Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Protecting Hidden Text.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 3, 2018)
Hidden text is a great help to those who want to "hide" certain parts of a document, either from viewing or from printing. However, it is not very good for hiding information that you don't want others to see in a document you are distributing. They (the ones to whom you are distributing the document) can display or print hidden text just as easily as you can.
There is no built-in feature of Word that allows you to "lock" hidden text so it can't be viewed. The best solution, then, is to simply remove all your hidden text as a last step before distributing your document. You can do this by using the Search and Replace features of Word, as follows:
Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
Figure 2. The Find Font dialog box.
If you find yourself stripping out hidden text quite a bit, you can automate the process by recording a macro that performs the above steps, or you can use the following macro:
Sub StripAllHidden() Dim rngsStories As Word.StoryRanges Dim rngStory As Word.Range On Error GoTo NoDocOpen Set rngsStories = ActiveDocument.StoryRanges On Error GoTo 0 'Need to loop through all 'stories' to 'remove hidden text from footnotes, headers, 'etc. as well as body text. For Each rngStory In rngsStories With rngStory.Find .ClearFormatting .Font.Hidden = True Call .Execute(vbNullString, False, False, False, _ False, False, True, wdFindContinue, True, _ ReplaceWith:=vbNullString, _ Replace:=wdReplaceAll) End With Next Exit Sub NoDocOpen: End Sub
The other advantage of using this macro is that it will also look for hidden text in places where the regular Search and Replace function won't: footnotes, endnotes, headers, footers, etc.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12438) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Protecting Hidden Text.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!
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