Removing Author Information from Track Changes

The amazing @PatentSecretary has made my day by sending me a link on how to remove multiple authors from Track Changes Word documents.

This has been a pain for a while now. Firstly, Word sometimes suffers from bouts of multiple personality disorder, imagining me to be several individuals with the same name but with different Track Changes colours. Secondly, it is a pain when working in teams on a document for external use or review. It also doesn’t help that useful features are shuffled around with each version update of Word.

The advice itself comes from this very useful article by Shauna Kelly. The  bit about removing author information is set out below:

Q: I want to send my document outside the company. I want to leave tracked changes in the document, but I don’t want anyone to see who made the tracked changes or when they were made. How do I do that?

Word 2002 and earlier

In Word 2002 and earlier, you can’t. The author (or reviewer) information and the date information are permanently attached to the revision when the revision was tracked. You can’t change them, even in macro code.

Word 2003

In Word 2003, Tools > Options > Security. Tick the box “Remove personal information from file properties on save.” In spite of the name, this does more than just remove information in the file properties. If this box is ticked, Word removes the name of the author of a tracked change, and it removes the date and time that the change was made when you save your document. But it leaves the tracked change itself. All tracked changes and comments will be now attributed to an anonymous “Author”.

In Word 2007 and Word 2010

For one document at a time, you can remove the personal information about tracked changes. To do that:

  • In Word 2007: Round Office button > Prepare > Inspect Document > Inspect.
  • *In Word 2010: File > Info > Check for Issues > Inspect Document > Inspect.*

After the Inspector does its thing, you will see several ‘Remove All’ buttons.

  • The Remove All button for Comments, Revisions etc removes comments and accepts all tracked changes.
  • *The Remove All button for Document Properties and Personal Information just assigns the name “Author” to your tracked changes, and removes the date and time the tracked change. This is the one you need if you want to retain the tracked changes, but remove the author’s name and the date and time the tracked change was made.*

The Remove All button for Document Properties and Personal Information sets the ‘Remove personal information from file properties on save’ option for the document. So next time you save, your name will again be removed from tracked changes. If you don’t want that, then:

  • In Word 2010 do File > Info. In the ‘Prepare for Sharing’ section you will now see a note telling you that personal information will be removed on save. Click ‘Allow this information to be saved in your file’ to turn the setting off.
  • In Word 2007 and Word 2010 you can turn off this option in the Privacy Settings in the Trust Center. The option is greyed out and disabled unless (a) you have a document created in an earlier version of Word that used this setting or (b) you run the Document Inspector from the File (or Office Button) menu and choose to remove Document Properties and Personal Information.

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