Word allows you to hide content in your document from viewing or printing. However, if you’re going to distribute the document, any hidden text can easily be displayed and viewed by the people who will have access to your document.

Unfortunately, you can’t “lock” hidden text in Word so it can’t be viewed by others accessing your document. The best way to protect sensitive, hidden text is to remove it before distributing your document. To preserve your hidden text, save a copy of the document after removing the hidden text, keeping the original.

Hidden text is marked with a dotted underline, but it would be very time consuming to manually look for every occurrence of hidden text. We will use the Find and Replace feature to search for and remove the hidden text from the document. Press “Ctrl + H” to open the “Find and Replace” dialog box with the “Replace” tab active. Put the cursor in the “Find what” edit box. Then, click “More” to expand the “Find and Replace” dialog box, if it’s not already expanded.

Click the “Format” button at the bottom of the dialog box and select “Font” from the popup menu.

The “Find Font” dialog box displays. In the “Effects” section, click on the “Hidden” check box until there is a check mark in the check box. You may have to click on the check box more than once. Click “OK.”

On the “Find and Replace” dialog box, click “Replace All.” Your hidden text is deleted from your document.

Unfortunately, using “Find and Replace” to search for and delete hidden text does not remove it from everywhere in your document, such as in footnotes, endnotes, headers, footers, etc. It is only found in the main portion of your document.

Profile Photo for Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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