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  1. #1
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    Remove Hidden Data - New MS Add-in (Office 2003/XP)

    This may be old news for some, but this was news to me - Microsoft has published an updated "Remove Hidden Data" add-in for Office 2003 & XP on their Download Center site. Link:

    Office 2003/XP Add-in: Remove Hidden Data

    Brief description: "With this add-in you can permanently remove hidden and collaboration data, such as change tracking and comments, from Word 2003/XP, Excel 2003/XP, and PowerPoint 2003/XP files." See web site for more detailed info & link to download the add-in. If your work entails frequent distribution of Office docs to other persons, using such a tool may be good idea.

    HTH

  2. #2
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    Re: Remove Hidden Data - New MS Add-in (Office 2003/XP)

    Mark

    The inestimable Woody wrote about it early this year, for example here. I seem to remember a discussion about the matter then?

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  3. #3
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    Re: Remove Hidden Data - New MS Add-in (Office 2003/XP)

    Guess I didn't see previous discussion in WOW. Anyway according to download site, a Version 2 of add-in is now available, published 9 July 2004. Maybe they fixed the bugs?? After reading the comments in Jan 2004 WOW, it may be good idea to wait to see if MS has fixed the bugs reported in original version of add-in.... (the MS download site of course does not allude to any known bugs in original version)....

  4. #4
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    Re: Remove Hidden Data - New MS Add-in (Office 200

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by tony55 on 14-Jul-04 21:49. Additional comments)</P>A discussion in the lounge for version 1 begins with <post#=327904>post 327904</post#>

    I have noticed the following changes since version 1

    Version 1 gave options to display prompts to let you decide what metadata would be removed, or to remove all metadata without prompts. Version 2 has 1 setting, remove all metadata it finds without prompts. The only input for version 2 is to enter a file name for the cleaned file.
    Version 2 fixes the bug that caused it to modify normal.dot every time Word was opened.
    The cleaned file saved by version 2 is set as "read only recommended" which I consider to be a good idea.

    Checking a couple of cleaned files using the "recover text from any file" gave good results with no personal data being visible. It would be useful to have a comprehensive list of what hidden data this tool does and does not remove.

    Initial impressions are that version 2 is an improvement even with the option for the user to decide what is being removed no longer being present. I uninstalled version 1 within an hour of installing it. I will keep version 2 installed (at least for now).

    Added:
    After using it a bit more I have some additional thoughts:
    Microsoft have decided to go for ease of use, I would prefer if they had given users the options to make their own choices including
    <UL><LI>Letting the user decide what data they want removed, for instance you may decide to keep some of the info in File>Properties
    <LI>Though setting "read only recommended" is a good idea, this should be down to the user to decide if they want it that way.[/list]Maybe version 3 will include some options.
    For a free tool, it is good value <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

  5. #5
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    Re: Remove Hidden Data - New MS Add-in (Office 200

    Thanx for additional info. I haven't tested the add-in yet, as my Office XP computer at home is broke.... <img src=/S/frown.gif border=0 alt=frown width=15 height=15> - and at work, we still use Office 2K. At least MS is making an effort (bugs & other shortcomings notwithstanding) to address the issue of all this hidden data that is generated in Office docs... where I work (the government) MS Office is the de facto standard, and it is safe to say, most users are blissfully unaware of the "meta-data" that may be hidden in all these files that are emailed all over the place....

  6. #6
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    Re: Remove Hidden Data - New MS Add-in (Office 200

    Thanks for your analysis Tony - we use properties as field codes - do you know if the add-in replaces these with text or do you get the "reference source not found" error. Also is it available for 2003?

  7. #7
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    Re: Remove Hidden Data - New MS Add-in (Office 200

    Hi Karen

    The add-in is for XP and 2003. The add-in removes all values that appear on the Summary tab within File>Properties but does not appear to touch those that are on the Custom tab. I do not use properties as field codes so can not answer that part of your question. The best way to find out what it does to your field codes would be to test it on some documents.

    The add-in removes the following types of data automatically.
    <UL><LI> Comments.
    <LI> Previous authors and editors.
    <LI> User name.
    <LI> Personal summary information.
    <LI> Revision marks. The tool accepts all revisions specified in the document. As a result, the contents of the document will correspond to the Final Showing Markup view on the Reviewing toolbar.
    <LI> Deleted text. This data is removed automatically.
    <LI> Versions.
    <LI> VB Macros. Descriptions and comments are removed from the modules.
    <LI> The ID number used to identify your document for the purpose of merging changes back into the original document.
    <LI> Routing slips.
    <LI> E-mail headers.
    <LI> Scenario comments.
    <LI> Unique identifiers (Office 97 documents only).[/list]Note The Remove Hidden Data tool also turns on the Remove Personal Information feature.

    The above list is an extract from the read-me file for this add-in. The full read-me file is attached.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  8. #8
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    Re: Remove Hidden Data - New MS Add-in (Office 200

    Thanks Tony - I will give it a try

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