How to remove metadata from multiple documents using an action in acrobat x or xi

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How to quickly strip metadata from a collection of documents using an Action in Acrobat - tips for power users who want to automate metadata removal; options for those who don't want to use an Action.

How to quickly strip metadata from a collection of documents using an Action in Acrobat - tips for power users who want to automate metadata removal; options for those who don't want to use an Action.

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  • 1. Page 1HOW TO REMOVE METADATA FROM MULTIPLE DOCUMENTSUSING AN ACTION IN ACROBAT X OR XITo strip metadata from a collection of documents in a folder, create an Action (or macro) inAcrobat. Here are the steps for Acrobat X or XI users:Launch Acrobat – do not open any files.Select Tools, Action Wizard, Create New Action.The “Create New Action” dialog box appears:Locate “Start with: A Folder on My Computer.” Click on the down arrow and browse to find thefolder of documents you wish to remove metadata from. [PRACTICE TIP – SEE “BECOME ANACTION WIZ” on page five to really do this right.]Click OK.Next, add steps to the Action. From the panel on the left, select ► Protection
  • 2. Page 2Next, select “Remove Hidden Information.” Using “Remove Hidden Information” will allowyou to selectively remove metadata.“Sanitize Document” removes all metadata automatically and indiscriminately. This oftenincludes headers and footers that users do not wish to affect through metadata removal.Choose wisely at this step and understand how metadata removal in Acrobat works. If youare unsure, experiment with a copy of your document folder. You can always delete anAction and start over if you don’t like the results, but never remove metadata from your oneand only set of documents unless you understand the consequences of metadata removal.Next, put a check mark by “Prompt User” if you wanted to be prompted each time to selectwhich hidden information to remove.
  • 3. Page 3If you want the Action to run automatically without a prompt, then click on “Options”to configure what is removed:Uncheck any metadata you do not want removed:Click OK.
  • 4. Page 4Leave the “Save to: Ask When Action is Started” setting alone – this allows you to choosewhere your documents will be saved once the metadata is removed.Decide whether to leave “overwrite existing documents” checked.When “overwrite existing documents” is checked, the result of the Action will be a set ofdocuments in a folder with all metadata removed. In other words, you are altering youroriginal set of PDFs. Once metadata is removed, your original PDFs cannot be restored.You must re-create the PDFs or obtain another copy from the party who provided them toyou.If you need two copies of your documents – one with metadata and one without metadata,uncheck this box. You will be prompted to resave the documents without metadata to a newlocation when you run the Action. This is probably the safer course of action for most users.Click Save.Give the Action a name.Give the Action a description.LEAVE Run this Action after savingunchecked unless you want the Action torun immediately.Click Save again.
  • 5. Page 5If you look in Acrobat’s Navigation Pane under Tools, ActionWizard you’ll see your new action is saved and ready to use:FYI “Publish Sensitive Documents” is an Action that comes pre-loaded with Acrobat. This particular action allows users toredact sensitive information and remove metadata onedocument at a time.BECOME AN “ACTION WIZ” AND SET UP AMETADATA REMOVAL FOLDERAcrobat will remember which folder you selected when creating this Action. Why not create aspecific folder dedicated to removing metadata for document production and distribution?Acrobat will return to this folder each time the Action is run.Let’s say you create a folder called “Metadata Removal Folder.” Under “Start with: A Folderon My Computer” on page one, be sure Acrobat points to this folder.Whenever you need to remove metadata from a collection of documents, just drag a copy ofthe documents to your “Metadata Removal Folder,” start Acrobat, and run the Action. Afteryour documents are saved to a new location, empty the folder. Repeat whenever you need toremove metadata from a document collection.SECOND OPTION – COMBINING FILESWhile metadata can be removed by using an Action, another choice is to combine documentsinto one PDF then remove hidden information or sanitize the combined files. Thedisadvantage here is that your files will be combined. (No more discrete collection ofdocuments with metadata removed from each individually.) The method you choose – Actionvs. combining files depends on: Why you are removing metadata – for discovery or other distribution? The recipient of your scrubbed documents – the opposing party or your client?If documents are being distributed to the client, it may be preferable to combine them into onePDF, remove metadata, and then bookmark the pages of the combined PDF for easy clientnavigation. (If you create bookmarks, select File > Properties > Initial View to the change theNavigation Panel to “Bookmarks Panel and Page” so the client sees your bookmarks when heor she opens the PDF.)To combine files in Acrobat, click Create, and select combine files into one PDF. You can thenbrowse and add files to create a single PDF portfolio. During the creation process, files canbe sorted in any order.Beverly Michaelis, http://oregonlawpracticemanagement.com/. All Rights Reserved.June 2013.
  • 6. Contact the author with questions or commentsat http://oregonlawpracticemanagement.com/.