Very few people are aware that for each file stored on your computer there is a set of metadata associated with it, that gives information about its source, author and other important details, depending on its type. In this article I am going to discuss about metadata, what it is and the uses of it. Then, I will cover how to add, remove and maintain metadata for your files. The procedures apply to any version of Windows.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is information stored in almost any type of file. It can include your name, your company or organization's name, the name of your computer, the name of the network server or drive where you saved the file, personalized comments and the names and times of previous document authors, revisions, or versions.
These details could be useful or detrimental to you depending on the situation. For example, if you want to track the different authors of a file it could be good, though if you wish to conceal the different authors of a file it could be bad. If you are working in legal matters or simply wish to maintain privacy, removing as much data as possible can be prudent, as metadata will follow the file if you share a copy of it with someone else.
Metadata can also be very helpful, especially when making searches in Windows. For example, if your collection of pictures has well maintained metadata, then it is very easy to search and find a certain picture you took, at a certain location on a very specific day.
How to Add and Edit Metadata
Most files have some sort of metadata, but it is often difficult to alter it without using some sort of special third-party software. However, Microsoft Office files, such as those made by Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint have metadata fields that can be altered pretty easily. First of all, to access and view the metadata of one of these files, right click or press and hold on it. Go to the bottom of the drop down menu and select Properties.
This will bring up the properties of the file, but go ahead and click the Details tab to get into the nitty-gritty of the metadata. Once on the Details tab, you will be able to scroll through a plethora of data about the file: everything from who authored it, when it was created or modified, or even how many words are in it.
A few of these fields are something you can edit, though many of them are set in stone. To be fair though, a lot of the fields that are set in stone are those hard facts like the word and page count or the day the file was created. Several can be edited, however, such as the title, subject, tags, categories, comments, and authors fields. To do this, simply click to the right of the field you wish to edit and type. If you'd rather these fields were blank, delete whatever is written in them. When you are done, hit OK at the bottom of the panel.
How to Remove Metadata
If you just want to remove all of the metadata that you can, there is a simple way to do this. Go to the bottom of the Details tab and click or tap "Remove Properties and Personal Information."