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  1. #1
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    MS Listens to Woody: Remove Hidden Data (Office XP/2003)

    Here's a new add-in for Office XP and 2003 from Microsoft that removes hidden data (what's it doing there in the first place?) released on 1/5/2004. Did Woody's "expose" have anything to do with this? hmmmmm....... rhdtool.exe

    kip

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: MS Listens to Woody: Remove Hidden Data (Office XP/2003)

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by jscher2000 on 06-Jan-04 12:45. )</P>Good find. I wish there were better documentation on it; perhaps I'll have to download and test. The independent vendors probably will have some comments and/or comparisons soon. (See this thread for more information on scrubber products.)

    Meanwhile, everyone please note that Windows XP is the only "supported operating system" for the add-in, and that although it will install on Windows 2000, it "has not been tested" in that configuration. I find that unbelievable, but that's what it says. Perhaps some vocal complaints from large customers will help on that point.

    Update: The list of things this add-in checks is too long to reproduce, but it covers most of the things you would expect, such as revision marks, versions, and hidden text, and some things you might not:

    Word: Offers to delete headers and footers (the default button is "Keep Data" but this still is weird); hyperlinks (you get a prompt); field codes (you get a prompt to unlink them or leave them as is); and embedded objects (again, you decide whether to keep the object or a picture of it).

    Excel: Offers to delete hidden columns and rows; this could totally wreck your model so be careful!

    I only tested on two very simple documents, and reviewed the list quickly, so I'm sure many more comments will be forthcoming. One thing I see that could be considered "missing" is how highlighted text is handled in Word. If I yellow-highlight a word in my original document, and save it, then run the add-in to make a clean version, the yellow highlighting remains in the new file, it is not detected. You'll have to clean that out yourself. Something that could be considered unclear is that when a file path is encountered, even outside a field, the add-in says you have a link to another document. That one probably won't affect too many people. Hmmm...

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    Re: MS Listens to Woody: Remove Hidden Data (Office XP/2003)

    Jefferson

    Thanks for your work on this!

    Is it another example of customers "forcing" Microsoft to write a utility, which is then done with insufficient attention to detail by the programmer who happened to be free at the time and couldn't get out of the job?
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: MS Listens to Woody: Remove Hidden Data (Office XP/2003)

    > Is it another example

    No comment. <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>

    But I was corresponding with a vendor last month about a commercial metadata cleaner, and sent her the link to get a compare and contrast. Hopefully this add-in won't completely wipe out products that are more comprehensive and integrate with document management systems.

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    Re: MS Listens to Woody: Remove Hidden Data (Office XP/2003)

    This tool appears to be quite good at removing metadata but does have some shortcomings.

    When you run the tool you are presented with 2 options
    1/ Display prompts - this lets you decide what will be removed but can take a long time to run.
    2/ Do not display prompts - this uses its own default settings which you can not change. It would be more useful if there was a way to change these default settings.

    One flaw is that evertime you close Word it tells you that normal.dot has been changed and do you want to save the changes. I know this can be switched off in Tools>Options but I like to have this selected as I want to know if normal.dot has unexpectedly been changed.

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