Using Templates to Ensure Common Layout and Formatting

Remove Personal Information Before Distributing a Document

Now that you’ve created your template and used it to create your document, there is something to consider before distributing it to other reviewers. Word may add some hidden data or personal information to the document itself or to the document properties, or metadata, and you may want to remove this possibly sensitive information before distribution. To do this, use the “Document Inspector.”

NOTE: If you want to preserve the personal information in the document before removing it, save a backup copy of the document. It’s not always possible to restore data that the “Document Inspector” removes.

To use the “Document Inspector,” click the “File” tab.


On the “Info” screen, click “Check for Issues” and select “Inspect Document” from the drop-down menu.


A warning dialog box displays telling you that some data might be removed that can’t be restored later. Click “Yes” to save your file before using the “Document Inspector.”


On the “Document Inspector” dialog box, select the “Document Properties and Personal Information” check box to remove any possibly sensitive information from the document and any other type of information you want to remove. We will discuss removing comments, revisions, versions, and annotations in Lesson 3, after showing you how to use revisions (or Track Changes) and comments. Click “Inspect” once you have made your selections.


Any items you selected that were found in the document are marked with a red exclamation point. Items not found are marked with a blue circle with a white check mark. To remove the personal information, click “Remove All” in that section of the dialog box.


Once the items are removed, the red exclamation point is replaced with the blue circle with a check mark. Click “Close” to close the dialog box once you have removed everything you want to remove.

If you want to inspect the document again before closing the dialog box, click “Reinspect.”


For more information about the individual items on the Document Inspector dialog box, see Information the Document Inspector finds and removes.

Coming up Next …

And so ends Lesson 1. We hope you enjoyed it and learned a thing or two. Knowing how to create and manage templates will allow you to maintain consistent formatting when collaborating on documents. Planning ahead and creating your templates before starting on a document is the best way to simplify formatting and ensure consistency.

Here’s what you can look forward to for the remainder of this series.

Lesson 2: Keep Track of Changes Made to a Document

Use the “Track Changes” feature in Word to keep track all of all changes to the document along with the names of the reviewers and the time each change was made. This helps when collaborating with others on a single document.

If you are in charge of a document and have other people reviewing it, you can lock on the “Track Changes” feature so they are forced to track their changes. We will talk about using the “Track Changes” feature in Lesson 2.

Lesson 3: Use Comments to Indicate Changes to a Document

You can track changes you make, but what if you want to ask a question or explain a change you made? Use comments in a document to communicate with other reviewers. We will talk about everything you can do with comments in Lesson 3!

Lesson 4: Restrict and Protect a Document

When collaborating on a document, it’s useful to have other people suggest changes to both text and formatting. However, you may want to limit what they can change. Use the Restrict Formatting and Restrict Editing features to do this. You can also password protect your document to only allow certain people access. You will learn more about these features in Lesson 4!

Lesson 5: Versioning, Comparing, and Combining Documents

And, finally, in Lesson 5, we will talk about keeping track of versions of a Word document, comparing and combining documents, and sharing documents using Microsoft OneDrive!

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.