you send Word documents to clients or opposing counsel, an enterprising
recipient may be able to read hidden data (called "metadata.")
example, deleted paragraphs or comments may remain in the file, even
though you cannot see them on the surface of the final document.
You can minimize metadata
with a couple of simple steps when you are working in Word.
avoid the "Fast Save" feature. This feature shortens the time it
takes to save documents. Unfortunately, "Fast Save" keeps not
the new version of your document, but also the old version and a record
of all of the changes that you made. To avoid this feature, go to
"Tools," click "Options," and under the "Save" tab, be sure that there
is no check in the box for "Allow Fast Saves."
Another solution is to
avoid the "Track Changes" feature whenever you can. Finally, you
can check for hidden text under the "Tools" feature. Choose
"Options," then "View," then "Display Hidden Text." You then
should be able to see and delete much of the unwanted text in your
Microsoft says, of
course, that the best solution is to upgrade to Word 2004 when it is
released. The company also recently announced an add-in that it
says will remove metadata from Word 2003/XP®.
using earlier programs, Microsoft has posted complicated
suggestions on its website for Word 97®, Word
2000®, and Word
offer programs that more easily scrub metadata from Word
documents. Most law firms use Workshare Protect, Doc
Scrubber™, iScrub™, or Metadata Assistant. We have
not been able to locate any utilities that work with Macintosh versions
The final, and
safest, option is to convert all Word documents to PDF before them
sending them out of the office. Adobe Acrobat® is the
top-of-the line program, but is a bit expensive. Other programs
offer fewer features, but also cost less money.
the advantage here, because the most recent operating system, OS X, has
built-in capacity to convert almost any document
Windows users can
choose from programs such as PDF Camp, RoboPDF™,Win2PDF™,
or pdfFactory. Ghostview is freeware, but requires some