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Adobe Acrobat PDF Redaction Tool to Redact PDF Files

Published By Ashwani Tiwari
Aswin Vijayan
Approved By Aswin Vijayan
Published On April 19th, 2022
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading
Category Updates

Redaction is the process of abolishing sensitive or classified information such as words, phrases, and images, from a document at the time of publication. The main objective of the redaction process is to prevent the release of confidential or sensitive information. As the PDF (Portable Document Format) is a most ordinary format for publishing a document on the web so it becomes essential to know how to redact PDF files. Therefore, this article explains the PDF Redaction Tool and the steps to implement redaction.

Why does the User Use PDF Redaction Tool?

PDF (Portable Document Format) redaction is a procedural step-by-step mechanism that allows the authorized owner of the document to hide and eradicate the crucial, secluded or subtle information from the respective document. Redaction of PDF documents is mainly used, where safety, solitude and obligation concerns of documents are supreme. Redaction can and should be mandatory for rescuing sensitive and classified government documents, financial documents, competitive information, images and many other data types.

 Is just highlighting or putting a black colour on text sufficient?

While some users seek to censor a confidential part of the information, others at the same time may want to know the contents that have been concealed. This, as a result, gives rise to methods that can easily reverse the effect of redaction. Just highlighting or putting a black coloured block over an image and text is not sufficient to ensure that everything disappears. Anyone with the most basic knowledge of word processing can easily access the data by the simple use of copy/paste to view hidden information in a text file and examine the sensitive information in all its naked glory.

Need for Adobe Acrobat PDF Redaction Tool

You know, a large number of people make this rookie omission during the publishing of classified information. Thus, a secondary level of security measure must be applied to the documentation consisting of such information to make sure that they are secure even after their access is beyond your control.

The difference between normal deletion and redaction PDF Documents:

PDF redaction is a process by which users can revoke sensitive information permanently. Redaction ensures the user that the data cannot be recovered and also all other properties of that document like metadata, hyperlinks, comments, etc., are deleted completely. With the issue of unintentional leaks of classified and sensitive information, PDF editor redaction is a very crucial legal consideration. Whereas, information can easily be recovered in case of normal deletion. By simply copying the data into a text file so that it cannot be depended upon legally.

How to Use PDF Redaction Tool in Adobe Acrobat XI Pro

Step 1: – Firstly, click on the Tools menu and open the Protection panel. The PDF redaction tool is listed under the option Black Out & Remove Content.

Step 2: – The user can choose one of the below methods to select the text for redaction. The information will be permanently deleted after applying the redaction and saving the file.

  • Highlight text to redact
  1. Select the text for Redaction.
  2. After selecting the text, a red outline will appear. The user can also draw a box over a large amount of text or images.
  • Redact an entire page
  1. To redact, click on selected pages.
  2. Mark the current page or specify a page range for redaction.
  • Search for and redact every instance of a word
  1. Click on Search & Remove Text.
  2. In the search dialogue box, the user can select either a current document or a group of files within a folder for redaction.
  3. Now, the user can search for words, phrases, or patterns like email addresses, phone numbers, dates, etc. After that type the text and click on Search & Remove Text
  4. To review the redacted items The user needs to select the items and click on the Mark Checked Results for Redaction

Step 3: – After selecting the file for redaction. Now move to the next step to learn how to remove the text permanently.

How to Apply Redaction in Adobe Reader

  1. Click on Apply Redaction option. Now a pop-up window will open with a message confirming whether or not “You want to permanently remove the content for redaction”. And after that user needs to save the document.
  2. In the next pop-up window, the Adobe Acrobat redaction tool will ask the user to remove the hidden information.
  3. By default, Adobe Acrobat saves the file with a filename suffixed with “_Redacted”. Now click on Save.


In this article, we have discussed the PDF redaction tool and why it is needed for users. As PDF documents are the first choice of most users when they publish some documents online. So, it becomes important for the users to redact Adobe PDF files as it can help them to be secure if someone tries to implement PDF file forensics on the uploaded documents.