How to Redact Document (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, PDF)

Last updated on July 21, 2023

Summary :

A redacted document can effectively prevent the leakage of confidential information, but how to do it becomes a big problem. If you are also looking for a solution for redacting documents, this article will help you.

Table of Contents

How to Redact Document

How to Redact Document

To protect your private or sensitive information in a document, you can redact that information. Still, if you want to share a PDF with others but you want to hide some personal information in it, you can redact those texts in the PDF.

After you redact text in a PDF, you can rest assured that those texts won’t be seen by the receiver of the document.

Below you will learn how to redact documents (like a PDF) with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or other tools. A step-by-step guide is provided.


Before you redact information in a document, you should make a copy of the document and avoid redacting the original document since you can’t retrieve the redacted data.

How to Redact a Document in Microsoft Word

You may want to redact some sensitive information in a Microsoft Word document before sharing it with others. Microsoft Word doesn’t have a built-in redact tool, but there are some ways to help you hide confidential information in the Word document.

Solution 1. Replace the Sensitive Information

Step 1. Open the target MS Word document. Press the Ctrl + H keyboard shortcut to open the Find and Replace window.

Step 2. Next, you can enter the information that you want to replace next to the Find what box. Next to the Replace with box, you can enter the term [redacted].

Step 3. Click the Replace All button to hide the sensitive information in the Word document.

How to Redact a Document in Word

How to Redact a Document in Word

Solution 2. Use Word Document Inspector

Step 1. Open the Word document and click the File tab at the top-left corner. Select Info > Check for Issues > Inspect Document.

Inspect Document in Word

Inspect Document in Word

Step 2. Next, select all the content you want to check and click Inspect. Make sure to check the Document Properties and Personal Information option.

This will inspect for hidden metadata or personal information saved with the document.

Step 3. After it finishes the inspection, you can review the inspection results. If it finds some hidden metadata personal information in the Word document, you can click the Remove All button to remove them.

Solution 3. Black Out Text and Convert the Document to an Image

Step 1. Open the target Word document and select the texts that you want to redact.

Step 2. Under the Home tab and in the Font section, you can click the arrow icon next to the pen icon. Choose Black as the highlighting color to cover the text.

Step 3. Follow the same operation to highlight all sensitive information in the Microsoft Word document to black.

Step 4. Take a picture of the Word document or you can use some professional online free Word-to-image conversion tools to convert the Word to a JPG image, and then share it with the target person.

How to Redact Documents in Google Docs

Solution 1. Use Find and Replace

Step 1. Open Google Docs and click File > Open to select the document or PDF file to open it in Google Docs.

Step 2. Click Edit and select Find and Replace. You can press Ctrl + H to fast open the Find and Replace window.

Step 3. Enter the text you want to redact in the Find field and enter [blank] in the Replace With field. Then you can click Replace All to hide the texts.

How to Redact Document in Google Docs

How to Redact Document in Google Docs

Solution 2. Use Google Docs Drawing Feature

Step 1. Open Google Docs and click File > Open to upload your PDF to Google Docs. Click the Insert tab and select the Drawing option.

Step 2. Next, use the drawing tool to draw a black box and cover it over the text you want to redact. Click Save and Close.

Step 3. Then you can click File > Download and save the redacted document as a PDF.

How to Redact a PDF in Adobe

Step 1. Open the PDF file with Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2. Click the Tools menu and select Redact.

How to Redact Document in Adobe

How to Redact Document in Adobe

Step 3. Click the drop-down menu next to Redact Text & Images and choose Properties. Choose to redact the text with a black box or empty space.

Step 4. Use the crosshair to draw rectangles on the texts or images you want to redact.

Step 5. Click Apply to permanently remove the redacted information from the document. Save the PDF as a different file to avoid overwriting the original file.

How to Black Out Document with PDFgear

PDFgear program is a full-featured free PDF editor and PDF reader. You can use this tool to easily read, edit, convert, merge, split, sign PDF files, etc. You can use the PDFgear online tool to black out documents.

Of course, if you want to experience more free features and not be limited by any number or size of files, the PDFgear Desktop is recommended.

You can download and install PDFgear software for free on Windows 10/11, Mac, or iOS. PDFgear also provides various online free PDF tools.

100% Clean & Safe

Step 1. Import a PDF to PDFgear Desktop

Fire up the PDFgear > Click Open File > Select a PDF to import.

Open a PDF with PDFgear

Open a PDF with PDFgear

Step 2. Redact Document with PDFgear

Locate Annotate > Click the Highlight button > Choose the black color from the Theme > Redact the text by moving your mouse.

Redact the PDF with PDFgear Desktop

Redact the PDF with PDFgear Desktop

Tips: Converting PDF to PNG, HEIC, JPEG, etc. can make sure the hidden private information is not seen by others.

How to Redact Document (PDF) Online

Online tools offer unparalleled convenience for file editing while you’re connected to the network. With no need for downloads, registrations, or subscriptions, the PDFgear online editor delivers a seamless, professional, and complimentary redaction function.

Step 1. Upload the PDF to PDFgear

Go to PDFgear online editor > Click Choose files to browse the files on your device > Select a PDF to upload.

Add a PDF to PDFgear

Add a PDF to PDFgear

Step 2. Redact Text in the PDF

Click Add or Edit annotations > Select Add Shapes > Move your mouse to cover the text you want to redact > Hit Change Color in the ribbon.

Redact Documents with PDFgear

Redact Documents with PDFgear

Text Redaction VS Text Black Out

Some of you may be wondering if text redaction and text black-out are the same.

Technically, they are not the same thing. Both of them help you hide sensitive information in a document, but blacking out text only acts as one of the methods for text redaction. Text redaction also has other means, for instance, blurring out texts, deleting texts, etc.

Bottom Line

Redacting a document is a good way to secure your private information in a document. This post mainly explains how to redact a document with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Adobe, etc. A step-by-step guide is included. Hope it helps.

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