Adobe Redaction Solutions: Detailed and Specific Steps

Last updated on March 22, 2023

Summary :

Adobe has a deep knowledge of PDF processing, so when you want to redact a PDF file will be the first to think of it. This article will introduce you to redacting PDF in Adobe’s detailed steps and can also share a free tool for you to deal with PDF documents.

How To Redact in Adobe

Before you share a PDF with others, you may want to remove some sensitive content from the PDF document.

Adobe Acrobat is a popular PDF software suite available for computer and mobile devices. It allows you to create, open, view, print, annotate, convert, sign PDF files, and more. You can also use Adobe Acrobat to redact information in a PDF.

How do I redact in Adobe? Check the step-by-step guide for how to redact a PDF like redacting texts or images in Adobe Acrobat below.

You May Want To Get Other Solutions: 4 Ways on How To Redact in Word [Step-by-Step Guide], Secure Your Information with Bluebeam: The Ultimate Redaction Solution

How to Redact Text/Image in a PDF with Adobe

Step 1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader, select and load the target PDF document.

Step 2. Click the Tools tab at the toolbar and select the Redact option.

How to Redact in Adobe Acrobat

How to Redact in Adobe Acrobat

Step 3. Click the Edit tab and select Redact Text & Images.

Step 4. Then you can use your mouse to select the target text or image and Adobe Acrobat will mark the selected text/image for redaction.

Step 5. After selecting, you can click the Apply button in the menu bar to redact the text/image in the PDF.

Step 6. In the pop-up Apply Redactions window, you will be asked if you also want to find and remove hidden data and metadata in the PDF document. Tick the “Sanitize and remove hidden information” option and click OK to confirm the redaction action. Adobe Acrobat will also find and remove hidden sensation information in the PDF.

Step 7. Save the PDF file as a different file to avoid overwriting the original document.


Content that is marked for redaction will be permanently removed from the PDF. Once you save the PDF, the redaction operation cannot be undone. Therefore, you should make a backup of the PDF to keep the original file before you redact it.

How to Find and Redact Text in a PDF with Adobe

If you have many references for some sensitive content in your PDF file, you may use the Find Text feature in Adobe Acrobat to quickly locate and redact the target texts.

Step 1. Still, open the PDF file with Adobe Acrobat on your PC. Click Tools and click Redact. Now you should see the Redact menu bar located at the top of your PDF file.

Step 2. Click the drop-down icon next to Redact Text & Images and select Find Text & Redact to open the Search window.

Find Text & Redact Tool

Find Text & Redact Tool

Step 3. In the Search window, you can adjust the text searching settings. You can select where you like to search for the text, e.g., you can choose the current document or all PDF documents. You can also choose to search for a single word or phrase, multiple words or phrases, or patterns like phone numbers/credit cards/email addresses.

Step 4. Type or select the words or phrases that you want to redact and click Search & Remove Text. The items you selected are marked for redaction now. Then you can click Apply to follow the on-screen instructions to apply redactions for the text in the PDF.


To adjust more settings of the redaction tool in Adobe Acrobat, you can click the drop-down icon next to Redact Text & Images and select Properties.

How to Redact a Protected PDF in Adobe

If you have a PDF file that is encrypted with a password, you will see a message saying that “Editing is not permitted” when you try to edit it. If you have the password for the PDF, you can easily redact the protected PDF. Check how to do it below.

Step 1. Open the target PDF document in Adobe Acrobat. If you are asked to enter the password to open the PDF, do it.

Step 2. Click Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Remove Security. Click OK to remove the encryption of the PDF.

Step 3. Then you can edit the PDF document and follow the instruction above to redact the sensitive text or images in the PDF.

10 Free Adobe Acrobat Alternatives to Redact PDF Free

The redaction feature of Adobe Acrobat is not available in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC, Adobe Acrobat Reader, or Acrobat Standard 2020/2017. If you are searching for a free Adobe Acrobat alternative to redact your PDF document for free, you may try the tools below.

  • PDF Redactor
  • Xodo Redact PDF
  • AvePDF
  • PDFelement
  • Foxit Phantom PDF
  • Nitro Pro 9
  • PDFFiller
  • PDF24 Tools
  • PDF Buddy

A Full-featured Free PDF Tool for You

Here we also introduce an easy-to-use free PDF tool to you.

PDFgear PDF Editor is an all-in-one free PDF software suite. You can use PDFgear to freely read, edit, convert, merge, split, sign PDF files, etc. on Windows, macOS, or iOS devices.

This free PDF tool supports various file formats including PDF, DOCX, DOC, PPTX, PPT, XLSX, XLS, JPEG, PNG, BMP, TXT, and more.

PDFgear is 100% free to use, with no watermark or ads, and requires no registration.

PDFgear also provides some free online PDF tools to help you easily deal with your PDF files online. It offers a free online PDF editor to let you edit PDFs online. More free PDF online tools include PDF to Word, Word to PDF, JPG to PDF, PDF to JPG, PDF to Excel, Compress PDF, Split PDF, and more.

Download and install the PDFgear desktop app on your Windows 10/11, Mac, or iPhone/iPad, and try it now.

100% Clean & Safe


How Do I Black Out Text in Adobe PDF?

  • Open Adobe Acrobat. Click Tools > Redact. Click Edit > Redact Text and Images.
  • Select the text or graphics and click Redact.

Why Can’t I Redact in Adobe?

If you can’t redact a PDF in Adobe, the document may be locked. You can unlock the document first and then open and redact it. Still, the Redact feature of Adobe is only available for the paid version.

How Do I Get the Redact Tool in Adobe?

The Redact tool is only available for Adobe Acrobat Pro. The free version doesn’t support it.


If you have some sensitive information in your PDF document that you want to hide from others, you can use the Redact feature in Adobe Acrobat to easily realize the task.

This post offers a step-by-step guide for how to redact a PDF (text or image) in Adobe Acrobat. Some free Adobe Acrobat alternatives are also listed to help you redact a PDF for free. Hope it helps.

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