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Getting Rid of Hidden Text in Many Files

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Getting Rid of Hidden Text in Many Files.

Word allows you to apply many attributes to text. For instance, you can make text bold, italic, or underlined; these are all text attributes. Another attribute applicable to text is that it can be made hidden. Hidden text is often used for comments and other text not intended for inclusion in the final document.

Removing hidden text from a document is rather easy—just use Word's Find and Replace feature. You search for text with the hidden attribute turned on, and replace it with nothing, as is done in these steps:

  1. Make sure that the hidden text is visible in the document. (Choose Tools | Options | View tab and make sure the Hidden Text check box is selected.)
  2. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  3. Click the More button, if it is available. The dialog box is expanded to show more options. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  5. Make sure both the Find What and Replace With boxes are empty.
  6. With the insertion point in the Replace With box, click the No Formatting button if it is available.
  7. With the insertion point in the Find What box, click Format and choose Font. Word displays the Find Font dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Find Font dialog box.

  9. Make sure the Hidden check box has a check mark in it. (You may need to click the box twice to see an actual check mark.)
  10. Click OK to dismiss the Find Font dialog box.
  11. Click Replace All.

Lickety split, all the hidden text in the document is deleted. If you want to strip all the hidden text from a group of documents, then the only way to do it is with a macro. The macro basically needs to load each document, perform the replacements as detailed above, save the document, and close it. Any number of macros could be written to perform such a task (loading a document, processing it, and then saving it); some have been detailed in other issues of WordTips. If you need such a macro, consider this macro at the Word MVP Web site:


WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6398) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Getting Rid of Hidden Text in Many Files.

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Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!


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