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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    I had no idea there were so many now! Does anyone have experiences to share, positive or negative, on these products? (Presented in alphabetical order by product name.)
    <UL><LI>ezClean from KKL Software

    <LI>iScrub from Esquire Innovations

    <LI>MetaDataAssistant from Payne Consulting

    <LI>MetaScrubber from BEC

    <LI>Workshare Metawall from Workshare Technology[/list]All feedback welcome and appreciated.

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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    I have only tested two of the metadata cleansers you have listed, Metadata Assistant (Payne Consulting) and Workshare Protect (I think it's the same as Metawall).

    They both do a good job of removing metadata (see this article from Law Office Computing), but I like Workshare's product for the same reason that the person who wrote the article chose Payne's product over Workshare's. He wanted the user to have lots of options, while I prefer my users to have limited options.

    Payne's Metadata Assistant has lots of options that the end-user can choose at the time that they wish to clean a document. I think this is great for those few super-users, but I have too many attorneys who would be too confused by all the choices. You could always tell them to leave the defaults alone, but it looks confusing.

    Workshare's Protect only has about 4 options for the end-user to select, so the screen looks much less cluttered. Everytime they want to send an email, Workshare Protect prompts you to remove the metadata. There is no way around this (I asked), so it's great as far as setting firm-wide policies. You can configure the settings using a configuration tool, and you can set internal messages to never be cleaned and only configure the external message options. The configuration panel works just like Workshare's DeltaView configuration (if you're familiar with that).

    We are currently in the final stages of testing Protect before rolling it out firm-wide, so I'd be happy to answer any other questions you have about Protect.

    Hope this helps,
    Becky

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    This is great feedback, thanks. Question: does the "cleaned" document get saved back into the DMS or is it just a transitional version for mailing? If it's saved back into the DMS, do you think it will work out better to add it as a new version of the original, or save it as a completely new profile? To avoid confusion on the next round of edits, I lean towards a separate profile, but nobody likes filling out profiles. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> (If you're not using a document management system, then never mind.)

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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    I use DocsOpen 3.9.5, but it's been awhile since I've worked with Payne's Metadata Assistant. I'm not sure how that one works with saving the document. Both Payne and Workshare will let you do a free trial - Payne's you have to ask for, though. Workshare's Protect cleans every document after you hit send (no choice), so it doesn't touch the original. If you run Protect on a document while it's in DocsOpen (by using the icon for Protect), it will clean the original document. The Protect macro in Word (or Excel or PowerPoint) is added by a template file (.dot) in your startup directory, so you could disable it.

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    Okay, I see.

    > Workshare's Protect cleans every document after you hit send (no choice)

    Ah, but does it read inside zip files? Where there's a will (and a lax IT policy) there's a way. <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    It does read within zip files...it'll read up to 10 layers into a zip file, acutally. It will also read a file if you change the extention. So it knows that today.abc is really a Word document and cleans it.

    We have it set up so that Workshare's Protect cleans external documents after you hit send, but it does nothing to internal documents. I don't need Metadata removed if someone forwards me a broken document. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    I've used iScrub and Metadata Assistant. IMHO, either is adequate, but the interfaces are cumbersome.

    I had no idea Workshare had a program for this. I'm eager to check it out. Their other products are rock-solid and the interfaces are very clean and elegant.

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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    In addition to this thread I've also read several of Woody's comments in various WOW releases about removing metadata. I currently use Office 2000. Before trying the products listed in this thread I wonder if anyone can tell me how effective saving a Word document as *.rtf is in removing various metadata. I only have a few docs that need to be "scrubbed" so it seems it would be easier and cheaper to simnply convert them to rtf. Thanks.
    Will

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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    I suspect that when Word opens an RTF saved from Word, many things will reappear (just as Word stashes all sorts of things in its HTML files), but probably the best way to find out is to test. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    There is a KB that Microsoft has out that details how to minimize metadata in Word 2000 documents. You may want to check that out. It's KB237361.

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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP/03)

    Workshare has changed the name of their product to Workshare Protect. We just rolled this out to our users as part of a new image. Here are my observations:
    Automating the install was both cumbersome and problematic. We have always had numerous headaches installing Workshare products, and have been told by consultants that this is because Workshare's installs are sloppy. However, the product works fairly well once installed.
    You have a large set of options that you can configure for what is cleaned and what isn't. These options are setup through the Protect interface and are used as defaults on all outgoing email messages - you set different option on internal and external messages.
    You also have the option to convert the file to pdf before sending - this sends out just the pdf instead of the document.
    Other than the standard set of options, you can also configure Protect to display an options window before sending. If this is turned on, then you see a very limited set of options after hitting send. This is where you choose to send the file as a PDF and where you have the option of removing comments, track changes and footnotes.
    We have had a few problems with this, not all of them resolved. One problem was that Protect was stripping field codes (a choice), and this was changing all the page numbers to a single random number (that did not go over well at all!). Other problems have been harder to track. We believe that there may be a problem with PDF and .doc are both attached to the file - it may be either adding or removing some of these files. This has been very hard to track, it's not predictable, and the behavior is so erratic that we are not even 100% sure we know what is happening.
    Let me know if you have any other questions - I'd be happy to discuss it further. Oh, and Workshare just released an update that supposedly fixes the problems with the field codes, but I have not tested it yet.

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    Re: Comments on Office MetaData Cleaners? (2000/XP

    In my testing, saving to RTF will not protect you from metadata. If the file is reopened in Word all the properties will be present (statistics, author, title, etc). You may wish to test this on a single blank document. Create, Type a line, Save, Close, Reopen. The usual metadata is visible. It is the metadata you cannot normally see that is even more worrisome. Open the same document in Word, but before clicking open change "Files of Type:" to "Recover Text From Any File". You will now be able to see who edited the file (last 10 authors), editing time, where the file is saved on your hard drive, even text you have recently deleted. Metadata Cleaners do much more than clean on the surface. Woody has written a great deal on MetaData and how it has embarrassed business, governments, courts (okay that's government). You may wish to review some archived Woody's Office Watch for more detailed information.

    At my firm, I am testing Workshare Protect 3.1 SR1. Our environment is Win2k, Office 2k, iManage 6.01a, Lotus Notes 6. Workshare Protect is working well on my test computers. Where I may find an occasional glitch, Workshare is always responsive. See attached for some details about WS Protect.

    I hope my information is helpful (and accurate ... different environments may behave differently). Have a wonderful day.

    Elizabeth
    [if I made any typos/grammatical errors above, fix them mentally for me. thanks.]
    Attached Files Attached Files

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