Keep Your Word Documents Private

By Zarowin, Stanley | Journal of Accountancy, July 2004 | Go to article overview

Keep Your Word Documents Private


Zarowin, Stanley, Journal of Accountancy


Q. I've heard that the two latest versions of Word (XP) store the editorial changes and comments of Track Changes (the Word tool that allows various people to pose questions and make suggested changes to a document) and that, if you send the document to someone, he or she can read those comments and changes. If that's true, it's pretty scary.

A. It is true, and yes, it is scary. Recently a major public company was embarrassed when someone was able to uncover the tracked changes in one of its financial press releases. It revealed that, to make its negative news more palatable, the original document had been revised before it was released.

The good news is that, after you've finished editing a document and you're ready to distribute it, there are things you can do to eliminate all traces of the tracked changes. (For more on Track Changes, see "Collaboration Without Headaches," JofA, Mar.03, page 71).

The first thing to do after employing Track Changes--and making whatever editorial adjustments you want to make--is to turn it off. As obvious as that sounds, the reality is most people forget to do it because the tool sits quietly in the background and the only way to know it's still functioning is either to make an editorial change and see the colored type appear or to call up the Toolbar menu and see the check mark next to the Reviewing icon. …

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