Metadata in Your Files May Reveal Hidden Personal Information

From time to time, we at the business desk are pleased to bring you articles
that can help you to deal more effectively and efficiently with the wide
world of technology. If you are struggling to keep up or are a bit lost
when it comes to being able to do things on your own without having to ask
or pay for help then we invite you to read on.
Today we have a great little article for you;
Metadata in Your Files May Reveal Hidden Personal Information You
Didn’t Know About
We hope you find this article useful. Have a great day.
The business desk team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld


A Dan Thompson contribution

Metadata in Your Files May Reveal Hidden Personal Information You
Didn’t Know About
Updated 22. March 2014
By v.laurie

*Did you know that many files contain hidden information that may include
personal data? The hidden information is called “metadata” and it may reveal
more about you than you realize. Here is what metadata is and how to edit or
remove it.
In addition to the actual content of a file, there is information about the
contents of the file – data about the data. This type of information is
called metadata. Some of it, such as file size and date of creation, is
familiar but there is much else that may be stored as metadata. For example,
photographers are probably familiar with the fact that an image file can
have information such as the name of the photographer, when and where a
picture was taken, and details of the camera used. Some kinds of metadata
are hidden and you have to look for it to see it. Here are some ways to find

*Viewing and editing metadata from Windows (File) Explorer
Some, but not all metadata can be edited using Explorer. Right-click a file,
choose “Properties” in the context menu, and click the “Details” tab. A
window with various kinds of metadata will open. The type of metadata will
depend on the file type and what version of Windows you have. Some of the
metadata may be editable and can be deleted if you choose. For Windows 7 and
8.x, the Properties-Details window has a link at the bottom, “Remove
Properties and Personal Information”. Click this link and a dialog box will
open where you can choose any personal information to delete. For many file
types, of course, there may be nothing that is editable. The procedure is
described at this Microsoft Technet article
In Windows XP, it is possible to add a tag or comments to any file’s
metadata. See this article
for some details.
Starting with Vista. Microsoft limited the availability of editable metadata
to certain types of files such as images, music, and Microsoft Office files.

*Metadata in Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets
Office files are of particular interest since they can contain considerable
amounts of personal information. Your name, your company, name of your
computer, your collaborators, revisions, and much else may be included. Much
of this is buried in the file and you may not be aware of it.
Various versions of Office have a “Document Inspector” that allows removal
of personal data from Office documents and spreadsheets. The path depends
somewhat on which version you have but, in Office 2010/2013, Document
Inspector is opened from: File->Info->Check for Issues->Inspect Document.
When the Document Inspector dialog opens, follow the instructions on how to
delete personal data. You can also check out the detailed discussion of
removing personal data in Office documents that is given at this Microsoft
Metadata in PDF files
PDF files can contain metadata that is not discoverable by using Windows
Explorer. Instead, a PDF reader is required. Adobe Reader allows you to view
and edit certain metadata such as the author’s name. Other PDF readers will
have a way to view metadata but may or may not provide for editing or
deleting it. For example, Sumatra only allows you to view metadata. The
general procedure in PDF readers for revealing metadata is to open the menu
File-Properties. Editing PDF metadata with Adobe Reader is described at this
And there you have it – how to keep your files from revealing more than you

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.