How to Redact a PDF File

How to Redact a PDF File

Most e-discovery review software has the ability to redact documents and then produce a new file with all of the important information redacted. The benefit of this is that you’ll still have a lineage of the document whereby you have access to the original, unedited, document and everyone else will have the redacted, secure file.

However not everyone has access to e-discovery software. What you may not know is that most PDF editing software has the ability to redact documentation. A moment to assert best practices – make sure that you save a copy of that file to a secure location that adheres to your locality’s specific retention policies.  We’re using Acrobat Pro DC in this example.

Here are the steps:

  • Open the PDF in Acrobat DC, and then choose Tools -> Redact. The Redact toolset is now displayed in your secondary toolbar.
  • In the secondary toolbar, choose Mark for Redaction -> Text & Images. This is also the step where you can change how the redaction is graphically represented (also found in the secondary toolbar.
  • Mark items you want to remove. You can do this my double clicking on a word, dragging a line around a particular text block, holding CONTROL as your select areas on the pages of a scanned doc or by using CONTROL-F to find all instances of a particular word or pattern to select.
  • To apply multiple code entries to a single redaction, right-click a redaction mark and select an option. For more information, see Apply multiple code entries to a redaction.
  • When you have finished with your selection, click Apply in the secondary toolbar to remove the items, then click OK.
  • The items aren’t permanently removed from the document until you save it. Again, make sure you’re doing this as a “save as” rather than straight “save” otherwise your original may be over-written.
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