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: Blocking the First Sentence from File Info.

Blocking the First Sentence from File Info

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 21, 2013)

Suppose you want to type a Word document and save it, password protected. Suppose further that you intended the first sentence to capture the intended reader's attention, but you didn't want the entire world to read it.

You chose "Save As" so that you could use the Tools dropdown and the Security Options to set a password. You notice that most of your inflammatory first sentence has been placed into the filename field by default as Word always does, so you highlight the incriminating phrase and gave your document a new, innocuous name. You save it to the desktop.

Now minimize all windows and go to the desktop. Hover the mouse pointer over the icon for your new file. Up pops a window that shows the type, author and size, and, for good measure, right there in plain text for the world to see, most of the first sentence of your document—no password required!

What you are actually seeing when you hover the mouse over the icon is the document's title. This title is displayed automatically, unless you have an older version of Windows that doesn't display information balloons about files. While you can hack the Windows registry to turn off the balloons, it is easier to just get rid of the title within Word. Follow these steps:

  1. Open your document.
  2. Choose Properties from the File menu. Word displays the Properties dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Summary tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Summary tab of the Properties dialog box.

  5. Clear anything that is in the Title field, or replace the field contents with text you want displayed when the mouse is hovered over the document icon.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Save your document.

The Title property is set automatically when you first save a document. Word puts the initial document text (up to the first punctuation mark) in the Title property, and uses the same text as a suggested file name. Changing the file name when you save the document does not result in the Title property being changed; you must do is separately, as described above.

So that you don't forget to change the Title property when first saving a document, it is a good idea to configure Word to prompt you for the properties. Here are the steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Save tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The Save tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Ensure the Prompt for Document Properties check box is selected.
  5. Click OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3911) 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: Blocking the First Sentence from File Info.

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. ...

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