, 2008

i have office 2007 and i'm sitting at home doing laundry. shoot me the file if you want to and i'll strip out all the changes for you with inspect document and send it back to you. email's in profile.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:13 PM on November 27, 2008

If you select all and paste into a new document, the tracking will be pasted as well.

But, perhaps you could select all and paste into Notepad (or whatever Mac's version of Notepad is) and make it into a text file. Then copy and paste that into a new Word document. You'll have to re-format the font and all, but it should get rid of the tracking.
posted by waywardgirl at 12:14 PM on November 27, 2008

Here's how:

1.) Within Word, go to Preferences>Security
2.) Select "Remove personally identifiable information from the file on save"
3.) Select “Warn before printing, saving or sending a document
that contains tracked changes or comments”

Taken from here.

It might work to save it as rtf too.
posted by O9scar at 12:53 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Copy paste into notepad
Copy paste into new Word doc

Unfortunately this will strip all formatting. Fortunately, this will strip everything else too.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:28 PM on November 27, 2008

oops, should have read more carefully, sorry waywardgirl.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:29 PM on November 27, 2008

Saving as an .rtf should work, too, while preserving most -- usually all -- formatting.
posted by notyou at 1:33 PM on November 27, 2008

There is a commercial program called Workshare that will strip docs and warn about sending out docs with metadata attached. It is rather pricey, as its major clients are legal firms. I believe it is PC-only though.
posted by benzenedream at 2:04 PM on November 27, 2008

After you accept all changes, you could protext the document (Tools>Protect Document) which makes editing (and therefore turning of tracked changes) impossible. There's options for password protecting in there.
posted by b33j at 2:07 PM on November 27, 2008

That is to say, you should choose the "No changes (Read Only)" version of editing restrictions.
posted by b33j at 2:07 PM on November 27, 2008

...After accepting all changes and deleting comments.
posted by b33j at 2:19 PM on November 27, 2008

If you ask the NSA (704kb PDF), the thing to do is to select all, copy, and paste into a new document, then export to PDF.
posted by Mike1024 at 2:21 PM on November 27, 2008

Okay, so I fired up Word 2004 and when I tried the above trick it still kept the edits, but removed the author from them. When I accepted the changes it did remove all traces of editing, so I'm not sure why that didn't work for you.

On a whim I decided to try opening a tracked doc in Textedit. I added and removed a space, then saved it again. When I opened that one in Word, it came up clean. So there's another way to scrub your file.
posted by O9scar at 2:27 PM on November 27, 2008

Seconding save as rtf.
RTF is a document format that preserves formatting, and does not have codes for any of the other fancy stuff like change tracking and author information.
posted by Arthur Dent at 10:34 AM on November 28, 2008

Response by poster: My colleague accepted all changes in Word 2007, and now they are gone. Thanks everyone!
posted by roofus at 10:11 AM on November 29, 2008

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