Do You Know What’s Hidden In Your Word Documents? And Why Should You Care?
PRIME INFOTECH 1st April 2021 31Category: Services.(0)

Anybody who uses a computer in the course of work or play has used Microsoft Word (or one of its open-source variants) at some point.

But have you ever wondered what makes up a Word document?

How does a document get created?

What elements does a Word document contain (whether you know it or not)?

And most importantly – why should you care?

For starters, having this knowledge can protect you from a data loss event and potential damage to your finances or reputation.

Read this quick guide for more info!

What do you know about METADATA?

Your Word document is not a passive entity! When you create a Word document and start working on it, it starts creating metadata. This can include elements like comments, timestamps, tracked changes, revision marks or document properties; or even personal information like the author’s name, company details, watermarks, etc.

Metadata information is relevant to the document and can be very useful. It usually gets hidden within the file and is often forgotten. However, if it’s left in the document and the document is then shared with others, it can reveal more than the author ever intended. At best, this information can cause embarrassment. At worst, it can cause serious financial or reputational damage due to loss of market confidence, clients, or even disciplinary legal action, especially if Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is involved.

This is why getting rid of metadata is important, more so if a file will be reviewed or shared multiple times.

MULTIPLE WAYS of creating Metadata

There are as many ways of creating metadata as there are types of metadata!

Here are 10 of the most common!

Thanks to Workshare for the below information. For a cool infographic about the metadata elements mentioned below, check out this page here!

  1. Bookmarks
  2. Document statistics
  3. Endnotes
  4. Footnotes
  5. Headers & Footers
  6. Hyperlinks
  7. Redacted text
  8. White text
  9. Track changes & comments
  10. Templates

SHARING & REVIEWING Documents

When a Word document is shared and reviewed by multiple parties, the volume of metadata within it increases. This often s happen when new text is added to a file while retaining the original version or when authorship notes are added to show reviewers’ details.

If markups (from one or more reviewers) in a file are turned off and the file is shared again, all those contributions can be retrieved – very easily as it turns out – and cause embarrassment or data loss.

How to REMOVE Metadata

Now you know why it’s important to remove metadata from Word documents before they’re shared. However, doing this manually is impractical and time-consuming.

The simplest way to remove metadata from Word documents is automation.

To remove hidden metadata from Word documents, try Workshare!

Method 1: Open Word

  1. Select the Workshare tab and click Content Risk. The Document Risk Report opens, showing you which metadata is in your document.
  2. Click Remove
  3. The Advanced Options dialog opens. Select all the metadata you’d like to remove.
  4. Click OK.

Method 2: Clean directly from your computer

  1. Right-click one or more documents or folder
  2. Select Send to > Workshare Batch Clean. The Batch Clean dialog opens.
  3. Select all the metadata you’d like to remove.
  4. Click Clean.

And done!

You can also use Workshare to remove metadata from Excel and PowerPoint files.

Prime Infotech Solution is a leading reseller of all Workshare solutions that are trusted by firms all over APAC.

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