Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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 February 6, 2017)
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 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Protecting Hidden Text.
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