How to stop (or start) Word redlines changing to “Author” on document save

You’ve probably noticed that in certain documents, as soon as you click “Save” all of your Word redlines change color and switch from your name to “Author.”  If you’re like me, when negotiating or commenting up a document with others I prefer to “layer” redlines in different colors so everyone knows whose comments and redlines are whose. This can help avoid confusion and keep the negotiation process running as efficiently as possible. There’s nothing more frustrating than redlining a document only to find your edits changed to Author the second you save your draft. (I’ve had situations where my business team commented on a draft assuming the “Author” redlines in an agreement were my redlines, when they were really from the other side.) This author information for redlines is one example of the “metadata” that Microsoft Word saves with your document.

On the flip side, there are times you may want to remove all of the personal information in a document regarding authors (e.g., when releasing a policy or document that had multiple authors, and you don’t want to show who worked on what parts).  Word includes an option in the Trust Center which lets you remove all personal information from a document upon save.  If this option is selected, metadata (including names of redline owners) is stripped out of the document when it is saved.  If your redlines are changing to “Author” on save, it’s because this option is turned on in your document.  This is a document setting, not a global setting, so changing it for a given document changes it for that document only.

To turn on or off the removal of personal information from a document upon save in Office 2010 or 2013, follow these steps:

  1. Click on “File,” then “Options.” Image1new
  2. In the “Options” box, select “Trust Center” at the bottom of the left-hand menu.
  3. In the “Trust Center” dialog box, click the “Trust Center Settings” button. 
  4. The Trust Center should open on “Privacy Options” (if not, select it).  You’ll find what you are looking for under “Document-Specific Settings” – it’s the option “Remove personal information from file properties on save.”
  5. If it’s turned on, it will look like this. To turn it off, uncheck the box, click “OK,” and close Word Options. Your redlines should now stay as-is when you save the document.Image4checked
  6. If the checkbox and option is turned off and grayed out like in the image below, you will have to do one thing before you can turn it on, you need to first run Document Inspector by pressing the button on this screen and manually remove all metadata under “Comments, Revisions, Versions and Annotations.”   (You can run Document Inspector at any time to manually remove metadata from a Word document.)Image4uncheckedgreyedoutInspectorInspectorIsRun

7 thoughts on “How to stop (or start) Word redlines changing to “Author” on document save

    • Ashley – unfortunately I have very little experience with Mac and am not sure where this option is. I am sure if you Google it someone has found where this setting is in Word for Mac on Office 365.

  1. Is there a possibility to prevent users from accidently “removing personal information from file properties on save?”

    • Robert – I don’t believe there is any way to “lock” the setting in Word. Your best bet is to default it to “off” in the document template.

  2. I have a document that I did not change the author name in the beginning so now it just shows “Author” with my comments. It won’t let me change it back. The “remove personal information from file properties on save” is grayed out. I don’t want to inspect the document because it then removes all my comments. Suggestions? Thank you.

    • Unfortunately, the only option I can think of is to change the author name, and then go comment by comment, copy the comment text, delete the comment, insert a new comment, and paste the text. Hope this is helpful.

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