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Using Document Inspector to Remove Personal Data Hidden in Microsoft Office

Document inspector can help remove unwanted hidden files.

Document inspector can help remove unwanted hidden files.

Remove Personal Data Thats Hidden with Doc Inspector

Microsoft Office produces and keeps a hidden metadata on your documents for Office, including such information as how long the document has been worked on, when creation of the document took place, documents previous versions, and name of each person that worked on it. Every time this document is sent, these details are passed on to the recipient and anybody after that in which the document is sent to. This might be okay to do in some situations, however, there are times when it can be best for your documents to be cleaned of any personal data prior to sending them on.

Information Microsoft Stores

There is several types of hidden data and personal information in which Microsoft Office automatically stores. This data is not immediately noticeable, it is not next to your document on display. It needs to be rooted out. Some information, but not all, Office documents contain include:

  • Personal Information and Document Properties. Document properties indicate metadata for the document, such as author, title, and subject. This is mostly information generated automatically by Office and is kept each time every time a document is worked on. This can include information which is related to specific features a document is used with. For example, printer paths, email headers, and file-path information.
  • Comments, versions, revision marks, and ink annotations. If there was collaboration on your document, there might be comments, revision marks, and more from the working process. Other people are able to see who worked on this document, and what changes each person made.
  • Hidden Text. Hidden text can be placed on Word documents. If you do not know if there is, Document Inspector can look for it.
  • Invisible Content. PowerPoint presentations and Excel workbooks can contain objects which were items formatted as invisible.

In many cases this content being saved does not pose any issue. There is no problems from most people that create and send documents with the use of Microsoft Office sending this information with their work.

Document Inspector for Personal Data

Select File menu in Microsoft Office, now select Info and you will see the tool for Inspect Document. To view this documents hidden metadata, select Check for Issues, then Inspect Document. Now you have a choice of what metadata you want the document examined for. If want to check for all metadata, you can leave all options selected. Finally, select Inspect. Office finally examines your document for all metadata. To remove any metadata found you must select Remove All next to it.

Prevent Metadata Being Stored

This can only be done by document specific, not multiple documents. This setting needs to be saved each time a new document is used. Go to File > Options > Trust Center > Privacy Options. Now select Remove personal information from file properties on save. Keep in mind, this only works on current documents.

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