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Redacting Excel Files

Excel documents industry-wide are produced natively as the Excel workflow was not designed to be printed to paper.   We do see, however, customs documents, packing lists, medical forms, and other MS Excel that in fact were formatted for use in both electronic and downstream in hardcopy.    Many Excel files have never been given page layout settings by the creators to facilitate any structured printing - printing is the mechanism by which images are created - so there is not an efficient method to 'redact' them.

Option One:

To image Excel documents in Digital WarRoom, temporarily modify the print settings to create individual, or batches, of images using the 'right click' -> image documents options.    

To change the print settings for Excel documents (the default is to print natively) under Settings, Custom Print Settings:

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In the dialog box that appears be sure to uncheck Native for any Excel-type extension:mceclip0.png

After unchecking the Excel-type extension so it will no longer be printed as native, return to review and flag those documents for redaction, image and make the necessary redactions. The documents can be imaged individually or by highlighting multiple documents and right-click to image in sets of 10 documents. After the imaging job is completed re-set the print setting so future Excels are produced in the native format.

Option One - additional consideration:

For Excel files which will need to have modified print settings in the file itself there is a second option. Use the 'Export Documents' option from the top line menu to export into a separate folder the files of interest.  

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Use the 'ID' option for the file name so that you can link back manually created images with your originals.  

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Using the available print options in Excel, set the print area and print options to print the document to the Digital WarRoom Printer which will make a multipage TIFF image of the document.  Return to Digital WarRoom, selecting Replace Documents from the Tools menu.  Replace the pre-production image.

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Option Two:

Using the same exported MS Excel native files from the preceding Export Documents, the Excel file itself may be abridge (edited).   This might work best for documents requiring a bulk 'search and replace' for a heavily used set of terms, or to completely hide entire rows, columns, or worksheets.  Using the 'hide' feature in MS Excel, rather than the 'delete' when making edits will provide the recourse to alter and further review and revise if the situation changes.  When making native abridged redactions within MS Excel, also please consider using an issue code, and or create a custom field to track files that were natively redacted.   Right clicking the document row in Digital WarRoom will provide the option to fully replace the original native where appropriate using the triage step noted above selecting Native.   In such case, it would be prudent to save an unaltered copy of the MS Excel BEFORE making abridgments allowing for the return of the original to the data set, and to comply with preservation concerns.

Option Three:

Our consultants are available to analyze the documents and triage on an hourly bases.  You can create a Custom Column to include the name(s), phrases, numbers, etc that you wish to have redacted and our consultants can use that information to make the redactions.    Most especially where the redactions include programatic analysis - SSN, phone numbers, PII, and pattern matches in large data sets, we could create scripts to assess and abridge duplicate files.    Where the pattern can be replicated by location within a TIF image, we can also create tools to redact certain consistent areas.