Tool Testing-How to Minimize Metadata in Microsoft Word Documents

ToolTesting-How to Minimize Metadata in Microsoft Word Documents

ToolTesting/Validation Project-How to Minimize Metadata in Microsoft WordDocuments

Inseveral instances, individuals create, open or save a document inMicrosoft Word 97 that has contents which one does not want to shareor distribute to others electronically. Such kind of information isreferred to as metadata (Antonoff, Ong &amp Shaw, 2005). Metadata isused for a number of reasons and include editing, filing, viewing andretrieval of Office documents in Microsoft (Liu et al., 2011).Although some metadata are accessible through user interface ofMicrosoft Word, others are only accessible through unique means likeopening the files in a low binary file editor (Antonoff, Ong &ampShaw, 2005). This paper will seek to explore one specific area ofmetadata, which is removal of personal information. First it willexplain step by step way or removing personal information in generalthen give a chronology of removing in instances where an individualis connected to a network.

RemovingPersonal Summary Information

Uponcreation or saving of any document in Word, the summary informationis often saved within the document. There are a number of ways inwhich one can access the summary information. First, open thedocument under question, on the menu of tab named “File” click on“Properties” (Camarda, 2004). At times, the tabs of Summary,Contents, Statistics and Custom may as well have properties like theauthor’s name, name of the manager or even company name (Antonoff,Ong &amp Shaw, 2005). If using Windows Explorer, right click on thedocument, and then click on Properties on the shortcut menu.Subsequently, property dialog box will appear which contains thesummary information. When using Visual Basic, it is easier to readthe properties that are shown in the dialog box that pops up for themacro applications or other program code.

Inorder to clear summary information from a document that exist or atemplate, one goes through the following steps. You begin by openingthe document or template. On the tab of “File” menu that appears,click on “Properties” (Liu et al., 2011). On the Summary tab,proceed to clear the Author, Manager and Company. In case you haveany other edit boxes that you wish not to distribute, clear them too.Proceed and click on the “Custom” tab and then delete anyproperties that have information that you do not want to distribute.Upon completion, proceed to click “OK”. Go to the “File” Menuand click “Save”. After this, click “Close” on the “File”menu. Upon carrying on these steps, the document should not havesummary properties (Ferreira &amp Virmani, 2001).

RemovingPersonal Summary Information When connected to a Network

Inorder to remove the personal summary, you first need to log in to anetwork. Upon logging in to a network, there is network user namethat comes in the Author edit box at times on the Summary tab (Liu etal., 2011). In some cases, you will see it in the Statistics tab inthe field of the Last saved by user when one saves the document. Inmost cases, this is seen to be the norm even when an individualdecides to remove all their personal information from the computer(Antonoff, Ong &amp Shaw, 2005).

Inorder to do away with summary information from a document when one ison a network, they have to go through a number of chronologicalsteps. First, in any case the document is stored on a network server,and then it has to be copied to a local hard disk. Start the personalcomputer but take care not to log on to the network (Ferreira &ampVirmani, 2001). In any case the network logon dialog box appears,click on “Cancel” or press ESCAPE on the keyboard. However, ininstances where the windows cannot be started by pressing ESCAPE likewhen one is operating on Windows NT, then they cannot adhere to thechronological steps (Camarda, 2004). The steps include first, openthe document. Then on the “File” menu, advance and click on“Properties” and then the Summary tab appears. On the tab, proceed and clear the Author, Manager, Company as well as anyother edit boxes that might be containing information that one doesnot wish to distribute whatsoever (Camarda, 2004). On the “Custom”tab that appears, delete any properties that contain information thatyou do not wish to distribute. Upon completion, click on “OK”then on the “File” menu, proceed and click “Save”. Uponlogging on to the network, do not open the file, because if you doopen the file, the user name on the network may be written into thefile. Nonetheless, you may use the Windows Explorer to copy the fileto a network server or even to an external disk like a floppy disk(Camarda, 2004).

Thus,upon doing the tool testing step by step the validity of the tool orinstrument is assured. Through this, we are able to minimize metadatain Microsoft Word documents through removal of summary information ofpersons. This is very useful in forensics when extracting personalinformation of the different individuals under probe. One ensuresthat when they are connected to a network or not, the personalinformation are not visible. The study explores both when anindividual is connected to a network or not. The process can berepeated several times, like three times to ensure that the data isvalid.


Antonoff,L., Ong, K., &amp Shaw, R. C. (2005). U.S. Patent Application11/261,963.

Camarda,B. (2004). Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Word 2003. QuePublishing.

Ferreira,J., &amp Virmani, M. (2001). U.S. Patent Application 09/755,418.

Liu,L., Xiao, Y., Zhang, J., Faulkner, A., &amp Weber, K. (2011). Hiddeninformation in Microsoft word. International Journal of Security andNetworks, 6(2), 123-135.