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: Protecting Hidden Text.

Protecting Hidden Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 13, 2017)

1

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:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click on the More button, if it is available. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. Position the insertion point in Find What box and make sure it is empty.
  5. Click on the Format button and choose Font. Word displays the Find Font dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Find Font dialog box.

  7. Click on the Hidden attribute check box until it has a solid black check mark in it. (You may have to click it more than once.)
  8. Click on OK. The Find Font dialog box disappears and the words "Format: Hidden" should appear just below the Find What box.
  9. Make sure the Replace With box is empty.
  10. Click on Replace All.

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 (625) 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: Protecting Hidden Text.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Smart Quotes are Incorrectly Replaced

Not able to replace smart quotes as you want? Here are some ways that you can be sure that every smart quote is changed, ...

Discover More

Vertical Lines in Word

Lines can help to organize the data on a page or make certain points clearer. Word provides several different ways you can ...

Discover More

Determining Winners, by Category

Do you need to determine the top three values in a range of columns? The techniques discussed in this tip will come in ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Smushing Text Together

Word gives you control over how your text appears on the page. This includes adjusting how close letters are to each other ...

Discover More

Adjusting the Width of Characters

Need to adjust how your characters look horizontally? Word provides an easy way you can scale the horizontal appearance of ...

Discover More

Using Non-Printing Notes

Adding notes to your document in Word is a handy tool. But what if you don't want those notes to be seen on the screen or ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 5?

2013-03-08 06:50:20

L J Silva

Hidden text is not actually protected, but rather deleted here.

How can I actually protect hidden text from being changed?




This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.