they can see all the changes I’ve made. Everything I’ve deleted is struck out,
but still readable. They complain that it makes the document really hard to
read, and I’m concerned that they’re seeing possibly sensitive information. How
to I stop it from happening?
I get this all the time from one of my clients. It’s easy to turn off when
you read the document, but the fact is all your changes – the text you
deleted, perhaps over several iterations – could all still be in the document
available for anyone to read.
Even if people know how to turn it off when reading (tough many don’t), I’ll
assume you really don’t want to share your dirty laundry like that.
Let’s turn it off.
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Old, supposedly deleted, data can remain in Microsoft Word documents for two
reasons: revision tracking, and allowing fast saves.
Revision tracking is a handy feature that allows you to see
what changes were made to a document over time. It’s very valuable as the
document is being revised, and the types of changes are shared among a small
number of participants. When you’re done with your revisions, though, you want to publish your final
version, without all the changes being included.
Revision tracking, or “Track Changes” as it’s called in recent versions of
Word, is controlled by the Reviewing toolbar:
This may also appear as a toolbar near the top of your Microsoft Word
window. Since you’re having this problem, you probably have Track
Changes turned on, as indicated by the button that’s depressed on that toolbar.
You probably also have the display setting on this toolbar set to
Final, as it is in the image above, since that doesn’t show
you the changes even though it continues to track them.
When reading a document with revisions, make sure that the display setting
on the reviewing toolbar is set to Final to simply read the
final document, or Final with Revisions, to see the document
and all its changes. “Final with Revisions” happens to be the default, so
that’s what your readers are probably seeing.
To remove the change history from your document, press the drop-down arrow
next to the Accept Change button on the reviewing toolbar:
And then click on Accept All Changes In Document. Now save
your document, and the history of changes will no longer be part of the
document, and you can safely share it with others.
Fast Save is a feature that was intended to make saving
large documents faster. The technique simply writes the changes to the end
of the “.doc” file, without taking the time to write out a completely new copy.
Within Word, you’d never see the difference, and wouldn’t know that this is
There are two problems: the document’s “.doc” file on disk only gets larger
as more and more changes are made, and deleted text may still appear within
That later item has caused great embarrassment for some, since it’s possible
to see that text you thought was deleted, using tools other than Word
My advice – turn off fast save. In Tools,
Options, click on the Save tab:
Uncheck the Allow fast saves, if it is
checked. Now, when Word saves your document, it will write a fresh copy of the
entire document to disk, without any hidden surprises like text you thought you