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HMRC internal manual

Shared Workspace Business Manual

Information Security: Hidden data, Metadata and Track Changes

Metadata, is information that is embedded in hidden areas of a computer file. The data is automatically generated and added to the file whenever the file is created, edited or saved.

Files that you wish to add to Shared Workspace are very likely to have been edited and saved a number of times, possibly by several people. The amount of metadata within a file could be sizeable and contain sensitive information that could be inadvertently disclosed to unauthorised individuals.

Some of the applications that are affected by metadata are,

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint

Examples of metadata affecting these applications are

  • Your name, initials and email address
  • Names of editors of your document
  • Tracked Changes, e.g. as used in Microsoft Word
  • Comments
  • Hidden text

Before uploading a file to Shared Workspace you should consider if it contains sensitive metadata.


It is your responsibility to remove metadata that you do not wish it to be seen.


Information on removing metadata is provided in the topic ‘Removing Hidden data, Metadata & Track Changes, see SW03275.