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Adobe Acrobat PDF Redaction Tool to Redact PDF Files

Olivia Dehaviland | Published: 2017-10-25T13:01:03+00:00|Updates | 5 Minutes Reading

Redaction is the process of abolishing sensitive or classified information such as words, phrases, images, from a document at the time of publication. The main objective of 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 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 document, financial documents, competitive information, images and many other data types.

 Is just highlighting or putting a black color on text is 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 by highlighting or putting a black colored 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 of 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 being beyond your control.

The difference between normal deletion and redaction PDF Documents:

PDF redaction is a process by which user can revoke the 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: – User can choose one of the below methods to select the text for redaction. The information will permanently delete after applying the redaction and save 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 dialog 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 next pop-up window, Adobe Acrobat redaction tool will ask the user to remove the hidden information.
  3. By default, Adobe Acrobat saves the file with filename suffixed with “_Redacted”. Now click on Save.


In this article, we have discussed PDF redaction tool and why it is needed for users. As PDF documents are the first choice of most of the users when they publish some document 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.