#13 Inspect Your Office Documents for Metadata Before Distribution

January 07, 2011

Take caution before distributing important digital documents. You may be inadvertantly sharing private information and metadata to others without realizing it. Learn how to remove metadata, hidden data, and revision histories from your Microsoft Office documents to prevent accidental exposure of data.

Metadata is a useful and necessary component of everyday computing. It allows us to search quickly, locate files by date or author, identify the age of a document, and much more. This valuable and sometimes confidential information is not always appropriate for distribution to people outside of your working group. Fortunately, Microsoft Office applications have an Inspect Document tool to find and remove this information.

  1. Save a new copy of your file. Removing metadata can be an irreversible process so you should work with a copy of your file.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office button, point to Prepare, and then click Inspect Document.
  3. In the Document Inspector dialog box, select the check boxes to choose the types of hidden content that you want to be inspected.
  4. Click Inspect then review the results of the inspection. Click Remove All next to the inspection results for the types of hidden content that you want to remove from your document.

For more information, view Microsoft’s detailed guide on how to Remove hidden data and personal information from Office Documents

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