Potentially privacy-compromising metadata such as hidden comments from reviewers, revision
marks from tracked changes, details about the author, date when a document was created,
headers, footers, watermarks, hidden text, or even custom XML data can easily be cleared from a
document. Before sharing electronic copies of files, it is a good idea to remove hidden data or
personal information that may be stored in the document or the document properties.
Microsoft offers a free “Document Inspector” for removing hidden data or sensitive information
before you share a Microsoft Office file. To remove metadata, simply open the Word document
you want to share.

If you use Microsoft Word 2019, 2016, 2013, or 2010:

  1. Select the ‘File’ tab and click ‘Save As’ to save a new copy of your original document (use the
    Document Inspector on a copy of your original document, as it is not always possible to
    restore the data once it is removed).
  2. In this new copy of your original document, select the File tab > Info > Check for Issues >
    Inspect Document.
  3. Click to select the types of hidden content you want to be inspected, and press the ‘Inspect’
  4. button.
  5. Click ‘Remove All’ next to each type of metadata that you want to remove from your
  6. Use this newly inspected copy of the document to share – do not share the original.

How to Scrub Metadata from PDFs

In Adobe Acrobat Pro, first create an identical PDF to scrub. Within that duplicate, select the “Protect a PDF” tool then click “Remove Hidden Information” to search for metadata and review which items you’d like to remove, then save and circulate the scrubbed PDF.

As with Word, you may want to keep features such as bookmarks and links, which assist the user and will likely be safe to keep.