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  1. Look at What's Been Hidden
  2. Eliminate Problems: Fast Saves, Personal Info, and Versions
  3. Get Serious with Metadata
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Eliminate Problems: Fast Saves, Personal Info, and Versions

There are a few things to do before you begin creating a document with sensitive information.

The first thing is to get rid of fast saves. You might not even know you're using this feature, as it's the default setting in some versions of Word. Fast saves hold in memory every old version of your document and every subsequent change you make. Most of us save our documents without thinking, playing the Ctrl+S key combo like a pianist absently striking a chord. To keep from saving metadata at the same time you save your deathless prose, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Tools, Options to open the Options dialog box; then click the Save tab.

  2. Clear the checkbox called Allow Fast Saves.

  3. Click OK.

Now, remember all that information about who the document author was, who had reviewed it, and which computers it came from? You can remove that sort of thing by changing another setting that will let you strip out personal information from your file each time you save:

  1. Choose Tools, Options to open the Options dialog box; then click the Security tab.

  2. Turn on the option Remove Personal Information from File Properties on Save.

  3. Click OK.

This action should get rid of data such as author, company, manager names, and the names of those who made comments. It will replace the names of all of these individuals with the generic term "author," thus telling those sneaky spies in your documents absolutely nothing!

You might also consider avoiding some Word features, such as versions. If you use Word's versions feature, all the drafts you save will be saved as hidden information right in your current document.

Versions are saved in Word by choosing File, Versions, Save Now. This feature lets you type notes about each version of your file and preserves information about each one, such as the date and time it was saved. If you use this feature, the versions it generates can be eliminated when you're ready to publish.

NOTE

Even when the version information is not highly private or sensitive, it's a good idea to remove past versions when you publish. Not only do you not want people browsing your drafts, but if someone opens the file in an application other than Word, these earlier versions can appear with the current text, causing confusion.

To remove the version info, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File, Versions.

  2. In the resulting dialog box, select a version from the list and click Delete until all versions are removed (see Figure 2).

  3. Save the document.

    Figure 02 Figure 2

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