I know and understand all (except one) of the points on https://logological.org/word giving reasons why we shouldn't use Microsoft Word documents as a portable way of sending files.

The only one that I didn't know was that

Microsoft Word is often configured by default to automatically track and record changes you make to a document. What many people do not realize is that this record of changes is actually silently embedded in the file every time you save your document. When you send such a document to a third party, it is a trivial matter for them to recover this log and see how the document appeared several revisions ago. Thus compromising or confidential information you thought you removed from a document before sending it may in fact still be accessible to the recipient. Indeed, there have been at least a few high-profile cases of confidential information being leaked via publically-posted Word documents.

Emphasis mine.

How can I trivially recover this log that contains the revisions?
Preferably without Microsoft Word

  • That’s partly wrong. It is not by default configured to track. Only people that click all the buttons and forget what they do end up with that unknowingly. The default is no tracking, of course.
    – Aganju
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 3:28

1 Answer 1


The Open XML Format uses zip compression technology to store documents.1

This means for Office documents with a file extension ending in "x", you can unzip them. If your context menu is setup to offer deflating anything (like with 7-Zip for Windows), right-click on the document and extract its contents.

Alternatively, you can simply rename your file by appending .zip, changing the file extension to make it more easily extractable.

Once unzipped check out the word folder. If there are comments you should see a comments file and related files. They're XML files that you can view with any text editor:

docx folder structure with view of track changes comments file

1: Track changes in Word

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