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Remove sensitive data from your workbook

Anonymiser by Codematic

Spreadsheets often contain sensitive data, but sometimes they go wrong. Or would benefit from some external input

Many potential clients have contacted us with support requests, often we eventually reach an impasse when their Information Protection rules do not allow them to send us the file to work with. That stops the client getting their issue fixed and it prevents Codematic from being able to help. Neither is desirable.

Our answer is this anonymiser. It allows a client to remove or change every text cell in the workbook, without affecting the formula based logic. That protects their intellectual property, but leaves enough of the workbook in tact for us to resolve formula problems or develop compatible code or components.

Its very easy to use, and fast. Its a simple Excel workbook with a small amount of (unhidden, unprotected) VBA code behind.

Be sure to save the workbook you wish to anonymise before you start this process, it is not possible to undo. You activate the workbook you wish to anonymise click Tools>>Macros>>Macro and select Anonimise.

The code works through the workbook and lists each text string it finds in a new worksheet. You then decide what you want to replace each one with in the columns next to it.

Finally click Tools>>Macros>>Macro MakeTextChanges to apply your choices to the workbook. Save it under a new name and you're done.

If you are very careful with your replacements it is possible to save the mappings and then apply them in reverse by swapping the columns.

Changing text can affect Lookups and IFs etc, that depend on cell text, if possible don't change those values used in formulas, or code. We have used it to remove client names business units and other identifiers before send files to other organisations for further analysis.

That's it, that's all it does - gets a list of text strings in a workbook and allows the user to replace any or all with anything. Or nothing - if you leave the replacement cell blank the text is replace with an empty test string which effectively deletes it.

Anonymiser has been tested in Excel 2002 and 2003. It has not been tested in 2007.

You can download Anonymiser here.


Upcoming Events:

25 January 2012 - UK Excel Developer Conference - London

Products for sale:


Office 2007 FileSearch replacement logo

New information about the missing FileSearch feature in Office 2007 and details of our pragmatic solution (Current price GBP 30.00)


worksheet password remover logo

Instant Excel worksheet protection remover and password recovery (Current price GBP 15.00)

Classic Ribbon Tab

classic ribbon for office 2007 logo

Add Excel 97/2000/2002/2003 compatible menu structure to Excel 2007
(Current Price GBP 10.00)


Products coming soon:

Link Manager

(Find and control external links in Excel Workbooks)

Due by Q1 2111.

XLAnalyst Pro

(Excel VBA based spreadsheet auditing tool)

Due before the end of 2111.

This page was last reviewed on December 21, 2011

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