How to Redact in Adobe: Hide Sensitive Data (with Video Guide)

When you have to work with PDF files, you may want to hide sensitive data for security. PDF files are designed not to be edited. But, using an Adobe program, you can redact certain parts of the document. In this post, we will learn how to redact in Adobe. Just in case, I will share how to redact pdf documents by using other tools as well.

How to Redact in Adobe

To redact in Adobe, you can use Adobe Standard DC or Adobe Acrobat Prod DC. The way to redact using both tools is almost the same. If you already have one of them, follow the steps below.

Basic Redaction

  1. Open the PDF file you want to redact with Acrobat Pro.
  2. Go to “Tools” > “Redact“. It will show the Redaction Tools menu.
  3. Find “Mark for Redaction” in the secondary menu and select OK to select the area to redact.
  4. Go to the area you want to redact. You can double click or click and drag to select a certain area.
  5. Go back to the Redaction Tools and click “Apply“.
  6. Click “OK” to save it.

This is the easiest way to redact text. But, what if you want to redact repetitive texts? It could be time-consuming to manually redact every matched part. There is a convenient way to search and redact the matched text in Acrobat Pro.

Redact Repetitive Text

If you have to redact the same words that appear multiple times, this Acrobat DC’s feature can save you a lot of time. To redact repetitive words, open the PDF file first.

  1. Go to “Tools” > “Redact“. It will show the Redaction Tools menu.
  2. Select “Mark for Redaction” in the secondary menu and select the “Find Text” option.
  3. You can select one of the three options:
    • Single Word or Phrase: you can type a single word into a search box.
    • Multiple Words Or Phrase: this option allows you to add multiple words into a list.
    • Patterns: you can select certain patterns such as emails, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and other repetitive patterns.
  4. Once you decide an option, select “Search & Remove Text“.
  5. You can click “+” sign to check each matching occurrence.
  6. If you want to redact the all matched, select “Check All“.
  7. If you want to redact the selected part, select “Mark Checked Results For Redaction” and choose “Apply“.
  8. Save the file.

Change the Appearance of Redact Area

By default, when you redact, the area will be blacked out. Adobe offers an option that can change the look of the redacted area. To change the appearance, follow the steps below.

  1. Find the secondary Redaction menu and go to “Properties“.
  2. In the “Appearance” tab, choose the options you want to apply to the redacted area.
    • You can choose a color or a customized text that will overlay the redacted area.

Can we use other free tools online to redact?

I found some free online tools that allow redaction on your browser. As I tested the feature of the free online tools, I felt not comfortable to upload my sensitive documents. If I deal with confidential materials of mine or of someone else, I’ll be extremely cautious and I’ll prefer local programs to redact.

Video Guide

If you found the written guide above difficult to follow, check this video instructions. The look of the tool can be different but the steps are identical. I hope that this could help you find the redaction options.

Conclusion

This post explained how to redact in Adobe. Among the redact options, search and pattern options can be a big time saver. Also, please mind that uploading sensitive data on some free online tools can be risky in terms of security.