When you share a Word 2007 document, you might want to remove or hide confidential information. You can find the data and delete it manually, but this can lead to errors and take a lot of time. If you often need to hide sensitive data in Word 2007, there is a free add-in for Word 2007 called the Word 2007 Redaction Tool that you can use to hide text in Word 2007 documents more easily and more effectively.
The edited text appears in a new copy of the original document as a solid black bar. The text below the bar is converted to vertical lines (|||||), which prevents the edited content from being checked out under any circumstances, even if the party you are sharing with is viewing the edited document in a text editor such as Notepad.
Download the Word 2007/2010 Editing Tool from the site
The following items are required to install the Word 2007 Redaction Tool:
- .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1
- VSTO 3.0 Runtime Service Pack 1
However, you don’t need to install them separately. If any of these items are not installed on your system, the Word 2007 Redaction Tool setup will download and install them automatically. Installing these two items may cause a reboot.
Double-click the downloaded .exe file to install the add-in. Read the .NET Framework Client Profile License Agreement and click the Accept button to continue.
Read the Visual Studio Tools for Office License Agreement and click Accept to continue.
The self-extracting WinZip will open and automatically start the installation process.
The required files have been downloaded.
.NET Framework and Visual Studio Tools installed.
The Microsoft Office Customization Installer will appear asking if you really want to install this customization. Click “Install” to continue.
After successful completion of the installation, a dialog box will appear. Click Close.
NOTE. If you get an error at this point, run the downloaded setup file again. An error occurred when installing the add-in for the first time. Restarting the installation seems to have worked.
After the Word 2007 Redaction Tool is installed, an Edit group is added to the Review tab.
To edit or hide private text in a document, you first need to mark the text you want to edit. To do this, select the required text and click the “Mark” button.
If you want to mark the same text in multiple places in your document, click the arrow on the Mark button and choose Find and Mark from the drop-down menu.
The Find and Mark dialog box appears. Enter the text you want to find in the Find edit box. To see more options, click the Advanced button.
The search options appear below the buttons in the dialog box, and the More button becomes a Less button. Choose any options you want. To hide advanced options again, click the Less button. Click “Mark” to find and mark the entered text.
The dialog box displays how many occurrences of the specified text have been found and marked. Click Cancel to close the dialog box.
The selected text in the document will be grayed out.
If you have marked any text that you do not want to edit, you can select that marked text again and select Unselect from the Unselect button drop-down menu to prevent that text from being edited.
Use the Next and Previous buttons to navigate between revision marks in your document for final review.
After making sure that you have checked all the text you want to edit, choose Edit Document from the Mark drop-down menu to hide the marked text.
A new, edited version of your document is created, with the marked text replaced with black bars. When the process completes, a dialog box is displayed asking you to run the Document inspector to check and remove any hidden metadata in the document before distributing it. Click Inspect to run the test, or click Close to skip the test.
The Document Inspector dialog box appears. The different types of metadata are listed in a dialog box with a checkbox next to each item. Check the boxes for the items you want to check for metadata. Click the “Inspect” button to start checking. To close the dialog at this stage without checking, click Close.
The scan results are displayed in the Document Inspector dialog box. If any metadata was found, an exclamation mark is displayed to the left of the found item. To remove metadata from a document, click the Remove All button to the right of the item.
NOTE. The Document Inspector notes at the bottom of the dialog box that some changes cannot be undone. Make sure you want to remove the metadata before clicking the Remove All button.
The Document Inspector dialog box informs you of the changes made. Click Close.
In the new document, black bars are inserted over all personal text you select.
Remember that you cannot remove black marks from text in a new document. Make sure you save the file with a different name than the original, and share the new document and not the original. You can go back to the original document and select Remove All Marks from the Unmarked button menu to remove the marked text if desired.
To further protect your edited document, you can protect it from changes when you save it as a new document. This allows you to distribute a document that cannot be changed.
To do this, select Save As | Word document from the Office menu.
In the Save As dialog box, enter a new name for the edited copy of the document in the File Name edit box. Click the “Tools” button at the bottom and select “General Options” from the drop-down menu.
In the General Options dialog box, enter a password in the Change Password input box and select Read Only Recommended if necessary. Click OK.
A password confirmation dialog box will open. Enter the password again and click OK.
You will be returned to the Save As dialog box. Click the “Save” button to save the new, secure, edited document.
By using the Word 2007 Redaction Tool and protecting your document from changes, you can protect your confidential information and save the document when you need to redistribute it. The editing tool also works well in Word 2010. Enjoy!