Microsoft Word 2010 has some great security settings but I am continually disappointed that Microsoft hides them away so they are so difficult to find.

One of these settings is crucial to enable so you don’t accidentally send a document out to a client with, for example, a comment in it saying what a idiot your client is. The revelation that you think they are an idiot might be news to them – and you’re not going to look too smart yourself.

The culprit is tracked changes. It is all to easy to have Tracked Changes enabled but to have your document show only the final version of the text. Behind the scenes every insertion and deletion is being stored in the document even if you aren’t seeing it. However the information will be accessible to anyone viewing that document – not a smart idea!

If you don’t think this is a big deal you might be interested to know that lots of smart people have been caught out by it, including Microsoft itself. This blog post showcases stories of businesses and government caught out by tracked changes.

To stop this happening to you, you can do a few things but I like the method that you set once and, from there on, Word will do the work for you. This involves having Word tell you if a document you are about to print or save has tracked changes in it. Ignore the warning at your own risk!

To configure this, choose File > Options > Trust Center and click Trust Center Settings then Privacy Options. Enable the “Warn before printing, saving or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments” checkbox.

Now, in future, Word will show a warning if a document contains tracked changes even if they are hidden from sight.

It should be on by default and it should be easier to find… but there it is… and don’t say I didn’t warn you about it.

Helen Bradley