Select the product you need help with
- Internet Explorer
- Windows Phone
- More products
How to minimize metadata in Microsoft Excel workbooks
Article ID: 223789 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q223789
This article explains the various methods that you can use to minimize the amount of metadata in your workbooks.
When you create, open, or save a workbook in Microsoft Excel, the workbook may contain content that you do not want to share with others when you distribute the workbook electronically. This information is known as metadata. Metadata is used for a variety of purposes to enhance the editing, viewing, filing, and retrieval of Office documents.
Some metadata is readily accessible through the Excel user interface. Other metadata is only accessible through extraordinary means, such as by opening a workbook in a low-level binary file editor.
The following are some examples of metadata that may be stored in your workbooks:
Metadata is created in a variety of ways in Excel workbooks. As a result, there is no single method to remove all such content from your workbooks. The following sections describe areas where metadata may be saved in Excel workbooks.
Install the Latest UpdateThe following updates are available. For additional information about these updates, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/305095/ )History of Office XP updates
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/269356/ )Overview and history of Excel 2000 updates
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/232652/ )Overview and history of Excel patches
How to Delete Your User Name from Your ProgramsTo view or change your user name, follow these steps:
How to Remove Personal Summary InformationWhen you create or save a workbook in Microsoft Excel, summary information may be saved within the workbook. There are several methods that you can use to gain access to this information:
Removing Personal Summary Information When You Are Connected to a NetworkIf you are logged on to a network, your network user name may appear in the Author edit box on the Summary tab and in the Last saved by field on the Statistics tab, when you save a workbook. This can occur even if you have removed all other personal information from your computer.
To remove summary information from a workbook when you are on a network, follow these steps:
How to Remove Comments in WorkbooksMicrosoft Excel offers the ability to add comments to workbooks. Typically, comments contain the name of the person who created them.
In Microsoft Excel, comments appear as a small red triangle in the upper-right corner of a cell. To view comments, right-click the cell, and then click Delete Comment on the shortcut menu.
Any new comments that you create should not contain your user name, because you deleted it from your Options dialog box, as described in the "How to Delete Your User Name from Your Programs" section earlier in this article.
How to Delete Information from Headers and FootersHeaders and footers in workbooks may contain identifying information. To delete information from headers and footers, follow these steps:
How to Remove Hyperlinks from WorkbooksWorkbooks may contain hyperlinks to other documents or Web pages on either an intranet or the Internet. Hyperlinks usually appear as blue underlined text strings.
To manually delete a single hyperlink from a workbook, right-click the hyperlink, point to Hyperlink on the shortcut menu, and then click Remove Hyperlink.
To delete all hyperlinks in a workbook, you can use a Visual Basic for Applications macro. For additional information about how to write such a macro, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/213790/ )No menu command to select all hyperlinks within a worksheet
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/156353/ )No menu choice to select all hyperlinks
How to Remove Styles from WorkbooksWorkbooks in Microsoft Excel may include styles that contain metadata. You can remove these styles, or rename them. To do this, follow these steps:
How to Display Hidden Cells, Rows, and Columns in Microsoft Excel WorkbooksIn Microsoft Excel, it is possible to hide entire rows and columns of cells within a worksheet.
To unhide all of the cells in a worksheet, follow these steps:
Note that a cell may still have its height or width set to a very small value, making the cell hard to see. If this is the case, follow these steps:
Note that it is still possible for cell contents to be difficult to see; for example, if cell contents are formatted to use a white font in a cell with a background color that is also white. To change the font properties of selected cells, click Cells on the Format menu, and then click the Font tab.
How to Unhide Hidden Worksheets in Microsoft Excel WorkbooksWorkbooks in Microsoft Excel may contain hidden sheets that contain information. To unhide sheets, point to Sheet on the Format menu, and then click Unhide. If a sheet is hidden, you can select the sheet and click OK.
Note If the Unhide command is unavailable, there are either no hidden sheets, or your workbook is protected. On the Tools menu, point to Protection, and then click Unprotect Workbook. If you are prompted for a password, type it to unprotect the workbook.
