Prepare (but Beware!) Before You Publish

This article was originally posted on October 26, 2006.

It provides users with a systematic tool for “scrubbing” a document file of hidden data, metadata, personal information, etc., as well as other options. The Document Inspector looks like this:

I think it’s a great feature, and can think of lots of business cases where users re-use a template or recycle an old deliverable from elsewhere, giving a savvy Office user the ability to see hidden data that a careless user may leave embedded in a document. They could, for example, see that:

the proposal template was actually created for a competitor

the expensive “tailored” analysis was actually prepared for someone else, with a few words and diagrams changed, etc.

the user who created the document is no longer with the firm

the original contract terms were changed by the reviewer, but the old terms are still hidden in version history (my friends in the legal business love this one).

The problem is…the tool is too rudimentary. For each category of document data above, the Document Inspector inspects it and lets you keep it all or delete it all. There is no provision for review/edit for each category. See below:

The way to work around this is apparently to inspect, view the results, close this screen, go into the first area specified by the results, make your changes, re-inspect, and do the same thing for each category. If there were a button next to each “Remove All” called “Review/Edit” that allowed a user to do go back into the document and make changes, the inspection process could be made much smoother.

OK, so it’s a new major version release, we understand this. Actually, it’s only a beta, but don’t expect new functions between now and release date. Microsoft added a great new feature, but one that is incomplete enough to provide minor headaches to users.

Originally published at

Project management, financial management, and knowledge management. Microsoft 365 aficionado, proud Sympraxian. Opinions and Philly attytood are my own.