Remove hidden data and personal information by inspecting presentations

If you plan to share a copy of a PowerPoint presentation or publish it to the web, it's a good idea to review the presentation for hidden data or personal information that might be stored in the presentation or its metadata. There may be details you might not want to share publicly that you can remove before you share the presentation.

One of the ways you can look for and remove hidden information in your presentation is by using the Document Inspector feature in PowerPoint.

In this article

Find and remove hidden data and personal information

Types of hidden data and personal information

Information the Document Inspector finds and removes

Find and remove hidden data and personal information

  1. Open the presentation that you want to inspect for hidden data and personal information.

  2. On the File tab, pick Save As, and then type a name in the File name box to save a copy of your original presentation.

    Important:   It is a good idea to use the Document Inspector on a copy of your original presentation, because it isn't always possible to restore the data that the Document Inspector removes.

  3. In the copy of your original presentation, on the File tab, pick Info.

  4. Click Check for Issues, and then Inspect Document.

  5. In the Document Inspector dialog box, select the check boxes to choose the types of hidden content that you want to be inspected. For more information about the individual Inspectors, see Information the Document Inspector finds and removes.

  6. Click Inspect.

  7. Review the results of the inspection in the Document Inspector dialog box.

  8. Click Remove All next to the inspection results for the types of hidden content that you want to remove from your document.

    • If you remove hidden content from your presentation, you might not be able to restore it by clicking Undo.

    • If you want to remove hidden data and personal information from presentations you save in the OpenDocument Presentation (.odp) format, you must run the Document Inspector every time you save the presentation in this format.

Types of hidden data and personal information

Several types of hidden data and personal information can be saved in a PowerPoint presentation. While this information might not be immediately visible, it might still be there, and possible to retrieve from your presentation.

Hidden information can include the data that PowerPoint adds to a presentation to enable you to collaborate on creating the presentation with other people. It can also include information that you deliberately designate as hidden.

PowerPoint presentations can contain the following types of hidden data and personal information:

  • Comments and ink annotations    If you collaborate with other people to create your presentation, your presentation might contain items such as comments or ink annotations. This information can enable other people to see the names of people who worked on your presentation, comments from reviewers, and changes that were made to your presentation.

  • Revision tracking data   When you collaborate on a shared document that's stored in the cloud, PowerPoint 2016 for Office 365 stores data about who made changes to the document and when the changes were made.

  • Document properties and personal information     Document properties, also known as metadata, include details about your presentation such as author, subject, and title. Document properties also include information that is automatically maintained by Office programs, such as the name of the person who most recently saved a document and the date when a document was created. If you used specific features, your document might also contain additional kinds of personally identifiable information (PII), such as email headers, send-for-review information, routing slips, and file path information for publishing Web pages.

  • Invisible on-slide content     Your presentation might contain objects that are not visible because they are formatted as invisible.

  • Off-slide content     PowerPoint presentations can contain objects that are not immediately visible because they were dragged off the slide into the off-slide area. This off-slide content can include text boxes, clip art, graphics, and tables.

  • Presentation notes     The Notes section of a PowerPoint presentation can contain text that you might not want to share publicly, especially if the notes were written solely for the use of the person who is delivering the presentation.

  • Document server properties     If your presentation was saved to a location on a document management server, such as a Document Workspace site or a library based on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services, the presentation might contain additional document properties or information related to this server location.

  • Custom XML data    Presentations can contain custom XML data that is not visible in the document itself. The Document Inspector can find and remove this XML data.

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Information the Document Inspector finds and removes

In PowerPoint, the Document Inspector displays several different Inspectors that enable you to find and remove hidden data and personal information that is specific to PowerPoint presentations. For a list of the different types of hidden data and personal information that the Document Inspector can find and remove from presentations, review the following table.

If your organization customized the Document Inspector by adding Inspector modules, you might be able to check your presentations for additional types of information.

Inspector name

Finds and removes

Comments and Annotations

  • Comments

  • Ink annotations

Document Properties and Personal Information

  • Document properties, including information from the Summary, Statistics, and Custom tabs of the Document Properties dialog box

  • Email headers

  • Routing slips

  • Send-for-review information

  • Document server properties

  • Document Management Policy information

  • Content type information

  • File path for publishing Web pages

Revision Tracking Data

Data about who has edited the file and when it was edited.

This feature is only available to Office 365 subscribers who have joined the Office Insider program. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, make sure you have the latest version of Office.

Invisible On-Slide Content

  • Objects that are not visible because they are formatted as invisible

    This Inspector does not detect objects that are covered by other objects.

Off-Slide Content

  • Content or objects that are not immediately visible in a presentation because they are located outside the slide area, including:

    • Clip art

    • Text boxes

    • Graphics

    • Tables

      The Document Inspector does not detect or remove off-slide objects with animation effects.

Presentation Notes

  • Text that was added to the Notes section of a presentation

The Document Inspector cannot remove pictures that are added to the Notes section of a presentation.

Custom XML Data

  • Custom XML data that might be stored within a presentation

Information the Document Inspector finds but can't remove

The Document Inspector detects the following items that might have data that isn't visible in your presentation. It can't remove these items for you because it might cause the presentation to not work properly. You can examine each item that's found and determine if you want to remove it manually or replace it with an item that doesn't have hidden data, such as a static picture.

For these items:

The Document Inspector finds:

Embedded files or objects

Embedded files (such as an Office or Text document) or embedded objects (such as a chart or an equation) that may have data that isn't visible in your workbook. Here are examples of some object types:

  • Bitmap image objects

  • Microsoft Equation 3.0 objects

  • Microsoft Graph Chart objects

  • Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation objects

  • Microsoft Visio Drawing objects

  • Microsoft Word Document objects

  • OpenDocument Text objects

Macros or VBA code

Macro or VBA items that may have hidden data in your presentations. This includes:

  • Macros

  • VBA modules

  • COM or ActiveX controls

Document Inspector and personal data

Revision tracking data, introduced in PowerPoint 2016 build 8403 for Office 365 Insiders, illustrates a limitation of Document Inspector. For example, let's say Kelly and Linda collaborate on Presentation A in Office 365. Revision tracking data (that is, user names and the times when they made edits) is added to the presentation. If Mohammed subsequently opens Presentation A in PowerPoint 2013 and runs Document Inspector on the file to remove personal data, the Document Inspector in that version of PowerPoint won't be able to detect and remove the revision tracking data added to the presentation by the newer, Office 365 version of PowerPoint used by Kelly and Linda. Mohammed can’t remove the revision tracking data without upgrading to the current version of PowerPoint and then running Document Inspector

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