When it comes to Microsoft Office documents, there is often a lot more in them than meets the eye. Most people don't realize that when two or more people collaborate on a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document, hidden information--such as deleted text, names of authors, and revision marks--are sometimes unintentionally left in final drafts.

A company called Workshare Technology now offers a free safety net from the potential embarrassment of a public display of these hidden and forgotten comments and changes. The company's Trace application sends out an alert if hidden information, also known as metadata, is embedded in a Microsoft Office file. When hidden data is identified, a dialogue box pops up from your system tray alerting you. Clicking on the alert message generates a report of all the hidden data inside the file. Workshare Trace, announced early this month, is available for download now.

Microsoft offers its own Office plug-in called Remove Hidden Data to accomplish this. It works with most Office applications.

The free Workshare Trace isn't unique in what it does. However, Trace's clean interface and easy-to-understand risk reports make it a great option for identifying hidden data.

Via Yahoo! News - Free Tool Identifies Hidden Data in Microsoft Office Docs