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)