How to disappear completely.
August 15, 2011 10:43 AM   Subscribe

How do I make MS Word (2008, for Mac) actually remove the author information when I save a document as a pdf? I am submitting a paper for blind review but can't expunge the author info.

I have tried this:

Preferences-->Personal Settings-->Security-->"Remove personal information from this file on Save"

...but then when I save it as a pdf, I can always right-click the thumbnail, click Get Info, and then in the More Info pane, it says Author's Name: [my name for all to see].

I know that I can use an online pdf-creator to anonymize it, but there are diagrams in the document that come out all blurry when I do that. When I make pdfs with Word, the diagrams are nice and crisp.

What am I missing?
posted by Beardman to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm using 2007 for Windows, so I'm not sure if this option is the same, but if I click the upper-left big button, and then go to prepare, and then Properties (the first option), I can add/change/remove the author name. What happens if you remove the author name here, and then save it as a pdf?
posted by brainmouse at 10:53 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you saving it and re-opening it as a Word document after you make the changes and before you make the PDF?
posted by Gungho at 10:55 AM on August 15, 2011

Best answer: You can do this a number of ways.

If you have acrobat pro, just open it up, and under File --> Properties, the author info is right there for you to delete.

You can also just open the PDF in Textedit. PDFs are, in fact, text documents. The majority of it will be the document itself (including the images) , encoded in a bizarre series of characters. The metadata (Author, etc) is saved in plain text. If you search for your name, it should show right up. Delete your name, but not the parentheses that surround it, and save.

You can do all kinds of fun things with PDFs by opening them in a text editor, BTW.
posted by rockindata at 10:57 AM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Rockindata, thanks so much! The Textedit thing worked like a charm. How weird. Problem solved.

Btw, I discovered the reason that the privacy option in Word wasn't working.

The thing everybody says to click is "remove personal info from this file on Save". But I need to create a pdf, so I'm not clicking Save, I'm clicking Save As.

When I click Save, it does indeed expunge the author info. So ideally one should be able to save as a pdf, reopen it in Word, and then just save (with the 'remove personal info from this file on save' button clicked). However, Word doesn't seem to let you open a pdf in Word, even if you created it in Word. Or am I wrong about that?
posted by Beardman at 11:05 AM on August 15, 2011

"Remove personal information on Save" applies to Word files only. When you save it as a PDF you're technically exporting it to another format.
posted by kindall at 11:12 AM on August 15, 2011

Since it's OS X, can't you just use the Print dialog box to make a PDF? Or did you try that, and discover the Author field still populated using, say, Preview?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:18 AM on August 15, 2011

PDF is a print format Beardman. It's very close to the data that Word (or rather the printer driver that Word invokes) would send directly to a mid to high end printer. It's not designed to be edited or re-opened by a word-processor, as the process of generating the printed page inevitably eliminates the semantic information that was contained in the original file. There is software that will take a PDF and give you some sort of editable word document back, but it's a lossy process & the result will not be the same as the Word document that the PDF was generated from.
posted by pharm at 12:13 PM on August 15, 2011

Make a separate temporary copy of your word file. Open it in word, and then save it again without personal information as a word file.

Now open it a second time and save it as a PDF.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:34 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Under File>Properties you should be able to find the author field and remove it.

Also, wenestvedt's trick of printing to PDF should work.
posted by O9scar at 12:39 PM on August 15, 2011

I enjoy editing the PDF directly and putting other prominent people's names as the author. For example, were I a physicist, I would change the author attribution to "Albert Einstein".

Also, sometimes other software like for making figures embeds author information as well. Using something like textedit allows you to find and change those as well.
posted by procrastination at 12:59 PM on August 15, 2011

PDFs are databases of objects, not “text files.”
posted by joeclark at 2:06 PM on August 15, 2011

"Since it's OS X, can't you just use the Print dialog box to make a PDF? Or did you try that, and discover the Author field still populated using, say, Preview?"

If you do this, the Author field is populated with the saver's Username.
posted by Pinback at 4:28 PM on August 15, 2011

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