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Although most people worry about other seeing the contents of a private document, there are cases when information about a public document needs to be kept secret. For example, in the news recently, a reporter discover the name of the original author of a political document by looking at the author information stored within the document's metadata. The exposure was very embarrassing for the people who published the document, even though the document itself was public. What's in this information, where is it stored and how can you strip it out? Listen up and I'll fill you in.
I am going to start off by choosing File > Properties to display the Properties dialog for this document. If you look in the Summary tab here, you'll see that the author information appears right in the dialog. A Word user can optionally add additional information in the various fields and also in the other panes of this window. The information here is coded into the Word document file. Even if you manually remove it from this dialog it may still exist in the Word file. If change tracking was enabled at any time, a record of who edited the file might also be coded into the file.
So how do you get rid of this information? Well, there is a two privacy options to help protect your private information. I am going to click Cancel here, go under the Word menu, choose Preferences and then click Security. These two privacy options help protect your private information. The first one, Remove personal information from this file and save, strips out any personal information in the file. We'll turn that one on and click OK, and we'll save the file. I will just press Command+S.
Now let's look at the Properties dialog again. I'll pull down File, choose Properties, and you'll see sure enough all the information here is gone. It's also removed from wherever else it may have been coded into the file. Let's look at the other option. I'll click Cancel here, pull down the Word menu, choose Preferences and click Security again. This other option, Warn before printing, saving or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments, can help prevent embarrassment when a document containing editing notes is released as final.
So let's turn this on to see how it works. I'll just turn it on there, click OK, now we're back in the document. We'll save the file, Command+S. Now let's add a comment. I am just going to click in front of this word here, pull down the Insert menu, choose New Comment. There is my little comment window and I'll just type in a comment. Now I am done working with this document and I want to save it, so I will pull down File and choose Save. This dialog appears.
It says the Document being safe contains comments. Continue with save? So it's warning us that this document contains comments. If you did not want to save the document with comments you can click Cancel, you can remove the comments and then you could save it again, and if there's no comments left this dialog shouldn't appear. But if you click OK, it will save the document with the comments. It's not preventing you from saving it. it's just warning you that the document has comments. This same dialog would appear also if you tried to print the document or if you wanted to the e-mail the document to someone.
These two options in the Security preferences pane help prevent personal or editing information from getting out to people who shouldn't see it. They protect your privacy.
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