Save Without Metadata (WordPerfect X3 and X4)

October 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm 1 comment

Corel introduced a new feature in WordPerfect X3 called “Save Without Metadata.” Similar in some respects to the “Document Inspector” tool that Microsoft included with Word 2007, “Save Without Metadata” allows you to remove one or more of the following items from your documents:

  • Comments
  • Hidden text (text to which the “Hidden” font attribute has been applied)
  • Annotations (redlining and strikeout marks applied when you use WordPerfect’s Document Review feature)
  • Undo/Redo history
  • Document Summary Data
  • Headers
  • Footers
  • Hyperlinks
  • OLE Object Information
  • Routing Slip

To run the metadata scrubber on an existing document, open the document (or save one that is in progress on your screen) and then click the File menu, Save Without Metadata.  When the Save Without Metadata dialog opens, you’ll note that WordPerfect already has created a copy of your document in the same folder as the original, adding the characters “_mtd” to the file name (making it easy to identify the document as “minus metadata”).  You can rename the copy if you like.

You’ll note as well that there is a checkbox toward the top of the dialog box that gives you the choice of keeping the original document open.  In my tests, there were no discernible differences in the results based on whether I kept the original open or closed it.  You might find it somewhat less confusing to have WP close the original document, however.

To remove one or more of the above-listed types of metadata, first click the appropriate checkbox(es) in the dialog.  If you want to delete any existing annotations, you must choose to accept or reject all of the annotations; the “Accept All Changes” option is selected by default.  After you have selected the items you want to eliminate, click the “Save” button to perform the metadata removal.

So far, I have tested removing all types of metadata except hyperlinks, OLE object information, and routing slips.  Here are the results of my rather preliminary tests.

The tool did a reasonably good job of removing most vestiges of the various items, with a few notable exceptions.

First,  although it worked as expected and removed comments from my test documents, it did so because I have a release or “build” of WordPerfect X3 later than  If you have an earlier release — a build numbered anywhere from to — you need to download a hot patch for the Save Without Metadata tool. Otherwise, some or all of the comments in your document will not be deleted.  The patch is available from Corel via this link.  You can determine which release you have by clicking the Help menu, About WordPerfect and looking about 2/3 of the way down the dialog.  (WordPerfect X4 doesn’t need to be patched.)

The scrubber easily and completely removed hidden text, headers, footers, and Undo/Redo history from my documents.  (In most recent versions of WP, the default setting is not to save the Undo/Redo history with the document, but it doesn’t hurt to click the checkbox next to this item before you use Save Without Metadata just to be on the safe side.  To find out if the Undo/Redo history is being saved with the document, click the Edit menu, Undo/Redo History, and then click the Options button.)

Note that unlike Word 2007’s Document Inspector, the Save Without Metadata feature lets you remove headers separately from footers, which can be useful.  (The Document Inspector groups headers and footers together, so you can’t choose to strip out one or the other.  It’s both or neither.)

For the most part, the tool worked as expected with respect to annotations.  The one glitch I encountered — something I was inspired to test as a result of a post a while back on WordPerfect Universe — was that the scrubber choked on annotations in footnotes.  In other words, I performed a Document Review and, as a reviewer (rather than as an author), inserted or deleted footnote text.  Afterwards, when I attempted to use Save Without Metadata to strip out annotations from the document, WordPerfect failed to remove the annotations I had made to the footnote — regardless of whether I chose “Accept All Changes” or “Reject All Changes” prior to performing the scrub.  At one point, WP displayed an error message indicating it hadn’t been able to complete the task.

That might not matter much to you.  If there are no annotated footnotes in your document, you shouldn’t experience the problem.

Judging by my tests, the Save Without Metadata tool doesn’t work on text to which redlining or strikeout marks have been applied manually, and it appears not to work on documents that have been redlined (or blacklined, if you prefer that term) via the Document Compare feature.

My tests on the Document Summary produced mixed results.  The scrubber removed most of the information from the Summary tab, with the notable exceptions of the Creation Date, Author, and Typist.  (I tested only a few of the many fields that you can choose to incorporate into the Document Summary; it might be helpful to run a more extensive test that included all of the fields.)  Also, the full path of the document is displayed in the Word Count tab of the Document Summary even after saving without metadata and, as far as I can tell, that information can’t be removed.

Fortunately, you can instruct WP not to save the Document Summary with the document.  To do so, click the File menu, Document, Properties… and when the Document Summary appears, click Options, then click Delete Summary From Document and click OK.  That step doesn’t actually get rid of the Properties Dialog itself, but it strips out all identifying information except the full path, which remains visible on the Word Count tab.

All in all, the Save Without Metadata feature seems like a useful tool, though clearly it’s not sufficient in and of itself to remove all metadata from your WordPerfect documents.

For a significantly more detailed explanation of the types of metadata that can exist in WordPerfect documents, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to scrub most of it, see Minimizing Metadata Content in Corel® WordPerfect® Documents, Article No. 753605 in the Corel Knowledge Base.

* * * * *

Note:  There is a new feature in WordPerfect X4 that allows you to “redact” — or, essentially, black out — sensitive information from your documents. I haven’t tested the redaction tool yet, but will experiment with it and write up my findings at some point.

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  • […] feature prior to creating a redacted version of your document. For more information, see my October, 2009 post about WP’s built-in metadata scrubber. (I wrote the post before WPX5 had been released, but the feature still exists — and works […]

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