That’s a LOT of hidden data…

Or, how you can use the Office Remove Hidden Data tool to compress your Word documents.

Recently I've been spending a lot of time editing Word documents with other people. This typically requires a final pass to… harmonize… the different format styles that people use. After the latest session of removing visible gunk, I got to wondering whether the new Remove Hidden Data tool could get rid of the physical gunk. A quick experiment with five different Word documents from various sources shows that yes, yes it can:

Document Before Hidden
Data Removal
After Hidden
Data Removal
Word doc #1 0.24 MB 0.17 MB 1.4 x
Word doc #2 0.39 MB 0.15 MB 2.6 x
Word doc #3 1.17 MB 0.44 MB 2.7 x
Word doc #4 1.37 MB 0.33 MB 4.2 x
Word doc #5 3.00 MB 0.51 MB 5.9 x


Fair warning: the tool happily consumed >10 minutes of CPU time on a 3 GHz Xeon for #5, and it marks the resulting file as read-only. But a compression ratio of up to 6-to-1 is not to be sniffed at!

"The Remove Hidden Data tool: it's not just for security anymore"

Update: There's a new version of the tool available, which promises “substantially increased” performance (via Roberdan)

Comments (9)

  1. None says:

    Hey, the link doesn’t work!

  2. JC says:

    yea, no workie…and it’s less than 10 hours old…

    update the link, eh?

  3. Fixed – I blame BlogJet 🙂

  4. RCH says:

    One question: Would, at the end of a drafting and re-drafting exercise, saving a document as rtf, closing and reopening it, then saving it again as .doc remove the hidden information? This would be a solution easily available without having to use the rhdtool.exe.

  5. No, the RTF route doesn’t seem to get you any benefit. For the five files above, saving the original as .rtf and then reloading the .rtf and saving again as .doc only trimmed 10-30 kB per file.

  6. Novice says:


    Can i find out what all data has been actually removed from the word document ? Or basically can i generate a snapshot of my previous work ?  

  7. test says:

    is it working ?

  8. Novice – I don’t think Word can do exactly what you want. But try the "Track Changes" feature, which lets you view deletions.

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