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Inspecting a Document for Personal Information


Earlier in this chapter, I showed you how to get Word to automatically prompt you for document properties because saving metadata is a good idea for most documents. However, it's not such a good idea if you are sharing a document with other people, particularly people outside of your organization. That's because the metadata might contain private or sensitive data that you probably don't want outsiders to see. This also applies to other document data, such as reviewers' comments and annotations.

Removing this kind of data by hand is not only time-consuming, but it's also easy to miss a thing or two. To help out, Word (and the other main Office 2007 programs) comes with a Document Inspector that can search for potentially private data and remove it from the document automatically. The Document Inspector can remove the following document data:

  • Document properties
  • Headers, footers, watermarks, and hidden text
  • Personal information, such as your username and your personal summary information
  • Document versions
  • Reviewer comments and annotations
  • Custom XML data

Follow these steps to use the Document Inspector:

  1. Save the document. If you want to keep an internal version that maintains the personal information, choose Office, Save As and save a copy of the document that you can then share.
  2. Choose Office, Prepare, Inspect Document. Word opens the Document Inspector.
  3. Click to deactivate the check box next to any content types you don't want to check.
  4. Click Inspect. The Document Inspector checks the document, and then it displays the results of the inspection, as shown in Figure 3.8.
    Figure 3.8

    Figure 3.8 Use the Document Inspector to look for potentially private or sensitive data before sharing a document.

  5. For each type of data you want to delete from the document, click the Remove All button.
  6. When you're done, click Close.
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