Find and Remove Hidden Text in Word

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If you want to remove hidden text from your Word document, you first need to find it.

For a shorter document, you can use the Show/Hide button to see what’s hidden and delete it manually, but that would be very time consuming for longer documents with lots of hidden passages. Never fear, there are a couple of ways you can hunt down those hidden passages to remove them.

Remove using Find/Replace

You can use the Find function in Word to search for all the hidden text and replace it with nothing, i.e. remove it.

Note that you will need to show all of your hidden text using Control+Shift+8 or the Show/Hide button before you search for it – the Find/Replace function won’t find it if it is still hidden.

First, open the Find and Replace dialog from the Home tab or use Ctrl + H 

Then click the More button.

Then click the Format dropdown and select Font.

Then, make sure that the Hidden box under Effects is ticked and click OK.

We now continue as if we were going to replace the hidden text with something else, but we just leave the Replace field empty so that we replace it with nothing, i.e., delete it.

We can then click Find Next and Replace to go through and remove each piece of hidden text individually, or if we’re confident that all of them do need to be removed, click Replace All to remove them all in one go.

Remove with Inspect Document

You can also use Word’s Inspect Document feature to search for any hidden text and remove it all at once. To get to this feature, we go to File | Info |Check for Issues | Inspect Document.

Now we scroll down to the bottom and tick the Hidden Text box, unticking everything else unless you want to check for some other issues at the same time.

The Document Inspector will tell you if it’s found any hidden text. Click Remove All, and all the hidden text will be gone.

Note that this method does not give you any option to view the hidden text before you remove it, so if you are at all uncertain if everything hidden needs to be removed, it’s best to use the Find/Replace method where you can view each hidden passage before you remove it.

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