Scrub your Word docs with Doc Scrubber

Scrub hidden metadata from Word documents with this free tool.

When we saw the name Doc Scrubber, we pictured a surgeon with scrubbed hands raised. While BrightFort's freeware does indeed scrub docs, it sanitizes Microsoft Word DOC files, not the hands of sawbones. Doc Scrubber extracts, displays, and removes the metadata hidden in many DOC files used in earlier versions of Microsoft Word. This metadata sometimes contains personal, proprietary, or potentially embarrassing information, or even just stuff you'd rather not share or post online. Doc Scrubber lets you decide just what data it removes. It works with older versions of DOC files, not the new DOCX format, but Word 2007 and 2010 documents retain less metadata than DOCs created with Word 97, 2000, 2003, and XP, and there are other ways of dealing with them. But so many older versions of Word are still in use, and so many documents are out there, that there's a definite need for Doc Scrubber. We used it with Word 2010 with no issues, beyond the documented limitations.

Doc Scrubber's interface could hardly be simpler: a Main Menu sporting two controls, Analyze and Scrub; and three buttons labeled Donations, About, and Exit. A small view displays statistics. Clicking Analyze led to a file browser, which led (with help) to a Word document. We had no trouble locating older Word docs, but we also saved copies of newer documents in the old format to try (successfully) in Doc Scrubber. The program almost instantaneously returned a report view that we could save to a log file. The report identified a lot of information, including author and unique identifiers like GUIDS and recent hyperlinks.

We returned to the Main Menu and clicked Scrub. After selecting some options, we browsed to the document we'd just checked (the functions are separate so you don't accidentally scrub the wrong files) and clicked Next. Doc Scrubber offered 15 check boxes for designating data fields to scrub; we could also reset the Author and Company fields to predetermined entries. We made our choices and clicked Next, and Doc Scrubber did the deed, as rescanning our file proved: the metadata was gone. Doc Scrubber is recommended for all Word users.

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