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How to hide info about an image when I hover

Posted on 2013-11-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-18
How do I hide info about the images in PDF or word documents that I create?
When anybody hovers their mouse over images in my PDF or Word documents, they see all the information about the image name, size, and creation date.
I don't want anybody to know anything about the images I put in my documents.
Please help.
Question by:tcexperts77
  • 7
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Alexandre Simões
ID: 39627050
I don't think that's possible.
Everything you mention is OS related stuff you can't just erase it.

It is possible to delete extra information that usually digital cameras add but not those you mention.

Author Comment

ID: 39627517
I can see this will be a violation of HIPAA privacy rules.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Alexandre Simões
ID: 39627533
How can the image name, size, and creation date violate any privacy rules?

The one that might cause some considerations can be the creation date but even that is the FileSystem creation date, if you open the image in a image editor and do Save As, the creation date of the new file will be this save time, not the original file creation time.

There's no real value in either of those properties... So I don't see any issues here.
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Author Comment

ID: 39627602
I have renamed all my photos to correspond to my client's name and sometimes even put their city and state in the photo.  Now, when I create a general PDF document that I publish for everyone, my client's info is embedded in the photo. ANYONE can see that info if they hover their mouse over the photo in the PDF (or Word) document.   HIPAA medical privacy rules are very strict about sending private patient info.  The fines are stiff and I hear they will be "cracking down" on violators.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Alexandre Simões
ID: 39627621
Ah, so the problem is that you write sensitive information in the file name...
Can't you just rename the image before adding it to the word document?

If you want to catalog your photos by private information you should use a mechanism other that writing it in the photo file name... If that's sensitive data I don't even know if that practice alone doesn't violate some privacy rules...

Author Comment

ID: 39629520
I've been renaming and saving picture files like this for years and was unaware that the image info was transferred in this way to document I previously created.  We are talking about thousands of pictures I'll have to rename and hundreds of documents I've created.
I can't imagine having to do this because I can't block info about a file I added to a document.  It seems there should be a way to block this info.
I don't understand the principal of how that info is even seen.
Maybe I could use photoshop to put a transparent layer over the entire document?
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Alexandre Simões
ID: 39629582
But this is a word document... adding an image on top of each page doesn't seem to be a good idea to me...

If you're working with sensitive data you need to put a bit of effort on that.
For instance, all databases with really sensitive data that I've been working on have to be certified by an official data protection organization.

I'm not saying that you need to do this, but it's certainly not MS Word's or Adobe fault that your data is being exposed.

My suggestion is that at least while producing the documents you copy the images you'll be using to a "production" folder and rename them to meaningless things.

Author Comment

ID: 39629790
This looks like a solution, but I hope there is a better one.
This is why:

1.  It's going to take more time to create new documents.
2.  It will be almost impossible for me to change all my old documents.

I really would like something that could encrypt or wipe out this doc. info.

Author Comment

ID: 39637823
The answer by by: AlexCode is not a solution.
Thankfully, I don't need any of my sensitive data data certified by anyone.
If I was working for a government agency I might have to AND I could justify it.
With my own business, being directly responsible for my income - this isn't practical.
Besides, what AlexCode says will increase my workload over 50%.
If it takes me 2 to 6 hours to create a document, this will add 1 to 3 hours more time.
If I were to charge for this labor, it would price me out of the market.
Changing over 2000 past documents would equal about 2000 - 6000 hours.
Does anybody have that extra time?  I think not!

Again, I am asking for a way to HIDE information about images in PDF & Word docs.
Renaming them does NOT hide info, it just provides other info.
I am not blaming Adobe, Microsoft, or anyone for this problem.
Nobody has given me a solution yet.
Did earlier versions of Word or Adobe even show this info?
I am waiting for a solution....
LVL 30

Accepted Solution

Alexandre Simões earned 2000 total points
ID: 39638053
Mate, as you put it it almost looks like it's my fault :)

Anyway, I found why that info appears.
It turns out that if you added the image to the document by drag & drop from the file explorer, MS Word will keep track of it in the Alt Text property of the image.

Try to:
- Open one of your docs that have this problem
- Right-Click one image and click "Format Picture"
- Open the "Alt Text" tab and there you should have the info that appears on the PDF when you mouse hover it.
- Delete the whole text in the "Alternative Text" box, save and export to PDF again.
- Now nothing is displayed anymore.

From now on:
Do not drag and drop images from file explorer anymore.
Use the image import functionality in word. This way the image "Alternative Text" is always left blank.

For the old docs:
I couldn't find any automated way of doing this.
I guess at some point you have to open the doc and go through all the images and clear their Alt Text... yes... one by one...

Just a side note for the future:
With my own business, being directly responsible for my income - this isn't practical.
If you work with sensitive data it doesn't matter how you build your business. Try to justify in court "confidential disclosure" with "wasn't practical" :).

Author Comment

ID: 39641752
Sorry you took my last comment personally - I was not blaming you..
I even said (I quote): "I am not blaming Adobe .... or anyone...."
I was responding to your 11/7 comment when you said I "need to put a little effort..."
My response was that it was not a little effort - it was a LOT of effort.

It just seemed I should be able to put something on the document that would block any info that may be seen when someone hovers their mouse over my document.  Think of this as a clear "shield".  Knowing now that the info is imbedded deep inside the document makes me realize I have to change that info.  The problem I have is: I can't pre-plan how this document will be (I don't have a concrete idea what is going into the document until I create it).  The image info is very important for me to use to create the document.  I will try your idea about "Alternative Text" - that might be workable.....  (to bad there wasn't an easy way to encrypt that info)
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Alexandre Simões
ID: 39641915
As far as I could find there's no way...

The info is actually only on that Alt Text and the best way to avoid it to be written there is to use the Image Import from the Word menu.

For the old ones I really don't see any way...

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39655772
Although this wasn't what I was looking for, it turned out to be a very good solution for future documents.

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