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Part V: Appendixes > Privacy and Confidentiality

Privacy and Confidentiality

The two major privacy and confidentiality enhancements to Office XP are the ability to encrypt documents to prevent them from being read and a set of features for better control over document metadata, also known as document properties. Metadata in Office documents is information about the document (such as the title of the document or the author) that makes it easier to search for a document without knowing its name or exact location.

Encryption

Word, PowerPoint, and Excel allow you to encrypt documents when you save them using the Security tab. The password you specify is used as a shared secret key to encrypt the document (that is, no public key algorithms are used). Note that the password is not stored with the document, so if you lose the password you cannot recover the document contents. This is by design, because storing the password makes it vulnerable to attack.


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