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How to minimize metadata in Office documents

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Whenever you create, open, or save a document in any of the programs listed at the beginning of this article, the document may contain information that you may not want to share with others if you distribute the document electronically. This information is known as "metadata". Metadata is used for a variety of purposes to enhance the editing, viewing, filing, and retrieval of Office documents.

Some metadata is readily accessible through the user interface of each Office program. Other metadata is only accessible through extraordinary means, such as opening a document in a low-level, binary file editor. The following are some examples of metadata that may be stored in your documents:
  • Your name
  • Your initials
  • Your company or organization name
  • The name of your computer
  • The name of the network server or hard disk where you saved the document
  • Other file properties and summary information
  • Non-visible portions of embedded OLE objects
  • The names of previous document authors
  • Document revisions
  • Document versions
  • Template information
  • Hidden text or cells
  • Personalized views
  • Comments

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More information

How to Remove Metadata from Your Documents

For additional information about removing metadata from your documents, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
290945 How to minimize metadata in Microsoft Word 2002
223789 XL:How to Minimize Metadata in Excel Workbooks
314800 PPT2002: How to Minimize Metadata in Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations
237361 How To Minimize Metadata in Microsoft Word 2000 Documents
314797 PPT2000: How to Minimize Metadata in Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations
223793 PPT97: How to Minimize Metadata in PowerPoint Presentations
223790 WD97: How to Minimize Metadata in Word Documents

General Suggestions About Security

To increase the level of security in your computing environment, review the following suggestions:

  • When you are not working at your computer, secure your computer with a password-protected screen saver, a power-on password, or the Windows NT Lock Workstation command.
  • If your computer has any shared folders, make sure you apply passwords to the folders, so that only authorized users can access your shares. For better security, use user-level access control, so that you can control exactly who can access your computer's shares.
  • When you delete a file, empty the Recycle Bin immediately. You may want to consider using a utility that completely erases or overwrites files when they are deleted.
  • When you back up your data, store the backup files in a secure location, such as a safe, a security deposit box, or a locked cabinet. Store one copy of your backups at a secure off-site location in case your primary location becomes unusable.
  • Important documents should be password-protected to ensure that only authorized users can open them. Your passwords should be stored in a secure, separate location.

    IMPORTANT: If you forget a password, there is no way to recover the contents of a password-protected document.
  • Do not distribute documents in electronic form. Instead, print them and distribute them. Do not use identifying elements, such as distinctive fonts, watermarks, logos, or special paper, unless necessary, for example, for a presentation.
  • E-mail is not anonymous. Do not send a document by e-mail if you are concerned about your identity being attached in any way to the document.
  • Do not send a document over the Internet by using either HTTP or FTP protocols. Information sent across these protocols is sent in "clear text". This means that it is technically possible (however unlikely) for the information to be intercepted.

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Keywords: KB223396, kbinfo, kbsecurity

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Article Info
Article ID : 223396
Revision : 7
Created on : 1/24/2007
Published on : 1/24/2007
Exists online : False
Views : 382