What MS Office Knows That You Don’t

by Justin Nescott 2. July 2012 16:50
  An excellent resource in Microsoft Office tips, hints, and general knowledge, Office Watch has posted multiple articles recently discussing some of the “hidden information” that is stored in Microsoft documents. Many of these problems were created from the introduction of the “Fast Save” feature, which increased the save speed of documents by saving the changes made since the last save point, rather than the entire document. With Fast Save the file remembers names, email addresses, file locations, and server names. It also stores changes made to a document, even if the person editing the file believes earlier changes were deleted. Beginning with Microsoft Office version 2007, there is a feature called “Document Inspector” that is available across most of the suite. By clicking on the Microsoft Office Button, then pointing to Prepare, and selecting Inspect Document, you can access the “Document Inspector.” This will find and remove data including comments, revisions from tracked changes, user names, email addresses, watermarks, file paths, hidden rows/columns/worksheets in Excel, clip art, text boxes, text added as notes, and much more from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. For a full list of items that will be found and removed by Document Inspector, please visit Microsoft Office’s support page. If you still use Office 2003, you can download free a Microsoft add-in that will perform the same functions as Document Inspector. As stated above, Word is not the only Office program with the Fast Save feature. Both Excel and PowerPoint contain Fast Save and should be monitored for hidden data. Even with the releases of Office 2007 and 2010, Office documents continue to track personal information. To decrease the likelihood of unintentionally disclosing information in Microsoft Office documents, use the  Document Inspector feature.   
Categories: Tech Tips