Cleansing Metadata from documents, PDFs and pictures...
What is Metadata ?
Simply put, metadata is data about data, or descriptive information about a file,
picture or any type of saved information that is not saved directly in the viewable
text or image. For documents and PDFs, this can include author, date created, last
date modified and editing time...
At times you may wish to remove metadata, especially before sharing files with others.
To do so, you may use the built-in Document Inspector feature in Word, or the less
comprehensive Property Tab removal in Windows 7 or 10. There are also third party
products available on the web for Metadata scrubbing. You may also print your document
to PDF which "flattens" and consolidates all document layers into one layer, essentially
removing metadata. As always, remember to check the details of your document or file
before distrubuting to make sure all metadata has been removed...
Using Word for MAC
While your document is opened in Word, select "Tools", "Protect Document", and check/select
the "Remove personal information from this file on save" located in the "Privacy"
section. Click "OK" and save your Word document.
Using Document Inspector in Word (Windows)
Microsoft provides a free Document Inspector inside Word to remove "personal or sensitive"
information before you share your document with others. This can include comments,
revision marks from tracked changes, hidden text and document properties... (see
the following link for more details -> Microsoft Support Link)
To use Document Inspector, go to File, Info and choose Inspect Document... then select
the appropriate content to inspect, and click Inspect. Then click Remove All. Remember
always to check the details of your file to make sure all metadata has been removed...
Using the Property Tab in Windows 7/10 (less comprehensive than Document Inspector)
You may also use the Property Tab in Windows 7/10 to remove file properties and personal
information from a file, but it is not as comprehensive as Document Inspector on Word
files. To use this method, right click on the file and go to Properties, then click
the Details tab. Then click Remove Properties and Personal Information at the bottom
of the tab. Check the properties you wish to remove (default is create a copy with
all possible properties removed) and click OK. As always, check the properties of
your file before distributing to make sure all metadata has been removed...
Removing Sensitive Content from PDFs - Sanitizing with Adobe X
Adobe offers various methods to inspect and remove metadata or hidden information
from PDFs... (see the following link for more details -> Adobe Help Link)
To use their tools in Adobe X, click on Tools, then Protection. Then choose Sanitize
Document and click OK. This will overwrite your existing document (or you can create
a new one) and cleanse out any metadata or hidden layers in your PDF (see the dialog
box for full list of items to be removed). This will not redact viewable information
in your PDF, but if you need that feature it is available under Tools>Protection.
And as always, check the properties of your file before distributing to make sure
all metadata has been removed...