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How to use Redaction

Question

 I have a PDF document with sensitive information. I wish to distribute parts of this document, omitting those that are sensitive. How do I make sure that the content is fully removed from the document?

Answer

One way to hide content could be simply to use a black highlighter to highlighter the text you wish to have hidden, then flattening the document. This is fine for most uses, however the base content can still be retrieved using any PDF Editing software. To remove the content completely, legally, and securely, you must use redaction. When you apply redactions, the content beneath the marked area is totally removed from the document and is not retrievable.

Using Redaction

1. On the Protect tab, click Mark for Redaction:

Marking For Redaction:

There are two ways you can mark content for redaction.

1. Highlight the desired text with the redaction tool:

2. Use the Mark for redaction tool to select a portion of the document and dragging a box over the desired area: 

You can preview what the redaction will look like after applying by hovering your mouse over the marked for redaction area:

Format Redaction options

Once the redaction tools are active, a contextual Format tab will appear as shown below:

Fill Color sets the fill color used for the redaction preview - indicating that an area has been marked for redaction.

Stroke Color sets the boarder of the redaction preview.

Opacity sets the preview opacity. This property effects both Fill Color and Stroke color.

Redaction color sets the color of the final redaction once applied. To see a preview, simply mouse over the area marked for redaction.

Font sets the font used for the redaction text overlay.

Font size sets the font size for the redaction text overlay.

Text justification options dictates the text justification of the redaction overlay text.

Text Color sometimes when redacting documents, you may find the need to specify a reason, or label it as such. This property sets the color of the overlay text. To add a text overlay, you will need to open the Properties pane (Ctrl+`) and add the desired text.

Repeat overlay text if activated, the overlay text will be repeated to fill the redacted area.

Apply All applies all redactions.

Keep Selected causes the Redaction tool to remain active after marking an area for redaction.

Exclusive Mode is available for most tools. For a description of exclusive mode please see our end user manuals.

Properties opens the properties pane.

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As you can see above, areas marked for redaction are encircled with red by default (this can be changed as detailed above) so you can keep track of what has been marked prior to redaction. When you mouse over these areas, they display the result of applying your redaction will look like.

Applying redactions:

When you are satisfied with what you have marked for redaction, simply click Apply All, below Mark for Redaction on the Protect tab. You can undo this by selecting Ctrl+z. However, once saved, these effects are irreversible. After applying, your redaction should look similar to this (depending on your redaction settings):

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