What is metadata?


Metadata is information about a set of data or file. For example, a word document contains primary data (ie. what you'd see on the page when you print) while also containing metadata related to that document which could include the author, date created, date modified, file size etc.



What files contain metadata?


Most electronic files types will contain metadata. Standard Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF files will contain basic metadata including author, date created, date modified, etc.



Why would I remove metadata?


There are many reasons one might want to remove metadata from a file but the most common ones relate to security and anonymity. If you are looking to ensure a document does not contain personal or identifiable information you would want to make sure the metadata is also removed. In other cases, you may also want to ensure that the author of a document remains anonymous to remove any potential bias when reading or reviewing it which again would require you to remove the metadata from the file. 



How do I remove metadata?


The links below contain additional resources that will provide instructions on how to remove metadata from both Microsoft Word documents as well as PDF Documents.


        Microsoft Word Metadata Cleaning Instructions for Windows


        Microsoft Word Metadata Cleaning Instructions for Mac


        Adobe PDF Metadata Cleaning Instructions for Windows


        Adobe PDF Metadata Cleaning Instructions for Mac


If you are looking for additional information regarding the removal of metadata from additional file types not provided please reach out to lawhelp@wfu.edu for further support.