Sunday, June 23, 2013

How Much Information Are You Unwittingly Sharing Electronically?

Microsoft Word keeps metadata for your original Word document intact. The following came from a recent discussion among members of Internet Writing Workshop about Metadata, PRISM, and Big Data.

If you share your Word documents electronically, you should remove certain data.
According to Microsoft, some of the metadata that may be stored by Word and other Office programs include:

- 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
- 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

None of this is to promote paranoia -- just to warn you about private information you may inadvertently give away when you share electronic documents.

MSWord 2010 and 2013 have the Document Inspector (under the File tab, Prepare For Sharing). You can find information on using the File Inspector here.

Also, you can buy software that scrubs all metadata out of Word documents.