How to Remove Links from Microsoft Excel WorkbooksMicrosoft Excel workbooks may contain formulas that link to cells in other workbooks. If you send a workbook that contains links to another user, they will be able to determine the names of the other workbooks by using the Links dialog box.
To remove links from a workbook, you must remove all references to other workbooks from formulas in your workbook. One way to do this is to follow these steps:
Another method for removing links to other workbooks is to convert formulas into their results. To do this, follow these steps:
How to Remove Tracked Changes from Shared Microsoft Excel WorkbooksMicrosoft Excel includes a Track Changes feature that allows you to track changes made to a shared workbook by a user. To remove tracked changes from a workbook, follow these steps:
How to Delete Views from Microsoft Excel WorkbooksCustom views in Microsoft Excel workbooks may contain your name, particularly if you are using shared workbooks.
To delete views from a workbook, follow these steps:
How to Delete Routing Slip Information from a WorkbookIf you send a workbook through e-mail by using a routing slip, routing information may be attached to the workbook. To remove this information from the workbook, you must save the workbook in a format that does not retain routing slip information.
In Microsoft Excel, save your workbook in an older file format, such as SYLK, Excel 4.0, or Lotus 1-2-3 format. Close the workbook, and then reopen the new file. Because the routing slip information is no longer present, you can now save your file as a Microsoft Excel workbook.
You can also follow these steps:
How to Delete E-mail Address Information from a WorkbookMail Recipient information is retained in the Office document when you send mail by using the File Send option in Microsoft Office XP. Excel 2002 retains the TO, CC, and BCC e-mail addresses when you use the File Send Recipient option and the e-mail header is activated in place for the document.
To remove this information, follow these steps:
How to Delete Your Name from Visual Basic CodeWhen you record a Visual Basic macro in Microsoft Excel, the recorded macro starts with a header that is similar to the following:
To remove your name from any macros that you have recorded, follow these steps:
How to Delete Visual Basic References to Other FilesIn the Visual Basic Editor, you can create a reference to another file. If a user opens a workbook that contains references to other files, the user can see the names of the referenced files.
To delete these references, follow these steps:
How to Delete Network or Hard Disk Information from a WorkbookWhen you save a workbook to your local hard disk or to a network server, information that identifies the local hard disk or network server may be written into the workbook.
To delete this information from the workbook, follow these steps:
Note Because of the space limitation of a floppy disk (usually 1.44 MB), this method cannot be used if the workbook file size exceeds the amount of free space on the floppy disk.
Embedded Objects in Workbooks May Contain MetadataIf you embed an object in a workbook, the object still retains its own properties, regardless of what you do to the workbook. For example, if you embed a Microsoft Word document in a Microsoft Excel workbook, the document and the workbook each have their own properties.
You can delete metadata from an embedded object by opening the object, removing any metadata, reactivating the container document (in the previous example, this is the Excel workbook), and then saving the container document.
Note When you open an embedded object in a workbook, only part of the embedded object is displayed in the workbook. The object may contain additional information that does not appear. If you want a workbook to contain only a rendering of the embedded object, and not the actual contents, follow these steps:
How to Remove Unique Identifiers from Office 97 DocumentsBecause of the design of the programs that are included in Microsoft Office 97, documents that are created or saved in Office 97 programs may contain a unique identifier. For additional information about these identifiers and how to remove them, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
222180Note This unique identifier does not exist in the later versions of Microsoft Office programs.
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/222180/ )How and why unique identifiers are created in Office documents
General Suggestions About SecurityThe following are some general suggestions that you can use to increase the level of security in your computing environment:
For More InformationFor additional information about the topics that are discussed in this article, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/223396/ )How to minimize metadata in Office documents
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/222180/ )How and why unique identifiers are created in Office documents
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314800/ )How to minimize the amount of metadata in PowerPoint 2002 presentations
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314797/ )How to minimize metadata in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/223793/ )How to minimize metadata in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290945/ )How to minimize metadata in Microsoft Word 2002
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/237361/ )How to minimize metadata in Microsoft Word 2000 documents
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/223790/ )How to minimize metadata in Microsoft Word documents