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When I obtain a text file from a source will it be possible to determine which editor was used to create it assuming that the creator has not removed that kind of metadata from the file. If yes how can I do that?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The kind of metadata you are talking about is added usually by document editors like openoffice and microsoft office, but not by editors like vim, emacs, gedit, notepad etc. And thats because those are plain text documents. They do not have a special format.

There are exceptions though, like if you create a HTML document, then the text-editor might add a generator meta tag, but as a general rule, text editors do not add meta data.

So in a general case, its not possible to figure out which editor was used for a particular file.

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Some plain-text editors leave behind metadata, like TextMate's com.macromates.caret extended attribute; Visual Studio stores the caret position in an NTFS alternate data stream, etc. – Daniel Beck May 22 '11 at 10:48
@Daniel Beck True but the method of transmission would have to support and preserve Alternate Data Streams or HFS(+) Forks. Most methods of transmission (e-mail, FTP, HTTP, even a flash drive formatted with FAT) don't do this. – Andrew Lambert May 22 '11 at 11:44

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