With Windows Vista, Microsoft has improved the search functionality letting users tag files with metadata. But with those files, users may not realize, the tags could contain private or confidential information of businesses when sharing documents with other users or friends.
This information, when saved with your document has the potential to be visible to anyone when shared electronically. To avoid sharing private information, you should delete any document property content before sharing your document. Windows Vista provides a utility to help you do this easily.
To remove file metadata properties, open the Properties dialog box of any file or document and click the "Details" tab. At the bottom of that tab, click "Remove Properties and Personal Information".
In the Remove Properties dialog box, select which properties you want to remove and choose the option to save the cleaned version of the document as a copy (THIS IS IMPORTANT). Saving the document as a copy will retain the version containing all document properties for your files without over writing the metadata.
Microsoft also has included in several of the 2007 Office system programs a built-in utility known as Document Inspector, for removing metadata and other types of potentially private information from your documents. To remove private information from 2007 Office system programs Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, click the Office button in the applicable program, point to Finish, and then click Inspect Document.
Detailed information of how to use Document Inspector and what types of hidden data and personal information contained in Office documents can be found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/HA100375931033.aspx