Protect Your Confidential Information: 3 Methods To Redacting PDF

Last updated on March 30, 2023

Summary :

This article presents three effective methods for redacting information in PDF files using different tools and platforms, allowing you to select the best option for your needs.

How to Redact A PDF

Have you ever been in a fix in regards to removing some elements of your PDF document while leaving some information out? Redaction is exactly this process; it curbs the process of information dissemination by using different formats and techniques and covers the text. You may ask can’t it be reversed?

Majorly it cannot be reversed it will be extremely hard to do that. We will know the redaction process in a nuanced procedure through three methods. We will test it in Adobe Acrobat Reader, macOS system, and Online. Let us start.

Do not miss: How to Redact in PowerPoint, How to Redact Data in ExcelHow to Redact Document

How To Redact Info in PDF with Adobe Acrobat Pro

Just like any other PDF software Adobe Acrobat Pro also allows for a redaction process. In Adobe Acrobat Pro you can use text and images and turn them into a redacted form through simple tools. The redacted section can be many things, it can exist as blank space. You can color code that space, You can also embed a code into space that will only exist there covering the text.

Step 1: Open your PDF File.

Just like any other PDF File that needs to be worked on, you need to access and open its file.

Step 2: Choose redaction from the tools

You need to go to tools in the above menu and then select ‘Tools’ and then ‘Redact’.

Open Redact PDF Tool in Adobe

Open Redact PDF Tool in Adobe

Step 3: Customize the appearance of the Redaction

You will see a ‘redact toolset’ below, from the list of options from here you need to select properties. Once you have selected ‘properties’, you will need to select the color, custom text, overlay text, and redaction codes among other things, you also have to fill in the color. This entire function will be used to customize the appearance of the appearing area. Let us know more about it.

Customize Appearance for Redaction

Customize Appearance for Redaction

In Properties to add color in the redacted space you would be needing to select, ‘fill the redacted area with color’ to choose a color of your own choice.

  • Choose the ‘no color’ option in case you do not want to fill it with colors.
  • You can use the ‘overlay text’ and select the overlay options. You can select ‘size’ and ‘alignment’.
  • You can also select redaction codes that dissipate the text and marks the area confidential as appeared under the US jurisdiction.
  • There is a redaction mark color as well that you can use to color the outline of the already-filled color.

Step 4: Selection of Redacted space/images

Once you are done double click on the single word/image to redact. If you want to redact a line, text or para select it. To repeat redaction make sure to opt for ‘repeat mark across pages’.

Repeat Mark Across Pages

Repeat Mark Across Pages

Even after adding color, you can add other redacted codes in images, especially the ones that are standardized across the US authority circles.

Step 5: Apply Changes

Once done there will be another toolbar click on apply. Then after applying, go to the file and then select the saving destination and then click ‘save’. Your file if not changed name will have a suffix of ‘redacted, written on the end of the file name.

Applying Redaction

Applying Redaction

How To Redact Text PDF On macOS

Unlike Adobe Acrobat the redaction process in macOS is fairly simple, it has its own application called Apple Preview, and through this tool macOS users like you can redact sections of the PDF.

Step 1: Access Tools

You can easily access tools from where you need to click on the redact option.

Choosing Redaction Icon on Preview

Choosing Redaction Icon on Preview

Alternatively, you can access the top menu and select the ‘markup icon’. Or just use the cursor to add the black coating of redaction on the file preview.

Step 2: Selection of redacted area

As you now have activated redaction, you can drag the cursor to select the entire redacted area, and hover your mouse to see the text under the redacted black coating. You can select and deselect till you find adequate space and the portion of redaction.

Redaction Area Selection

Redaction Area Selection

Step 3: Save the file

This is where the confirmation happens. Once you have dragged the region for redaction, now you have to save it. It is advised to have a copy of the file before running save. Once you have saved the file you cannot altercate the reduction at any cost.

How To Redact PDF Online

The redaction tool has become so common that many online applications and web platforms assist you with redaction. One such application is Xodo PDF which allows for the proper redaction of PDF elements and sections. There are many tools but Xodo is safe, it does not take privacy guidelines and laws for granted. It allows you to redact freely and it’s very easy. To redact PDF online click here.

Step 1: Open your file

You need to open your file before running any form of stringent redaction but the best thing about XODO is, it allows either enter through the drive or drag and drop method. XODO supports limited file backup via XODO Drive and also Dropbox and Google drive integration.

Open XODO Redact PDF Tool

Open XODO Redact PDF Tool

Step 2: Choose your redaction region

Redaction only allows a single drag. It is the same here also. You can redact many sections but you need to drag multiple chunks of selections. In the right pane all the reduction drags will be mentioned because before running redaction the blacked region does not show itself. Post-redaction everything turns black.

Select PDF Redacted Region in Xodo

Select PDF Redacted Region in Xodo

Step 3: Redact the file

Run Redact and you will see the previously selected area turning black.

Step 4: Save the file

Now a download link will be generated in a rectangular bulky button, click that to download files.

How to Redact A PDF: FAQs

Can I Redact Information in Scanned PDF Documents?

To redact information in a scanned PDF, you’ll need to use OCR software to convert the scanned image into searchable text, then apply redaction methods. PDFgear OCR Processors is recommended. OCR accuracy may vary, so review the converted text carefully to ensure accurate redaction of sensitive information before sharing the document.

How Do I Redact a PDF Without Adobe Reader?

Adobe Reader is a widely used, free software for viewing and printing PDF documents but it lacks a redaction feature. To redact information in a PDF without Adobe Reader, an alternative tool like Smallpdf is a choice.

Can the Redaction Process in a PDF Be Automated?

PDF editing tools with automatic redaction capabilities use pattern recognition algorithms to streamline the process and minimize human error. However, it’s crucial to verify the accuracy of automatic redaction to avoid unintentionally removing essential information. Thoroughly reviewing the document after utilizing automatic redaction is highly recommended to confirm the accurate redaction of sensitive data.


Redaction of any PDF file is a very easy process, you can always keep these three tactics that I suggested over the lack of motivation that you feel when doing any redaction. You need to remember that security should not be compromised and it is fairly direct and simple just like running a delete or remove command. Redaction is also comparable on similar lines.