Accessing metadata from MS Office File Menu

Metadata for a single file is easily visible from Microsoft Office – if you know how. Unfortunately, some of the more interesting options are not as accessible as they could be.

Taking a Microsoft Word 2010 file as an example (however, the same procedure can be used in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint, and in Word 2007, 2013 and Office 365), the first step is to click on the File menu.

If you have Word 2007, then this is known as the Office menu in Word 2007, and has a circular icon instead of the word “File”, but it does exactly the same thing.

There are various options down the left-hand slide. If you click on “Info”, you can see some of the document properties on the right-hand side.

You can see two different versions. The version of the left-hand side is the version that initially comes up, and you can see that it includes metadata such as

  • Size, Pages, Words and Total Editing Time (statistics),
  • Title, Tags and Comments (which you can set),
  • Last Modified, Created and Printed (dates), and
  • Author (which you can set – and you can have multiple Authors) and Last Modified By (which you cannot – it’s set from your Windows login).

However, there are additional document properties, which can be seen on the right-hand side. These can be accessed by pressing “Show All Properties” at the bottom of the panel.

Additionally, you can click the Properties drop-down box (which is highlighted in the snapshot above).

This gives you two options:

  • Show Document Panel, and
  • Advanced Properties.

If you click the first of these options, then you will be returned to your document, and an additional pane will appear with limited metadata. You can edit this while editing your text.

The second options will give you a dialog box with five tabs, categorising the various properties.

While this information can be very useful, it is difficult to investigate multiple files in this way, and more difficult to annotate this information in a methodical manner.

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