Remove Metadata for Better Document Security

In the common Office Suite, files may be created along with their metadata. Many users do not know this but everytime they create, edit, open, and save documents, they also store information within the files called as metadata. Most users do not have the intention to include this metadata but there they are, ready to be disclosed to a third party.

In its originally intent, metadata are created to have a more organized filing process. Adding metadata makes it easier for the user to edit, view, file, or retrieve his documents through the different metadata entries. Although the purpose is for the user’s benefits, the metadata can also be used to disclose information about the file’s creator. To avoid circumstances that may put the sender on harm because of metadata, it is better to remove the metadata entries. The metadata entries can be easily accessible using the user interface of the software application. However, there are also metadata that needs technical skills to retrieve.

Included to the metadata that the user can remove or edit are the name of the user, his initials, the organization or company name, name of the computer, and network server name where the document was saved. Other metadata entries that may be included to some documents are the file properties, embedded OLE objects, comments, personalized views, hidden cells and texts, template information, document version, document revision, and the name of the document’s previous authors. If not removed, these metadata can be easily acquired by a third party who knows how to retrieve metadata entries.

Anyway, there is also a way on how to remove metadata on documents. However, these processes vary depending on the software application used. There are specific guidelines in the Internet on how to remove metadata in a specific software application.