Protect Your Confidential Information: 4 Methods to Redacting PDF

Last updated on November 13, 2023

Summary :

Learn how to redact a PDF, with or without Adobe, online or offline. There are 3 simple methods you can redact the information in a PDF.

Table of Contents

Need help redacting a PDF? Look no further! In this article, we’ll walk you through 3 simple methods on how to redact a PDF with ease.

Whether you need to protect sensitive information or you’re just looking to make sure your documents are secure, we’ll show you everything you need to know about redacting a PDF. So let’s get started and learn how to redact a PDF!

How to Redact Info in PDF With Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Redact is a powerful tool for redacting sensitive information from PDF documents. It supports a range of redaction tools such as blacking out text and images and watermarking for secure document sharing.

Here is how to quickly and easily remove sensitive content in Adobe Acrobat:

Step 1. Open a PDF in Adobe

Launch Adobe Acrobat Pro on your computer.

Click on “File” in the top left corner, then select “Open” to browse and open the PDF file you want to redact.

Step 2. Locate the Redaction Tool

Once your PDF is open, click the “Tools” at the top of the menu bar. Scroll down to the “Protection & Standardize” section, and click on “Redact.”

Open Redact PDF Tool in Adobe

Open Redact PDF Tool in Adobe

Step 3. Select Text to Redact

With the Redact tool activated, your mouse cursor will turn into a crosshair. Click and drag to select the content (text or images) you want to redact. A red overlay will cover the selected content, indicating it will be removed.

Customize Appearance for Redaction

If needed, click on the “Properties” button in the right sidebar to adjust redaction settings like color and overlay text.

Step 4. Apply Redactions to the PDF

Before applying redactions permanently, review the redacted areas to ensure all sensitive information is covered.

Applying Redaction

Applying Redaction

Once you’re confident with your redactions, click on “Apply Redactions” in the right sidebar.

Step 5. Save the New PDF

After applying redactions, Adobe Acrobat Pro will prompt you to save the redacted PDF as a new file to avoid overwriting the original.

Open the newly saved redacted PDF to verify that the sensitive content is effectively removed.

Redactions in Adobe Acrobat Pro are permanent and irreversible, so ensure careful review before applying them. Always create a backup of the original PDF to prevent accidental data loss. Additionally, Adobe Acrobat Pro requires a paid license or subscription for access to its full features.

How to Redact a PDF Without Adobe Pro

As we know, Adobe Acrobat software is not free to users, but you can use a professional PDF editor like PDFgear to redact information on PDFs for free. The highlight PDF feature in PDFgear PDF editor is a great tool for redacting a PDF. It allows you to select areas of a PDF document to be redacted, and it automatically adds a black box to cover the text.

Now, let’s explore how to black out a PDF step-by-step with PDFgear.

Step 1. Open PDF File with PDFgear

Click the button below to download PDFgear on your Mac or Windows computer, it’s totally free.

PDFgear – a Totally Free PDF Editor

PDFgear is a free PDF editor for Mac and Windows that allows you to use its makeup tools to hide or cover text in the PDF.

Then launch PDFgear, and click on the “Open File” button to open your PDF file to the editor.

Open File in PDFgear Desktop

Open File in PDFgear Desktop

Step 2. Open the Highlight Tool

In the toolbar, select the “Highlight” tool under the Annotation bar. Then, choose black among the provided color themes.

Redact PDF with PDFgear

Redact PDF with PDFgear

Use the highlight tool to select the sensitive content you want to redact. This will cover the text with a colored overlay, effectively blacking out the information in the PDF.

Step 3. Save the Redacted PDF

After completing the redaction, you need to exit the editing. Click the Save button in the upper left corner to save the redacted PDF file to the specified folder.

How to Redact Text PDF in Preview on Mac

The Redact feature of the Preview Application on Mac is a great tool for protecting sensitive information. It allows you to permanently remove text and images from a PDF file. The feature works by selecting the content you want to delete and then applying a “Redact” button.

Method 1 (For macOS 11 and Newer):

To redact a PDF on macOS 11 or newer using Preview, follow these steps:

Redact PDF in Preview with the Redaction Tool

Redact PDF in Preview with the Redaction Tool

Open your PDF document with Preview. > Navigate to the “Tool” menu and select “Redact,” or access the Show Markup Toolbar and click the Redact icon. > A warning prompt will appear, click “OK.” > Use your cursor to drag and redact the text with black marks.

While editing, you can modify the redaction as needed. However, once saved, the redacted text cannot be recovered.

Method 2 (For Versions Before macOS 11):

For older macOS versions, use the following steps to redact a PDF in Preview:

Redact PDF in Preview with the Markup Tool

Redact PDF in Preview with the Markup Tool

Click the “Show Markup Toolbar” icon. > Choose “Border Color” and set it to “none,” “black,” or any other color you prefer for blacking out the text. > After applying the necessary redactions, click “Export as PDF” to save the redacted PDF on your Mac.

Avoid using the regular “Save” option after adding redaction actions, as this may allow others to withdraw the redactions using Preview, leaving the information exposed.

How to Redact PDF Online for Free

If you are a Windows user, you can use PDFgear Online PDF editor to black out text in your PDF file. No download, no registration, all you need is a stable internet connection. There is no potential risk to use PDFgear, your files will be deleted once you shut or refresh the browser.  Here is how to black out PDFs free of charge using our PDF editor.

Step 1. Upload a PDF File to the Online Editor

Visit PDFgear’s online PDF editor and upload your files by dragging them to the upload box or selecting a PDF from your local folder.

Open PDF File with Online Editor

Open PDF File with Online Editor

Step 2. Black Out Text in PDF Online

Click “Add or edit annotations” and choose “Add shapes” from the upper-right corner. Select a darker color from the “Change Color” drop-down menu to fill the shape. Then, use the mouse to swipe and effectively cover up the text in the PDF.

Black out PDF Online

Black out PDF Online

Step 3: Download the Redacted PDF

Once you’ve completed the redaction process, simply click on the “Download” button to save the redacted PDF to your device. Now you can confidently share the document, knowing that the sensitive data has been safely removed.

How to Redact a PDF: FAQs

How to Black Out Text in PDF Without Redacting?

Step 1. Open the PDF file you want to edit in the PDFgear.

Step 2. Use the highlighter tool under the “Annotate” tab to choose the text you want to black out.

Step 3. Choose the color you want to use to black out the text. For example, you can select black or any other dark color.

Step 4. Repeat these steps for any additional text you want to black out. Save the edited PDF file by clicking on the “Save” button in the top toolbar.

How to I Redact a PDF in Chrome?

Google Chrome does have a built-in PDF viewer that only allows you to open, view, and print PDF files within the browser. To redact a PDF file, you would need to use a third-party PDF editing software like PDFgear.

How to Redact a PDF in Word?

There are 3 simple methods you can redact the information you have in Word:

Method 1: Use the “Inspect Document” tool on both Windows and Mac to remove author details and other hidden information.

Method 2: Replace the text you want to redact with a different character, like “x,” and black it out using formatting tools.

Method 3: If you only want to redact certain parts, convert your Word document into a series of images.


In conclusion, redacting a document is a simple process that can be easily done with the right tools. By following these methods, you can ensure that your sensitive information is thoroughly hidden, and your documents are kept secure.

When it comes to redacting text in a PDF, PDFgear stands out as a free solution. Whether you’re using a Mac or Windows, online or offline, PDFgear provides straightforward PDF redaction.

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